UPDATED: Freedman’s Favorite Saturday NCAA Tournament Player Props
Credit: Kirby Lee, USA Today Sports
- Matthew Freedman continues his series featuring one of his favorite prop bets for each day of 2019.
- On Saturday, he runs through the NCAA Tournament slate of games & highlights the points props he likes.
Each day, I publish at least one quick-n’-dirty piece highlighting a favorite prop of mine. See my master list of 2019 prop bets for more information.
Also follow me in The Action Network app, where each day I post some official player prop picks.
In this piece I’m going to highlight my favorite NCAA Tournament player props for some of the Mar. 23 games. For more information, check out my piece on my March Madness prop-betting strategy.
You also should look at our live betting odds page for up-to-the-minute lines.
I will make some updates to this piece throughout the day, but I might not get to more than a few games: It’s hard to research college basketball when I’m watching college basketball.
2019 Year-to-Date Record
331-277-12, +38.44 Units
- NFL: 21-13-0, +11.72 Units
- NBA: 194-152-4, +24.93 Units
- NHL: 66-80-7, -7.57 Units
- Golf: 4-7-1, -2.35 Units
- NASCAR: 5-8-0. -1.70 Units
- NCAAF: 0-1-0. -1.00 Units
- NCAAB: 18-14-0. +1.78 Units
- Exotic: 23-2-0. +12.64 Units
#3 LSU vs. #6 Maryland
- Spread: LSU -3.0
- Over/Under: 145.5
- Time: 12:10 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
Bruno Fernando: Over 12.5 points (-115) – The second-year forward is second on the Terrapins with 13.7 points and 29.8 minutes per game. In each of his two postseason games (conference tournament and NCAA Tournament), he’s played at least 35 minutes, so I’m expecting him to score closer to 15 points than 12.5.
Tremont Waters: Over 13.5 points (-115) – The No. 1 scorer for the Fighting Tigers, Waters has averaged 17.1 points on 33.3 minutes per game since LSU moved into conference play at the beginning of 2019.
Ja’vonte Smart: Under 13.0 points (-115) – In Round 1, Smart’s points prop was 17.0, which should tell you about the direction he’s trending. For the season he’s averaged 11.5 points on 30.1 minutes per game, but he’s now coming off the bench, and in Round 1 he played just 25 minutes in a close game.
#2 Kentucky vs. #7 Wofford
- Spread: Kentucky -5.0
- Over/Under: 139.5
- Time: 2:40 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
Storm Murphy: Over 6.5 points (-115) – The second-year guard isn’t even a top-three scorer for the Terriers, averaging just 7.9 points per game, but like the rest of the starters he’s seen a recent jump in playing time. His seasonal average is 25.1 minutes per game, but over his past two starts he’s gotten 34 and 36 minutes. I think this number should be closer to 8.5.
#2 Michigan vs. #10 Florida
- Spread: Michigan -6.0
- Over/Under: 123
- Time: 5:15 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
Jalen Hudson: Over 9.5 points (-115) – The fourth-year guard has come off of the bench for most of the season, but over the past six games he’s been in the starting lineup, which has coincided with an increase in playing time. Over that span, he’s averaged 16.2 points on 33.8 minutes per game.
Keyontae Johnson: Over 8.0 points (-115) – The freshman forward is just fifth on the Gators in scoring with 8.1 points per game, but since becoming a starter in January he has averaged 9.7 points on 28.1 minutes. His playing time has jumped to 33.5 minutes per game in the postseason, in which time he’s averaged 12.8 points per game.
#4 Florida State vs. #12 Murray State
- Spread: Florida State -4.5
- Over/Under: 147.5
- Time: 6:10 p.m. ET
- TV: TNT
Leroy (Shaq) Buchanan: Over 10.5 points (-115) – While Racers teammate Ja Morant gets most of the attention, Buchanan is second on the team with 13.1 points and 33.3 minutes per game. In his three postseason games, Buchanan’s playing time has jumped up to a near-maximum 39.7 minutes. Even if Murray State underperforms its seasonal mark of 83.3 points per game, Buchanan’s enhanced playing time will give him a good shot to hit the over.
Darnell Cowart: Over 9.5 points (-115) – The freshman forward opened the season on the bench, but over the past 12 games he’s been a starter, averaging 13.0 points on 24.7 minutes per game. Only twice in that span has Cowart scored fewer than 10 points, and in his three postseason games his playing time has jumped to 29.7 minutes per game.
Mfiondu Kabengele: Over 13.5 points (-115) – The second-year forward is yet to start a college game, but he leads the Seminoles with 13.1 points per game coming off the bench. His playing time can be inconsistent, but he’s played 25-plus minutes in three of his four postseason games, and in his 11 games with at least 25 minutes he’s averaged 17.7 points.
#1 Gonzaga vs. #9 Baylor
- Spread: Gonzaga -14.0
- Over/Under: 148.5
- Time: 7:10 p.m. ET
- TV: TBS
King McClure: Over 7.0 points (-115) – The senior guard is just fifth on the Bears with 8.8 points and 27.6 minutes per game, and he’s scored more than seven points just twice in his past 10 games. But the Bears tightened up their rotation in Round 1, and McClure as a result played 35 minutes. In his 13 games with 30-plus minutes, McClure has averaged 12.8 points.
#2 Michigan State vs. #10 Minnesota
- Spread: Michigan State -10.5
- Over/Under: 140.5
- Time: 7:45 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
Daniel Oturu: Over 10.5 points (-115) – The center is the third-leading scorer for the Gophers with 10.9 points on just 24 minutes per game. In the postseason, his playing time has jumped up to 28.5 minutes per game, and in Round 1 he saw a season-high 35 minutes, as not one of the Minnesota starters played fewer than 30 minutes. In his 19 games with at least 25 minutes, he’s averaged 12.8 points.
Nick Ward: Under 10.5 points (-115) – I am hammering the under. The forward was a starter for the Spartans most of the year, averaging 15.1 points per game in the regular season, but in the postseason he has been relegated to the bench, seeing no more than 14 minutes in a game. In Round 1, he played just 10 minutes. In his five games as a reserve this year, he’s averaged just 6.6 points. He could see some extra playing time in a potential blowout, but there’s still a lot of value here.
Kenny Goins: Over 7.0 points (-115) – Goins isn’t a big scored for Sparty with just 8.1 points per game, but he’s a locked-in starter, and in the postseason he’s averaged 37.0 points per game. Over his past 10 games, he has 10.4 points on 35.9 minutes per game.
#3 Purdue vs. #6 Villanova
- Spread: Purdue -3.5
- Over/Under: 138.0
- Time: 8:40 p.m. ET
- TV: TNT
Carsen Edwards: Over 21.5 points (-115) – The guard leads the Boilermakers with 23.1 points and 34.8 minutes per game. In Round 1 he took 23 field-goal attempts, 12 3-point attempts and nine free-throw attempts in 40 minutes of play. He’s a lock to play almost the entire game (barring an injury or blowout), and in his 11 starts with 38-plus minutes Edwards has averaged 25.5 points.
Matt Haarms: Over 10.0 points (-115) – The center is averaging just 9.2 points per game this year, but since his mid-February insertion into the starting lineup, Haarms has averaged 13.0 points on 27.4 minutes per game. And in Round 1 he played 32 minutes. In his seven games with 27-plus minutes, he’s averaged 14.3 points and scored fewer than 12 points just once.
Nojel Eastern: Under 9.0 points (-115) – The guard played only 10 minutes in Round 1 because he rolled his ankle in pre-game warmups. During the regular season he played 28.5 minutes per game, and in Purdue’s lone conference tournament game, Eastern saw 36 minutes, so when healthy he’s a key player — but I doubt he’s 100% healthy. He’s reportedly expected to play, but he took zero shots in Round 1, which suggests that he was holding back. And discounting the Round 1 game, he’s averaged just 7.7 points per game this year, so he’s not a prolific scorer anyway.
#4 Kansas vs. #5 Auburn
- Spread: Auburn -2
- Over/Under: 147.5
- Time: 9:40 p.m. ET
- TV: TBS
K.J. Lawson: Under 19.5 points (-125) – This line probably better suits Lawson’s brother, Dedric, who leads the Jayhawks with 19.3 points per game. K.J., meanwhile, is averaging just 3.1 points per game. But in all fairness to K.J., he did play 23 minutes in Round 1 and score 13 points. But I highly doubt he’ll approach 19.5 points.