Friday NCAA Action
March 22, 2013
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The first few days of the March Madness tournament can bring a flurry of action but it's important that bettors try to limit their plays and pick the best spots available. Here are a few that are on my card Friday:
Albany vs. Duke (-17.5); Total set at 132.5
Not often that a 15 vs. 2 game will jump off the board at you but with this being the first game on the board and a blowout in the making, it's the total that seems like a good bet.
Early starts are often bettor for 'under' bettors and with Albany being one of the slowest teams in the tournament pace-wise, this game has the under written all over it. Albany knows that their only chance of pulling off an upset is to shorten the game and grind out possessions on both ends of the floor. They do not want to run up and down the floor with a more talented Duke team and that means bleeding down the shot clock and playing phenomenal defense.
Not sure if that will help Albany's chances of keeping this close as a Duke rout is very likely. If Duke is up big in the second half, I fully expect them to start draining the shot clock themselves, working their sets and using the time as more of a scrimmage for future contests. As insulting as that sounds to Albany, Duke will want to wrap up this game as quickly as possible, see no injuries and began to plan for Sunday's game.
Take under 132.5
Iona vs. Ohio State (-14) Total set at 145
It's actually two 15 vs. 2 games that have got me excited for Friday and while this one could end up as a blowout as well, it's likely to happen in very different fashion.
Ohio State is known for their stifling defense and grinding out wins in Big 10 play, so seeing a high total like this already has bettors flocking to the under. I have to strongly disagree with that assertion as Iona is one of the highest scoring teams in this tournament (80.7/game) and will have to speed things up if they want a shot at the upset. They routinely play in high-scoring games (allow 75.8/game) and with the pace they play at, they won't get too bogged down by the Buckeyes defense.
Ohio State won't mind relaxing in their own end and running the floor because they have some very talented scorers in their own right. They know that if things get tight down the stretch they can just dial up the defensive pressure and lock things up, but the game shouldn't get to that point as the Buckeyes will put up plenty of points before then.
Take the over.