The Daily Sweat: Friday brings us 32 March Madness games to wager on

It's the best college basketball betting day of the year

Is there such a thing as too much college basketball to bet on?

We think the answer to that question is no, but Friday is a great day to put it to the test. Not only is it the second day of the men’s NCAA tournament, the first round of the women’s NCAA tournament also gets going. That means there are 32 NCAA tournament games to wager on.

We’ll start with the men’s tournament, where underdogs went 8-8 against the spread on Thursday. USC and Michigan State kick things off and the Spartans are 1.5-point favorites. We’ll back MSU after the Big Ten’s strong showing Thursday.

Xavier is a 12.5-point favorite over Kennesaw State in a No. 3 vs. No. 14 matchup in the Midwest. We’ll take Kennesaw to get the cover, though Xavier should win straight up. That game tips off just before another No. 3 vs. No. 14. Baylor is a 10.5-point favorite over UC Santa Barbara. We’ll take the Bears to win that one despite their sluggish start to the season but UCSB should get the cover.

Saint Mary’s is just a 4.5-point favorite over VCU and the total in that game is just 122.5. Let’s get weird and go with the under there.

Vermont is a 10.5-point underdog against Marquette and we’ll take the Golden Eagles since we have them going all the way to the Final Four. Pitt is a 4.5-point underdog against Iowa State after beating Mississippi State in the play-in game. Iowa State unders against non-conference opponents frequently hit, so we’re going with under 131.5.

Creighton is a 5.5-point favorite against NC State and we’ll take the Blue Jays. There wasn’t much difference in quality between the Big East and ACC this year. UConn is a 9.5-point favorite over Iona in what could be Rick Pitino’s final game with the Gaels. We’ll go with Iona to cover in that one.

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - FEBRUARY 25: John Calipari the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats gives insturctions to his team against the Auburn Tigers at Rupp Arena on February 25, 2023 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Kentucky is a 4.5-point favorite over Providence on Friday. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Kentucky starts the night session as a 4.5-point favorite over Providence. We’re betting on UK’s talent in this one. We like Drake to win straight up as a 1.5-point underdog against Miami and Gonzaga should put up plenty of points against Grand Canyon as a 15.5-point favorite.

FAU vs. Memphis is one of the intriguing games of the first round and we’ll take the Owls to cover as 1.5-point underdogs. Kansas State is now just a 7.5-point favorite against Montana State and we’ll use that line to our advantage and take the Wildcats. Another possible upset is Kent State as a 4.5-point favorite against Indiana — we’ll take the Golden Flashes in that one — and the last game of the day is Arizona State and TCU. The Horned Frogs are 5.5-point favorites and we’ll continue fading the Pac-12.

Women’s tournament begins

There are some much bigger lines on the women’s side. If you choose to bet some of those games you could be in for some late-game sweat in a blowout.

Take the line between Norfolk State and South Carolina for example. The undefeated Gamecocks are -145 to win the NCAA tournament and have been awesome all year. South Carolina is an incredible 50.5-point favorite over Norfolk State. Are you willing to lay that many points?

No. 2 seed Maryland is a 26.5-point favorite over Holy Cross while fellow No. 2 seed Iowa is a 29.5-point favorite over Southeastern Louisiana. LSU is a 31.5-point favorite over Hawaii and Utah is a 23.5-point favorite against Gardner Webb. Our strongest lean in a game with a huge spread comes between Southern Utah and Notre Dame. The Irish are 21.5-point favorites but star Olivia Miles is out for the tournament. We’re backing Southern Utah to cover in that one.

There are a few close games too. Marquette vs. South Florida gets things going at 11:30 a.m. ET on Friday and the line is just 1.5 points. We like the Bulls to cover as favorites in that one and earn the right to play South Carolina in the second round.

Eight NBA games

The eight NBA games on tap Friday night make for 40 NCAA tournament and NBA games to bet on. Not a bad day. The biggest game of the night is the last one as Dallas visits the Lakers. The Mavericks are on the second night of a back-to-back after beating the Spurs on Thursday. Dallas is a game ahead of Los Angeles for eighth in the West and won’t have Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving is questionable. That’s why the Lakers are 4.5-point favorites.

Who cashed tickets on Thursday?

While favorites and underdogs split the 16 men’s games against the spread, underdogs snuck out five wins straight up. Missouri was a 1.5-point dog to Utah State, Maryland was a 2.5-point dog to West Virginia, Penn State was a 2.5-point underdog against Texas A&M, Furman was a 5.5-point underdog to Virginia, and Princeton was a 15.5-point underdog to Arizona.