NCAA Tournament Odds & Picks: Matt Cox of Three Man Weave’s 3 Best Bets for the First Round
Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images. Pictured: Asbjorn Midtgaard.
With March Madness set to begin on Thursday, eight teams will fight for their chance at the Round of 64. Matt Cox of the 3-Man Weave has found value in one of those four games with two other first-round matchups later in the week.
Here are three bets to make before it is too late, which Matt broke down on The Action Network podcast:
Mount Saint Mary’s PK vs. Texas Southern
Thursday, March 18 (5:10 p.m. ET)
I am all over the Mount in this one.
This is a terrible matchup for the Johnny Jones-led Tigers. One-man wrecking crew Michael Weathers carried his team to the WAC title, but Texas Southern is catching a Mount Saint Mary’s team that features three players taller than 6-foot-8 in its starting lineup
Unlike most mid-majors that play small, fast and shoot it, Mount Saint Mary’s goes in a completely different direction.
It runs a more unorthodox, old-school throwback offense. Its length inside will bother Texas Southern this game. The Tigers rely on its rim attack, driving, getting to the line and second-chance opportunities on the glass. Mount Saint Mary’s eliminates all of that.
I see this game being ugly and low-scoring.
I like the Mount at anything above a pick. It should be favored in this game as my numbers put this game around -2.
The pick: Mount Saint Mary’s pick’em.
Colgate +8.5 vs. Arkansas
Friday, March 19 (12:45 p.m ET)
This brings back so many fond memories of 2019 when Jordan Burns went nuclear.
He hung a 30-burger on Tennessee, at the time one of the best defenses in the country. The Vols were loaded with size, athleticism and talent. But it didn’t matter. Burns was basically a cheat code.
Fast forward to now, after last year’s devastating loss to Boston in the conference tournament, and Colgate is back in March.
Head coach Matt Langel and the Raiders run a pristine, nuanced offense that will be a nightmare for Arkansas to contain. This is going to be an up-and-down pinball game.
Colgate can spread out Arkansas, slash and get backdoor action. There’s perpetual motion on the perimeter. I think Jordan Burns, Nelly Cummings and the sharpshooters in Colgate’s cavalry will be a lot for Arkansas to keep up with.
Sure, the Razorbacks can put up points of their own, but I think the Raiders can go right with them. I’ve seen them put up 90-plus points multiple times this season.
Give me Colgate at anything 8 or higher.
The pick: Colgate +8.5 (down to +8).
Grand Canyon +15 vs. Iowa
Saturday, March 20 (6:25 p.m. ET)
Grand Canyon is catching a big ol’ spread against the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Iowa deserves that respect, being one of the top teams in the Big Ten all season. No one can question it can put up points with the best of them.
But on the other sideline will be Bryce Drew, one of the great X’s-and-O’s tacticians in the country. What he’s done with Grand Canyon this year, taking a team that already had talent and elevated it to another level — it’s what all good coaches do. And it’s precisely what he’s done.
He’s doing it with size up front.
Asbjorn Midtgaard, the 7-foot Wichita State transfer, is a beast inside and deceptively mobile.
He’s the perfect type of player you want to check Luka Garza. What you can’t do is double the big Hawkeye. That’s what so many Big Ten teams and other non-conference foes have tried. That’s when Garza gets those kick-outs and rotations, and Iowa gets red-hot from 3. Grand Canyon is not going to shut down Garza, but it’s a team that can keep him in check.
This is a Drew defense that is very well-connected and cohesive. It’ll keep the pace slow and prevent Iowa from making this a track-meet type of game.
That should play well for the large number you’re catching here if you’re going to back Grand Canyon. I’ll take anything above 15.
The pick: Grand Canyon +15.