Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:59 AM

Friday - Session 1

The first four games on this Friday’s 16-game slate in the second-half of the opening round of this year’s NCAA Tournament offers some interesting betting options in the South and West Regions. First up, No. 10 Iowa takes on No. 7 Cincinnati in the South. This will be followed by a matchup between No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 8 Ole Miss, which is also in the South Region.

Friday’s first game in the West Region pits No. 14 Northern Kentucky against No. 3 Texas Tech. The early sessions wraps things up with a South Region tilt between No. 13 UC Irvine and No. 4 Kansas State.

South Region (Columbus, OH)
No. 10 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. No. 7 Cincinnati Bearcats (CBS, 12:15 p.m. ET)

Opening Odds: Cincinnati -3 ½, 138

Betting Matchup

Iowa slipped to 10-10 straight-up in Big Ten play after losing its last four regular season games. The Hawkeyes then fell to Michigan 74-53 as eight-point underdogs in their second game of the conference tournament. Going back to a tight one-point win against Northwestern on Feb. 10 as 11-point favorites, they have failed to cover against the spread in nine of their last 10 games. Iowa is 0-4 ATS in its last four games closing as an underdog.

The Bearcats bring quite a bit of momentum into their opener after knocking off Houston 68-57 as five-point underdogs to win the AAC Tournament. This followed a pair of losses to the Cougars that cost them the regular season title. Junior guard Jarron Cumberland is one to watch in this game after posting 33 points in that recent win against Houston. He is averaging a team-high 18.8 points per game.

Betting Trends

-- The Hawkeyes have gone 9-1 ATS in their last 10 neutral-site games and the total has gone OVER in 10 of their last 13 games following a SU loss.

-- The Bearcats are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games in the NCAA Tournament with the total staying UNDER in four of their last five games against the Big Ten.

-- Cincinnati won the only previous meeting both SU and ATS with the total going OVER.

South Region (Columbia, SC)
No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners vs. No. 8 Ole Miss Rebels (TruTV, 12:40 p.m. ET)

Opening Odds: Ole Miss -2, 142 ½

Betting Matchup

The Sooners lost to Kansas State as 7 ½-point road underdogs in their regular season finale ahead of an early exit in the Big 12 Tournament with a 72-71 loss to West Virginia as 6 ½-point favorites. The up and down nature of this team was evident in a SU five-game losing streak early in February with three more losses in its last five games. Oklahoma has also been a tough team to bet on lately at 3-5-1 ATS over its last nine games.

Mississippi is another team that struggled down the stretch with five SU losses in its last seven games. The latest setback was a 62-57 loss to Alabama as a 3 ½-point favorite in its SEC Tournament opener. The Rebels went 1-3 ATS in their last four games closing as favorites with a SU mark of 2-2. Ole Miss averaged 75.4 PPG this season, but it allowed an average of 70.4 points a game on defense. This defense has given up at least 71 points in five of its last seven games.

Betting Trends

-- The Sooners are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 NCAA Tournament games and the total has stayed UNDER in six of their last eight games against the SEC.

-- The Rebels have a 13-3 record ATS in their last 16 nonconference games with the total going OVER in their last four games against the Big 12.

West Region (Tulsa, OK.)
No. 14 Northern Kentucky Norse vs. No. 3 Texas Tech Red Raiders (TNT, 1:30 p.m. ET)

Opening Odds: Texas Tech -14, 137

Betting Matchup

With a share of the Horizon League regular season title at 13-5 SU along with a tournament title, the Norse bring some momentum into the Big Dance. They have won their last five games SU, but the record ATS stands at just 2-6 over their last eight contests. Northern Kentucky got a big effort from Dantez Walton with 15 points and 14 rebounds in a 77-66 upset against Wright State as a slight one-point underdog in the Horizon League’s title game.

The Red Raiders were the class of the Big 12 all season long at 14-4 SU along with Kansas State, but an early exit from the conference tournament put a damper on a recent SU nine-game winning streak. They fell to West Virginia 79-74 as heavy 13-point favorites in the opening game. This was just the second time that Texas Tech failed to cover in its last 10 games. The total has gone OVER in six of its last seven outings.

Betting Trends

-- The Norse have covered in nine of their last 12 games played at a neutral site. The total has stayed UNDER in three of their last five nonconference games.

-- The Red Raiders are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games in the NCAA Tournament with the total staying UNDER in seven of their last 10 games in this tournament.

-- Texas Tech won the only previous meeting SU with no posted betting line.

South Region (San Jose, CA)
No. 13 UC Irvine Anteaters vs. No. 4 Kansas State Wildcats (TBS, 2:00 p.m. ET)

Opening Odds: Kansas State -5, 119

Betting Matchup

Playing out of the Big West, UC Irvine started the season with a SU six-game winning streak and it closed out its run to the conference title in both the regular season and the postseason tournament with 16 SU wins in a row. The Anteaters have also been a solid betting team down the stretch with an 11-3-1 record ATS in their last 15 games. Junior guard Max Hazard was the team’s leading scorer this season with 12.5 PPG and he posted 23 points in the Big West title game.

Kansas State went toe-to-toe with Texas Tech in the Big 12 at 14-4 SU, including a split against the Red Raiders in the regular season series. The Wildcats came up short against Iowa State in the conference tournament with a 63-59 loss as 2 ½-point underdogs. This was part of a 6-2 run both SU and ATS over their last eight games. The total stayed UNDER in six of those eight games. Unfortunately, they will have to play on without the services of Dean Wade, who was lost to a foot injury.

Betting Trends

-- The Anteaters have gone 0-5-1 ATS in their last six games against the Big 12 and the total has stayed UNDER in six of their last eight neutral-site games.

-- The Wildcats are 5-1 ATS in their last six games played at a neutral site with the total staying UNDER in their last five games against the Big West.

-- Kansas State won the only previous meeting both SU and ATS with the total staying UNDER.

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