NCAA Tournament Player Prop Picks for Monday Afternoon: Best Bets Include Iowa and Gonzaga (March 22)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Spike the Bulldog
NCAA Tournament Player Prop Picks
Second Round: Monday, March 22
March Madness is back!
We waited two years for this day, 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 Props Tool has been racking up NBA wins all season, with a hit rate over 60% and a 20% ROI. Now we’ve released it for college hoops, just in time for the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
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 NCAA Tournament afternoon matchups, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.
Note: All photos below are via Getty Images.
Luka Garza, Iowa
(2) Iowa vs. (7) Oregon, 12:10 p.m. ET on CBS
We’re back to bet the big fella again to start our Monday off with a winner. Luka Garza was an easy All-American for a second consecutive season.
Garza filled up the box score on the nightly this season. He had 13 double-doubles — almost half his games — and scored at least 14 points in all but one game and at least 20 in two-thirds of them. Garza is at 23.7 points and 8.6 rebounds on the season, and he had 24 points and six boards in an easy win over 15-seed Grand Canyon in the opener.
Heck, we’re already 1-0 on Garza props this tournament after hitting his points over against the Antelopes. Today we’re going with rebounds instead.
Oregon ranks 312th in the nation in rebounding. Sure, there are a lot of teams in college basketball, but that’s really bad. That’s the sort of thing that happens when your entire starting five is 6-foot-6 or smaller. That’s a real stat. Hey, you know who’s not 6’6″? Luka Garza. He’s a half foot taller than these dudes, and he should absolutely dominate the glass in this one.
Oregon is good though. The Ducks are a good offense that scores well, and Iowa doesn’t play much defense, so this should be a fun, high-scoring affair and could stay close. That should mean heavy minutes for Garza, and when he plays at least 35 minutes this season, he averages 10.8 rebounds and has gone over 8.5 rebounds in nine of 12 games (75%).
We project him at 10.3 boards, and I’ll play another Garza over as high as -130 here.
Joe Wieskamp, Iowa
(2) Iowa vs. (7) Oregon, 12:10 p.m. ET on CBS
Let’s go back to Iowa for another early afternoon over.
Remember, this is going to be a high-scoring game. Both of these teams are offense first and defense optional, so the shots will be flying on both ends. That’s where the two-time All-Big Ten sharpshooter should come in.
Joe Wieskamp has basically been on fire since he came out of the womb. He’s making 46.7% of his 3-pointers this season, and that’s only slightly nudged his career numbers up to over 41% now for his career. Wieskamp made 70 of 150 threes this season. He’s also a good cutter and scores well within the flow of this beautiful Iowa offense.
Wieskamp averaged 14.8 points per game this season and was over 14 PPG last year too, though his scoring has been down a bit over the past month. He’s down to 13.2 PPG in nine games, and it’s not that the shooting has gone cold. He’s just not getting quite as many shots off.
I suspect that could change in this high-scoring game, and even if it doesn’t, that reduced average is still above this line, and Wieskamp has still hit double-digits in all nine of those games, putting us within one basket of an over. He has double-digit points in all but four games this season, giving us a great floor, and he’s gone over 12.5 points in 19 of 30 games, hitting this 63% of the time.
We are projecting Wieskamp at 16.4 points in this track meet, giving this prop a 20% edge in our favor and making it the top play of the entire day. I’d play over 12.5 as high as -150 and would even feel good about over 13.5 if the line moves before you get your bet in.
Joel Ayayi, Gonzaga
(1) Gonzaga vs. (8) Oklahoma, 2:40 p.m. ET on CBS
Joel Ayayi may not be the most buzzworthy player on the Gonzaga roster, but that’s no real fault of his. That’s the sort of thing that happens when you are teammates with sharpshooting All-American Corey Kispert, dominant big man Drew Timme and future top-5 NBA draft pick in Jalen Suggs.
Ayayi is not glitz or glamor, but he’s the glue guy that does the little things on this team. He’s an NBA prospect in his own right as a future 3-and-D NBA wing role player. Ayayi is an awesome cutter off the ball, and he’s a very nice passer. He’s also an excellent positional rebounder, and that’s the angle we’re playing here.
This is a guy that had a whopping 18 rebounds from the wing this year in a win over Iowa. He had four more games with double-digit boards, and he’s gone over 5.5 rebounds in 18 of 27 games, hitting this over 67% of the time and averaging 7.0 rebounds per game on the season.
Ayayi has at least eight rebounds in Gonzaga’s three tournament games, and he’s gone over 5.5 boards in six of his last seven outings. Honestly, this line is a full rebound too low.
And lest you worry about a Gonzaga blowout limiting minutes, you should know that the Zags have been blowing folks out all season and Ayayi has still put up those numbers anyway, with at least 26 minutes in all but four games. He’ll play, and he’ll play well.