NCAA Tournament East Region Odds, Picks: How to Bet Marquette, Memphis & More
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: David Joplin (Marquette)
The East Region is so strange this year. But strange is fun.
For example, Memphis vs. FAU might be the best first-round game of the tournament.
Max Abmas is back for another shot at glory and will take on Duke in the East.
No human being on the planet believes in Purdue.
Chaos is sure to reign in this region. And with chaos comes opportunity — specifically, betting opportunity.
Let’s break down the bracket from top-to-bottom and sprinkle in some value plays.
A big thank you to Bet365 Sportsbook for providing the betting numbers for this analysis.
NCAA Tournament East Region Odds
The East Region Favorite
Purdue Boilermakers (+300)
Purdue will beat Texas Southern or FDU. But the Boilermakers draw the toughest second-round matchup of any No. 1 seed.
How are the Purdue guards going to break the Memphis press? We’ve seen time and time again this season with Purdue that the young backcourt has issues against heavy ball-pressure teams.
And now you’re getting one of the nation’s elite ball-pressure teams in Penny Hardaway’s squad.
If you guys want just a quick 2 minute explanation of why Purdue is losing to Memphis by 10+ points go watch them try and break a press today in their matchup with Penn State
Those boys are gonna DIE trying to keep up with the Memphis pace
This is not the BIG 10
— Will (@ballknowerwill) March 12, 2023
Of course, Purdue’s downfall depends on Memphis getting past the 31-3 Florida Atlantic Owls. However, FAU will be a tough draw for any team in the bracket, given the Owls’ depth and shooting ability, so I still don’t feel great about the Boilers.
Purdue will be the public’s biggest fade in this event, so the contrarian move would be to bet the Boilermakers to win it all.
Personally, I can’t advise that. I’ll be fading Purdue for the rest of March and hoping we don’t have to see Matt Painter’s squad on the second weekend.
Ultimate East Region Winner
Marquette Golden Eagles (+450)
I’m a little weary of backing Marquette here. However, the biggest challenge for the Golden Eagles is probably their first-round matchup with Vermont.
Outside of that, I’m very low on anyone else Marquette would draw in the bottom half of the East Region.
That includes Kansas State, which has a brutal first-round matchup with Montana State and is struggling to hang onto the basketball.
A potential Elite Eight matchup involves Purdue, unless the Boilermakers go down as expected. However, Marquette owns an excellent press defense, and the Golden Eagles thrive on creating turnovers and turning them into transition buckets.
Overall, Marquette might be the best offense in the country. With Tyler Kolek running the pick-and-roll and Oso Ighodaro posing interior mismatches, the Eagles can run circles around any defense in college basketball.
And as we all know, great guard play plays in March.
It’s hard to find a guard who sees the floor better, gets to his spot better or scores smoother than Kolek.
Tyler Kolek has been named the Big East Player of the Year 🚨
7.9 APG (2nd in the nation)
— SLAM University (@slam_university) March 8, 2023
I’m probably not betting on Marquette to escape this region at the current odds available, but the Golden Eagles are the team I most expect can make it out of the East alive.
Potential East Region Bracket Buster
Memphis Tigers (+1200)
Past the great matchup with Purdue, let’s discuss the Tigers more generally.
Memphis went 26-8 this season and finished 14-3. The Tigers have one of the best guards in the nation — Kendric Davis — coupled with an elite big man in DeAndre Williams.
It’s so nice to back a team with an elite inside-out duo, especially when both are solid two-way players.
Expect a lot of this during Madness:
Kendric Davis with the steal and dish to DeAndre Williams, who finishes with authority#AmericanHoops x @Memphis_MBB pic.twitter.com/7fba2N1Rr6
— American MBB (@American_MBB) December 30, 2022
Memphis is also physical, plays solid defense, and two of its eight losses this season came in overtime. The Tigers played tight with Houston twice and kept it within three against Alabama.
In my eyes, this is a top-20 team with the core components of a Cinderella.
Now, imagine if the Tigers beat FAU, Purdue, Duke/Tennessee and Marquette on the way to a Final Four appearance.
That’s a “Bracket Buster” if I’ve ever heard of one.
Best East Region First-Round Matchup
Memphis (-2) vs. FAU (153)
Unfortunately, the Tigers need to get past FAU in the first round.
As in the 31-3 Owls, who are fresh off one of the best seasons in mid-major history.
And it’ll be a tough matchup because FAU runs one of the nation’s deepest, most versatile lineups and boasts elite shooters all over the floor.
Of course, FAU is also weak on the wing on defense, where Williams, Chandler Lawson or any of Memphis’ physical playmakers could feast.
The game likely comes down to FAU’s shooters, as head coach Dusty May is probably content with trading Tiger 2s for Owl 3s.
This could end up as a great live-betting game, where FAU’s hot-and-cold streaks produce swings galore, while Memphis loses the non-Davis/Williams minutes and vice versa.
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