NCAA Tournament Player Props: 3 Bets for Thursday’s First-Round Games, Including Jalen Duren
Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Duren (Memphis)
The NCAA Tournament is upon us. For that reason, sportsbooks have expanded their college basketball player prop offerings.
Our college basketball staff welcomes that prop market here, and so does the Action Network’s Player Props Tool — which now features the college props market!
We’re kicking off the action with picks for Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson, Memphis’ Jalen Duren and Tennessee’s Santiago Vescovi.
So, check out our three favorite college props bet for the NCAA Tournament’s early games — and be sure to check back later for three more late-game bets.
Hunter Dickinson — much like the Michigan Wolverines — didn’t have a great start to the season. Dickinson was neutralized by Arizona and North Carolina’s talented frontcourts, and the Wolverines limped to a 7-6 SU start to their season.
Luckily for Dickinson and the Wolverines, that slow start is a distant memory.
Michigan’s best player has averaged 9.2 rebounds per game during the last 10 outings. But that’s not what impresses me most. Dickinson has expertly avoided foul trouble and is logging nearly 34 minutes per game across his last 10 performances. When it comes to player props, availability is nearly as important as ability.
So if the Michigan big can stay on the court, can he gobble up rebounds against Colorado State? Absolutely. Colorado State is one of the worst offensive rebounding teams nationally (324th), grabbing fewer than six per game.
In the Rams’ last five games, they’ve faced a pair of elite rebounders (Justin Bean, Graham Ike). Bean nabbed 24 boards across two games and Ike wrangled 13 rips.
Then, you have the starting lineups to consider. The Rams like to play four guards and Dischon Thomas, CSU’s only starter taller than 6-foot-8. This bodes well for the 7-foot-1 Dickinson, who has been sparring with the likes of Kofi Cockburn, Keegan Murray, the Purdue frontline and Trayce Jackson-Davis for the past few months.
Facing the undersized Rams’ frontcourt will feel like a vacation.
Grab this line now while you can get positive juice at +105 over at DraftKings.
Pick: Hunter Dickinson Over 8.5 Rebounds (Play to 9.5)
By Doug Ziefel
We’re going to continue with the theme of sharpshooting guards having good days from behind the arc. Goodwin has had a fantastic season shooting the ball for the Fighting Irish, hitting 50% from the field and over 44% from deep.
This number is playing into the matchup too much. Yes, Pitt does drag opponents into slugfests and minimalizes scoring opportunities with its style of play. However, it should not impact Goodwin as much.
We have seen him go over this mark against teams like Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. All three of those teams are far better defensively than the Panthers.
Goodwin’s key to outstanding performance is to sink 3-balls, and he should be able to do just that. Pitt sits 293rd in 3-point percentage allowed and also surrenders the 25th-highest share of points from behind the arc.
Goodwin had only eight field-goal attempts in the first meeting with Pitt, and four of them were 3s. However, he typically averages over 10 field goal attempts per game.
So, if he gets his usual amount of work, he has the potential to cash this easily given the matchup.
Pick: Jalen Duren Under 13.5 Points
The Tennessee offense has been transformed by Kennedy Chandler, who is the highest-usage player and was given the keys to Rick Barnes’ offense. Chandler finished top-50 nationally in assist rate.
While running that offense, Chandler found Vescovi a lot. The Uruguay product was already a sharpshooter in his undergrad years but has ramped it up this season. After two years of shooting 36.5% from 3, he’s shooting 39.6% from deep this season.
From a counting standpoint, Vescovi averaged 13.8 PPG this season while sinking 2.9 3s per game on 7.3 3-point attempts per game.
From an analytics standpoint, Vescovi was incredibly efficient. He scored 1.085 spot-up PPP this season, which ranked in the 82nd percentile of D-I players. A Vescovi open catch-and-shoot 3-point shot averaged 1.33 ShotQuality PPP, which ranked in the 94th percentile of plays tracked by ShotQuality.
He’ll face a Longwood team that allows a ton of 3-pointers. The Lancers allowed the 26th-highest 3-point rate to opponents this season, at 43.9 3PA%.
Longwood was good at defending those 3s but is due for regression in that area. The Lancers allowed teams to shoot 31% from 3, but ShotQuality projects that numbers should’ve been closer to 33%.
Vescovi is primed to force that Longwood regression. Either or, he’s going to get tons of opportunities from deep in this game, and that could rack up points quickly.
Our Action Labs Player Props Tool projects Vescovi for 15.6 points in this first-round matchup, providing us with over 15% of edge on the current line. I’d play this up to 14.
Pick: Santiago Vescovi Over 12.5 Points