NCAA Tournament Player Props: Picks For Kansas vs. USC, Florida State vs. Colorado on Monday Night
David Purdy/Getty Images. Pictured: David McCormack.
- Kansas and USC should be a heck of a battle to finish out opening weekend of March Madness.
- The Jayhawks' Jalen Wilson and David McCormack will battle the Torjans' Isaiah and Evan Mobley.
- Our NCAA Tournament prop betting analyst Brandon Anderson thinks USC has a big advantage on the interior, which is why he's keyed in on the following props.
NCAA Tournament Player Prop Picks
Second Round: Monday, March 22
March Madness is back!!
We waited two years for this tournament, and we've got big news at Action Network: Our handy dandy Props Tool is expanding and it's killing it so far — already 18-8-1 through the first round (69% hit rate) with a 29.7 return on investment!
The tool has been racking up NBA wins all season, with a hit rate better than 60% and a 20% ROI. Now we've released it for college hoops.
For those who are new to this article, we'll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NCAAB projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.
Below, I have laid out three prop bets that I'm playing from Monday's late evening matchups, the case for each and the best books to find odds.
Note: All photos below are via Getty Images.
M.J. Walker, Florida State
(5) Colorado vs. (4) Florida State, 7:45 p.m. ET on TBS
This could be one of the most competitive games of the day, and it's the only matchup of the tournament between a 4- and a 5-seed.
The Buffaloes are no joke, and neither is the PAC-12 now that it's started the first three days of the tournament undefeated. Both of these teams played in conference championship games but lost, and each one will be eager to get a win with hopes of a deep run here.
Under Leonard Hamilton, the Seminoles run a deep rotation. While other teams shorten up or play their five-man rotation to death in tournament games, Hamilton often goes the other way. Florida State had nine players average at least 14 minutes a game and 10 average at least four points
Walker is the one guy whose minutes don't waver, though the deep rotation does prevent from from playing a huge load in a game like this, and that caps his ceiling for counting numbers. Walker leads the team in both minutes and points per game, though at a modest 29.1 and 12.5 per game, respectively. He's also at 2.5 assists per game, right at this number.
That assist average is skewed high though, thanks to a few outliers. Walker had 10 assists against Louisville this season, and he has three other games with four or more dimes. He has only 31 assists in 18 other games, just 1.7 APG for the rest of the season.
Colorado plays very slow, and the Buffs play tough defense. Buckets won't be easy to come by, and neither will assists. Walker has been within 0.5 dimes of this number in all but four games, and he's gone under this line in 14 of 22 games, hitting the under 64% of the time.
Our Props Tool rates this a 10 out of 10 with odds in our favor. I'd play any plus number or as low as -110.
David McCormack, Kansas
(3) Kansas vs. (6) USC, 9:40 p.m. ET on CBS
David McCormack has been a breakout player for the Kansas Jayhawks this season. He was a spot starter his first two seasons but didn't really impact the box score much. This season has been different — he's a full-time starter now and is averaging 13.7 points and 6.2 rebounds a game while patrolling the paint as the heart of a terrific defense.
We played McCormack's rebounding over in Kansas' first tournament game and hit it with nine boards, but this time we're fading McCormack for two big reasons.
The first is Jalen Wilson — Wilson missed the first Jayhawks game in COVID protocol, but he looks ready to suit up on Monday night, so that takes some of the pressure off of McCormack as the lone big man in the Kansas rotation.
More importantly, and I'm not sure how to overstate this, but the second reason is: USC is extremely not Eastern Washington.
Like the Jayhawks, the Trojans also rank top 10 in the NCAA in defense on KenPom, and that's thanks largely to the presence of the Mobley brothers on the interior. That's Evan and Isaiah Mobley, and Evan is an absolute monster in the paint. He has a shot to go No. 1 in the 2021 NBA Draft with a strong tournament showing, and he can do everything on both ends of the court.
That could spell trouble for McCormack getting good looks on offense, and it could mean easy foul trouble on defense too. He scored at least 17 points in four of his last five, but he's still under this number in 16-of-28 (57%) games, and the Mobleys are his toughest matchup of the season.
We project McCormack at 12.2 points, giving this a whopping 23% edge in our favor, and I love this spot to fade the Kansas big man. He's never faced anyone like this before.
Ochai Agbaji, Kansas
(3) Kansas vs. (6) USC, 9:40 p.m. ET on CBS
The Jayhawks are going to have their hands full against USC.
All that Trojan size is a bad matchup for the Jayhawks, and the books know it, making the 3-seeded Kansas only a 1-point favorite against the 6-seeded USC — that's a rarity for a public team like Kansas and a team with this sort of prestige and history, so it means we should take it seriously.
USC has a significant size advantage in this game with the Mobleys on the interior, which has been Kansas' weak spot this season. We're already fading McCormack with the prop above, and this looks like a spot where Kansas will need its non-bigs to step up and grab some rebounds. Every board will matter in a close, tough, defensive game.
McCormack will have his hands full with the Mobleys, and though Jalen Wilson is supposed to be back, we don't know yet how much he'll be able to play. We can be certain Kansas will lean heavily on Ochai Agbaji, though.
Agbaji has scored 22.0 points per game over the last three, and he averaged 35.3 minutes per game and played all but one minute in the win against Eastern Washington. He had 14 rebounds in those three games, and Agbaji is a big, physical athlete with 11 games at five or more rebounds. He even had a double-digit board game against West Virginia.
Agbaji has gone over this line in 19-of-29 games, hitting the over 66% of the time. We project him at 4.1 boards, and it would be easy to see him hitting that with time to spare. This line is just too low, and I'm more than happy to drink the juice here. I'll play as high as -195.