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Merry Christmas to all and to all a good day of picking winners in the opening round of the greatest two days in sports. Let’s dive right into our NCAA Tournament betting guide for every Thursday game, which matchups and metrics to watch, along with trends and our favorite bets from our crew of experts (Stuckey, Jordan Majewski, Bryan Mears and Ken Barkley — aka @LockyLockerson).
Be sure to check back here up until game time for insight into last-minute sharp action, significant line moves and any other betting market info. We’ll have a similar piece for all 16 Friday games as well.
Let’s get to it!
All spreads as of Wednesday evening.
#10 Oklahoma vs. #7 Rhode Island -2 | O/U: 158
Pittsburgh, PA | 12:15 p.m. ET on CBS
No. 1 thing I’ll be watching: The whistle.
If the refs call this game tight, Oklahoma guard Trae Young could live at the line. Rhode Island plays one of the most aggressive defenses in the entire country. Consequently, the Rams foul on 24.3% of their defensive possessions (268th in the country). Given Young’s ability to draw contact, not only could he potentially get the Rhode Island perimeter in foul trouble, but seeing his shot fall consistently at the line could get him going from elsewhere. Oklahoma as a team also shoots an outstanding 74.8% from the stripe (55th nationally). —Stuckey
Did You Know?
Oklahoma is the least profitable team against the spread (ATS) in postseason play since 2005, compiling a 10-29 ATS record. — John Ewing
Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger has failed to cover his past six games in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. He has an overall record of 1-8 ATS in his last nine games in the first or second round. — Evan Abrams
Rhode Island has moved from a PK to -2 since opening behind nearly 60% of spread bets and 71% of spread dollars. — Mark Gallant
My Favorite Bet
Stuck: Oklahoma +2
Jordan: Rhode Island -2
Mears: Oklahoma +2