My first crack at March Madness didn’t go quite as planned. Trae Young put up 28 points and the underdog Oklahoma Sooners put up a valiant fight, but they ultimately fell in overtime to Rhode Island.
The top college basketball betting experts thought it’d go down somewhat like that, but I still liked the value associated with a battled tested Oklahoma squad.
That pick didn’t go as planned, but I see more value again as round two of the 2018 March Madness tournament tips off on Saturday.
Honestly, there are quite a few games to consider targeting, but the one that stands out for me is a showdown between the Florida Gators and Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Texas Tech enters round two as a three-seed after taking care of S.F. Austin, 70-60. That game was more an exercise of survival than a dominant effort, of course, while the athletic Gators easily dispatched St. Bonaventure, 77-62.
Vegas is dealing with a super small spread here (Texas Tech is favored by -1.5 at My Bookie), so either way, you could be looking at some solid value. Let’s break this game down a little further to see which side bettors should lean toward:
The Red Raiders are the higher seed after going 25-9 and proving to be a tough competitor in the difficult Big 12. They’ve paved their way as one of the better defensive units in the country, ranking 12th in points allowed per game.
That’s certainly something Florida will have to worry about, while the Red Raiders pack a solid offensive punch that should help keep this game tight.
Texas Tech’s defense has really been their calling card, while this specific game basically gives them a home tilt in Texas at the American Airlines Center.
The main problem here for Texas Tech is that Florida is far more athletic and the more explosive offensive team. It’s not impossible to imagine the Red Raiders holding firm here, but this game could turn into a shootout and even if it doesn’t, I feel a close game favors the Gators.
Florida has been an up and down team all year, but they were arguably severely underrated as a six-seed just because of a less than impressive record. The Gators had their work cut out for them this year, starting with a tough SEC schedule and some intense tilts with the likes of Duke, Clemson, Gonzaga and Cincinnati.
Florida displayed their grit in a lot of those games, as they outlasted the Zags in a double-overtime classic, fell to the Blue Devils by three, topped the defensive-minded Bearcats and barely lost to the Tigers.
Both of these teams are battle tested and I see the logic for anyone wanting to back Texas Tech, but to me Florida is the flat-out more talented team. In what should be a really close game that goes back and forth, I’m inclined to trust the deeper and more explosive offensive unit.
The beauty here is the value rests with backing the Gators, too. Florida is a +1.5 underdog at most college basketball betting sites and also possess a fun Moneyline (+110 at Bovada).
In what most will consider a toss-up, I’ll jump on that value with the team I think is better anyway.
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