March 16, 2022

Corrigan's Gambling Corner: March Madness, Day 1 Best Bets

Ladies and gentlemen, this is March. 

The greatest postseason in all of sports tips off on Thursday starting at 12:15 p.m. (EST) and for the next three weeks, we will be glued to our screens, watching some hoops. There are a lot of bets to be made, but for those of us that bet on a lot of games, we need picks for the early slate of games. Luckily for you, I have you covered 

This year's tournament is the most wide-open tournament in many years. Of course, there are some clear favorites, but every team has a weakness.

We would love you to tail our picks, but we would especially love you to make a lot of money. As a sign of courtesy, we included the parlay odds for all three of our picks. We just ask that you always remember to gamble responsibly.

Here are tonight's plays.

*Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Michigan Wolverines vs. Colorado State Rams

Michigan is currently getting 63% of the bets, which is not outrageous for a few reasons. One, Michigan is better than what their record says, and secondly, Michigan is a name-brand, and those types of schools are loved by the public during the tournament, especially if they are the lower seed. 

While Michigan is better than their 17-14 record, Colorado State getting the points is crazy to me. The Rams are only 14-15 ATS this season, however, they are one of the most balanced teams in the country. On the season, Colorado State is ranked 87th in scoring, 18th in effective field goal percentage, 13th in shooting percentage, and 14th in shooting efficiency. Defensively, Colorado State is only allowing 65.9 points per game, which is ranked 67th in the country. 

Michigan is statistically a good post-up team, but a large part of that is thanks to Hunter Dickinson, but Colorado State is among the best in the country at guarding the paint. The Wolverines have the edge on offense as a whole, but I like Colorado State getting the points. Even if the line swings in the opposite direction, I like the Rams to win outright. 

Pick: Colorado State +1 (-110)

Memphis Tigers vs. Boise State Broncos

This game is another example of a bigger brand getting a lot of love just because they are a bigger brand. Do not get me wrong, I think this game is a coin toss, but there is a lot of value with Boise State. While the Mountain West is historically terrible in the tournament, Boise State is 6-3 ATS in their last 9, and they have been the more profitable team all season, with an 18-15 record ATS this whole season. 

Boise State struggled at the beginning of the season, losing to a few teams they should not have, but a mid-season surge that included a 14-game winning streak saved their season.

Their offense is not overly horrible, but the defense is what is going to carry them in this game. The Broncos' defense is going to have their handful against a good shooting team like Memphis, but Boise State's defense is ranked 10th in scoring (60.9), 95th in effective shooting percentage, and 66th in shooting efficiency (1.020). 

Memphis has not played a defense this good, and I expect them to come out and struggle in the first half. I like Boise State to cover, but taking a look at the first half under is the official play. 

Pick: 1H Under 62.5 (-112) & Boise State +3

Norfolk State Spartans vs. Baylor Bears

The defending champions lost arguably their two best players to the NBA in Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell from last season's Championship team, but here Baylor is again, as one of the best teams in the country. 

Let's not be confused, Norfolk State is not winning this game, but there is a lot of value with them in this spot. Baylor is only 16-15-1 ATS this season, and as at least 20-point favorites, Baylor is 3-3 ATS, and they have not played as this big of a favorite since December. 

On the other side, Norfolk State is coming into the tournament as winners of six straight, and they are 4-1 ATS in their last five. While the Spartans lost by 40 to the best team on their schedule (Xavier), they have been dominating teams since then, winning by an average of 6.9 points per game, which is ranked 49th best margin of victory in the country. 

At the end of the day, Baylor is not going to have many problems on either side of the court, but I also trust Norfolk State to be a little frisky, and maybe keep this one close heading into the second half. I do not necessarily love betting on a 16 seed, but they do not call it March Calmness. 

Pick: Norfolk State +20.5 (-110)

Photo: Getty Images