Rovell’s March Madness First Four Pick: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs. Southeast Missouri St.
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March Madness starts tonight, and I don’t care if it’s the First Four, I’m ready to go.
I’m going to start off with a contrarian play on the under for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi versus Southeast Missouri State.
The public loves the over and it makes sense. Both these teams are in the top 15% in scoring in the NCAA.
And Southeast Missouri State ranks No. 7 in tempo across all of college basketball, while Texas A&M-Corpus Christi slots in the top quartile, too.
(For our betting expert’s full betting preview of Southeast Missouri State vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, check out our SEMO vs Texas A&M-CC Odds & Picks: Bet the Over in First Four Opener.)
That’s why 62% of bets and 66% of handle are on the over of 155.5. It’s come up three points from the open because the public likes the line so much.
But let’s play around with numbers here. To hit the over, assuming Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is the 3.5-point favorite, the score needs to be at least 80-76. The Islanders average 80 points a game. The Redhawks score 77 points per game.
There’s not much wiggle room here.
Now let’s look at the trends for the First Four. On average, teams score about seven points per game less than their season average in these games, according to our amazing numbers guru Evan Abrams.
Tourney teams clamp down on defense, nerves set in and possessions elongate.
If that trend persists, the total for this game should be priced at roughly 143 or so.
There have been 44 First Four games played. So far, the total is 26-18 (59%) to the under. And out of those 44 games, 155.5 is the fourth highest total in history.
Take the Under of 155.5 at BetMGM tonight for the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs. Southeast Missouri State game.
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