2024 NCAA Tournament First Round Betting Odds: Predictions, Spreads, Moneylines, Totals

Brandon Gdula
Brandon Gdula@gdula13
2024 NCAA Tournament First Round Betting Odds: Predictions, Spreads, Moneylines, Totals

The men's NCAA Tournament bracket is set, and first-round action begins Thursday, March 21st.

Here are the college basketball odds for each game in the first round. All game predictions via numberFire. Odds and predictions subject to change after publication.

Advanced data from numberFire, BartTorvik, KenPom, and EvanMiya.

NCAA Tournament Betting Odds: First Round

Home Spread
Away Moneyline
Home Moneyline
Michigan State at Mississippi State+1.5-125+104130.5
Duquesne at BYU-9.5+365-490142.5
Akron at Creighton-12.5+640-1000141.5
Long Beach State at Arizona-20.5+1600-4500161.5
TBD vs. North CarolinaTBDTBDTBDTBD
Morehead State at Illinois-11.5+570-850146.5
Oregon at South Carolina-1.5-102-118133.5
View Full Table

Michigan State vs. Mississippi State Betting Odds

  • Michigan State Moneyline: -125
  • Mississippi State Moneyline: +104
  • Spread: Michigan State (-1.5)
  • Total: 130.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Michigan State (53.4%)

The pace may not be super fast in the opening game of the tournament with Michigan State operating at the 305th-fastest adjusted tempo (via KenPom) and Mississippi State at 202nd.

Michigan State is just 3-9 in Quad 1 games, but Mississippi State is only 4-9.

They're also similar overall since February 1st with Michigan State 6-6 and Mississippi State 7-6 in that span.

Both teams can clamp down defensively, so Mississippi State's turnover rate (291st) could be critical here.

Duquesne vs. BYU Betting Odds

  • Duquesne Moneyline: +365
  • BYU Moneyline: -490
  • Spread: BYU (-9.5)
  • Total: 142.5
  • numberFire Prediction: BYU (69.1%)

Duquesne is dancing for the first time since 1977, thanks to an Atlantic 10 championship as the 6 seed in the tournament.

BYU earned an at-large bid after a 23-10 season. They are 8-5 since February 1st and 6-8 against Quad 1 teams.

BYU is nearly a double-digit favorite, thanks to a top-12 adjusted offense by both KenPom and BartTorvik. That offense is spurred on by a top-two three-point attempt rate but stabilized by a top-10 field goal percentage from inside the arc.

Akron vs. Creighton Betting Odds

  • Akron Moneyline: +640
  • Creighton Moneyline: -1000
  • Spread: Creighton (-12.5)
  • Total: 141.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Creighton (71.7%)

Akron (as the 2 seed) won the MAC Championship 62-61 over Kent State (the 8 seed in the tournament). They were 0-3 against Quad 1 schools, losing to Utah State, Drake, and James Madison (on the road).

Enrique Freeman, a 6'7" forward, earned MAC player of the year honors this year on the strength of a per-game line of 18.6 points and 12.9 rebounds over 32.4 minutes.

He'll need to bring his A-game, as Akron is a double-digit underdog to the Creighton Bluejays, who have a trio averaging at least 17.0 points per game: Baylor Scheierman (18.4), Trey Alexander (17.6), and Ryan Kalkbrenner (17.1).

Long Beach State vs. Arizona Betting Odds

  • Long Beach State Moneyline: +1600
  • Arizona Moneyline: -4500
  • Spread: Arizona (-20.5)
  • Total: 161.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Arizona (88.4%)

Both teams here are top-30 in adjusted pace rankings, but that could hurt Long Beach State in the long run.

More possessions means more chances for Arizona (4th by numberFire's ratings) to prove they're the better team than Long Beach State (164th).

Arizona is one of two teams to rank top-12 in both adjusted offense and defense via BartTorvik. The others are Auburn and UConn.

Howard/Wagner vs. North Carolina Betting Odds

  • TBD Moneyline: N/A
  • North Carolina Moneyline: N/A
  • Spread: N/A
  • Total: N/A
  • numberFire Prediction: N/A

North Carolina will face the winner of Howard and Wagner's First Four game.

Early lines on these hypothetical matchups are North Carolina -22.5 versus Howard and -25.5 against Wagner.

UNC ranks top-10 at numberFire, BartTorvik, KenPom, and EvanMiya.

Morehead State vs. Illinois Betting Odds

  • Morehead State Moneyline: +570
  • Illinois Moneyline: -850
  • Spread: Illinois (-11.5)
  • Total: 146.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Illinois (74.6%)

Morehead State trounced Little Rock 69-55 in the Ohio Valley Conference title game to earn an NCAA Tournament bid as the conference tournament's 3 seed.

Illinois is a top-12 team by each of the four models and is top-three in adjusted offense at BartTorvik and KenPom. Their defense is outside the top-90 once adjusting for opponents, and that could spell trouble for them as potential NCAA Tournament champions.

Oregon vs. South Carolina Betting Odds

  • Oregon Moneyline: -102
  • South Carolina Moneyline: -118
  • Spread: South Carolina (-1.5)
  • Total: 133.5
  • numberFire Prediction: South Carolina (51.8%)

Oregon, the 11 seed in the Midwest Region, is within striking distance of South Carolina (the 6 seed) both in terms of spread and model projection for this matchup.

Oregon won the Pac-12 championship 75-68 over Colorado to lock up a tournament bid. They're 4-6 against Quad 1 opponents and 9-5 overall since February 1st.

The Gamecocks are 8-4 since February started, and they have a defensive edge on the Ducks.

This game projects to be close, though, so it could be a 6-versus-11 upset to monitor.

Nevada vs. Dayton Betting Odds

  • Nevada Moneyline: -114
  • Dayton Moneyline: -105
  • Spread: Nevada (-1.5)
  • Total: 136.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Dayton (51.7%)

A tight 7-versus-10 matchup is expected between Nevada and Dayton.

Nevada enters 10-2 since February 1st with Dayton 7-4 in that stretch. That includes an early exit in the Atlantic 10 tournament by the hands of the Duquesne Dukes.

These two teams have similar average rankings (37.3 and 35.3) across model sites, and both have top-40 adjusted offenses.

Each team could make a bit of a run, so nailing this game in bracket pools could prove important.

Colorado State/Virginia vs. Texas Betting Odds

  • TBD Moneyline: N/A
  • Texas Moneyline: N/A
  • Spread: N/A
  • Total: N/A
  • numberFire Prediction: N/A

The Texas Longhorns will face the winner of the play-in game between Virginia and Colorado State.

Colorado State is favored in that game.

Oakland vs. Kentucky Betting Odds

  • Oakland Moneyline: +660
  • Kentucky Moneyline: -1050
  • Spread: Kentucky (-13.5)
  • Total: 163.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Kentucky (82.8%)

Kentucky is getting a lot of buzz during tournament time, and it's warranted with their sheer amount of roster talent (BartTorvik rates them eighth in that metric).

It's worth noting that they were only 6-7 in Quad 1 games, but that should matter more down the line than against an Oakland team that ranks firmly in the 130s in the nation via all advanced models.

McNeese vs. Gonzaga Betting Odds

  • McNeese Moneyline: +225
  • Gonzaga Moneyline: -280
  • Spread: Gonzaga (-6.5)
  • Total: 149.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Gonzaga (58.8%)

Tournament staple Gonzaga is a 5 seed this year in the Midwest Region and draws a McNeese team that won 30 games this season. That includes a Quad 1 win at VCU, their only qualified game in that split.

Gonzaga was only 3-6 in Quad 1 games but has a 9-2 record since February even with weak defensive metrics in that span.

While this isn't the most likely 12/5 upset, it's worth a long look.

South Dakota State vs. Iowa State Betting Odds

  • South Dakota State Moneyline: +1200
  • Iowa State Moneyline: -3000
  • Spread: Iowa State (-16.5)
  • Total: 133.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Iowa State (82.9%)

A large spread is in order for this 2-versus-15 matchup.

Iowa State ranks top-10 across the board in all the models behind a top-two adjusted defense.

South Dakota State sits in the 130s among the opponent-adjusted efficiency margin scores.

The Cyclones' stifling defense includes a top-two turnover rate but -- interestingly -- a three-point attempt rate allowed of 353rd in the nation. They could struggle against a team that is built around the three-pointer.

South Dakota State ranks 48th in the nation in three-point percentage.

Saint Peter's vs. Tennessee Betting Odds

  • Saint Peter's Moneyline: +2000
  • Tennessee Moneyline: -7000
  • Spread: Tennessee (-21.5)
  • Total: 129.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Tennessee (89.6%)

The Tennessee Volunteers rank sixth in odds to win the national championship (+1700) and are huge favorites over the Peacocks.

Saint Peter's could make this game ugly with a slow pace (337th), but their shooting (349th in eFG%) and turnovers (323rd in turnover rate) make it hard to envision an upset.

NC State vs. Texas Tech Betting Odds

  • NC State Moneyline: +176
  • Texas Tech Moneyline: -210
  • Spread: Texas Tech (-4.5)
  • Total: 145.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Texas Tech (58.8%)

A huge run in the ACC tournament as the 10 seed locked up an NCAA Tournament spot for NC State. They beat North Carolina 84-76 in the title game.

But even with that, the odds favor Texas Tech, who have dealt with injuries this season but still finished 23-10 overall (6-9 in Quad 1 games).

Betting action is trending toward NC State via data from FanDuel Sportsbook.

Samford vs. Kansas Betting Odds

  • Samford Moneyline: +250
  • Kansas Moneyline: -315
  • Spread: Kansas (-7.5)
  • Total: 152.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Kansas (67.9%)

Kansas id favored by "only" 7.5 against 13 seed Samford.

Their second half of the season was impacted by injuries, though coach Bill Self had good news on that front.

Samford went 0-2 in Quad 1 games with losses to Purdue and VCU (both on the road).

They did close out the season 10-2 in their final 12 and have a distinct offensive style: they're 8th in three-point percentage and top-15 in adjusted tempo.

Drake vs. Washington State Betting Odds

  • Drake Moneyline: -126
  • Washington State Moneyline: +105
  • Spread: Drake (-1.5)
  • Total: 138.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Washington State (50.5%)

A 10-over-7 upset could be in the cards here, as Drake is favored over Washington State and the model sees it tight, as well.

Drake is 10-2 since the start of February and is the top defensive rebounding team in the nation, per BartTorvik.

Washington State also is hot to end the season (9-3 since February) and features a top-65 offense and defense. That type of balance is nice to see from a 7 seed in good form.

Northwestern vs. Florida Atlantic Betting Odds

  • Northwestern Moneyline: +114
  • Florida Atlantic Moneyline: -137
  • Spread: Florida Atlantic (-2.5)
  • Total: 141.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Florida Atlantic (59.7%)

Northwestern's 6-5 end to the season over the past month and a half also included some significant injuries. Those injuries drop Northwestern from 48th to 60th in EvanMiya's injury-adjusted rankings.

The FAU Owls, like Northwestern, have a top-25 adjusted offense via BartTorvik but a defense that's outside the top 100 at both BartTorvik and KenPom.

That -- and potential roster updates for Northwestern -- could be key in this first-round matchup.

Colgate vs. Baylor Betting Odds

  • Colgate Moneyline: +810
  • Baylor Moneyline: -1450
  • Spread: Baylor (-13.5)
  • Total: 138.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Baylor (73.4%)

Colgate ended the season on a tear (17-1) with great shooting efficiency (a 55.9% eFG%) during that run.

However, Baylor is the better three-point shooting team (4th in 3P% versus 75th), and Colgate is just 261st in three-point attempt rate defense.

The pace should be slow here, which is a path to a close game, but the models love Baylor.

UAB vs. San Diego State Betting Odds

  • UAB Moneyline: +245
  • San Diego State Moneyline: -310
  • Spread: San Diego State (-7.5)
  • Total: 138.5
  • numberFire Prediction: San Diego State (74.4%)

UAB's 23-11 record includes an 0-4 mark against Quad 1 opponents, but the team can get to the free throw line (20th in free-throw attempt rate) and clean the offensive glass (22nd). That's their path to success in the tournament.

San Diego State has a top-15 adjusted defense, yet the Final Four team from a year ago is only 4-9 against Quad 1 opponents and sits outside the top 300 in three-point percentage.

Western Kentucky vs. Marquette Betting Odds

  • Western Kentucky Moneyline: +810
  • Marquette Moneyline: -1450
  • Spread: Marquette (-14.5)
  • Total: 158.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Marquette (75.3%)

Western Kentucky brings a nation-leading pace to a matchup with Marquette, who is an above-average team in that metric itself. The Golden Eagles hold a top-25 offense and defense, and their status as big favorites here makes sense.

However, they're a weak rebounding team and need to shore that up during the big dance.

Stetson vs. Connecticut Betting Odds

  • Stetson Moneyline: +3500
  • Connecticut Moneyline: -20000
  • Spread: Connecticut (-26.5)
  • Total: 145.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Connecticut (93.4%)

The UConn Huskies are the favorites to win the 2024 NCAA tournament (+420), so it stands to reason that they're huge favorites over Stetson, the Atlantic Sun champs.

Stetson is one of the worst adjusted defenses in the entire NCAA, which isn't what you want to hear against the country's unanimous number-one offense.

New Mexico vs. Clemson Betting Odds

  • New Mexico Moneyline: -120
  • Clemson Moneyline: +100
  • Spread: New Mexico (-1.5)
  • Total: 149.5
  • numberFire Prediction: New Mexico (58.6%)

The 11 seed here, the New Mexico Lobos, are favored against the 6 seed, the Clemson Tigers, based on the betting odds.

They're also receiving 80% of the spread money (and 62% of the spread tickets), per FanDuel Sportsbook. New Mexico is 23-11-0 against the spread this season, as well.

Clemson largely has a balanced profile, but it's not enough to have the line in their favor early in the week.

Yale vs. Auburn Betting Odds

  • Yale Moneyline: +610
  • Auburn Moneyline: -950
  • Spread: Auburn (-12.5)
  • Total: 140.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Auburn (75.2%)

Auburn is the most underrated team in the NCAA Tournament and has a tougher draw than anticipated as a result of being given a 4 seed. Auburn is a top-five team by numberFire, BartTorvik, KenPom, and EvanMiya.

Yale can slow things down (324th in adjusted tempo) and clean the defensive glass (13th), which could put the pressure on the Tigers before a potential Sweet 16 matchup with the UConn Huskies.

Boise State/Colorado vs. Florida Betting Odds

  • TBD Moneyline: N/A
  • Florida Moneyline: N/A
  • Spread: N/A
  • Total: N/A
  • numberFire Prediction: N/A

Florida faces the winner of Boise State and Colorado. Colorado is a slight favorite.

Florida has key wins over Kentucky (on the road), Alabama, and Auburn. They're better offensively (14th) than defensively (68th) and are a sleeper team to watch.

Texas A&M vs. Nebraska Betting Odds

  • Texas A&M Moneyline: -102
  • Nebraska Moneyline: -118
  • Spread: Nebraska (-1.5)
  • Total: 146.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Nebraska (52.9%)

A tight 8-versus-9 matchup will determine (most likely) Houston's round two opponent.

The model at numberFire and the betting odds favor the 8 seed, Nebraska.

Nebraska ended the season 8-4 since the start of February and ranks similarly to Texas A&M in adjusted offense (both top-36 teams) despite very different styles.

Nebraska shoots the three well enough (35.8%, 70th in the nation), yet Texas A&M is 1st in offensive rebounding rate and 21st in turnover rate despite being 344th in effective field goal percentage and 353rd in three-point percentage.

Vermont vs. Duke Betting Odds

  • Vermont Moneyline: +530
  • Duke Moneyline: -780
  • Spread: Duke (-11.5)
  • Total: 132.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Duke (73.7%)

A trend to look at for potential upsets or underdogs to cover can be tempo, and Vermont operates with a pace that ranks them 350th in the nation. They're also 11th in turnover rate offensively, so they can slow things down and use up clock without wasting possessions.

Even with that, though, Duke is a double-digit favorite as a lethal three-point shooting team with a top-30 adjusted defense.

Montana State/Grambling vs. Purdue Betting Odds

  • TBD Moneyline: N/A
  • Purdue Moneyline: N/A
  • Spread: N/A
  • Total: N/A
  • numberFire Prediction: N/A

Purdue (+700 to win the championship, third-best odds) will face the winner of the play-in game between Montana State and Grambling. Montana State is a slight favorite.

Purdue has all the traits of an eventual champion.

Charleston vs. Alabama Betting Odds

  • Charleston Moneyline: +385
  • Alabama Moneyline: -520
  • Spread: Alabama (-9.5)
  • Total: 172.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Alabama (66.8%)

The total is high in this game as neither team ranks better than 112th in adjusted defense, per KenPom (Alabama is 112th, and Charleston is 176th).

They're also both top-60 in adjusted pace and top-20 in three-point attempt rate.

This could be the game of the tournament if both sides commit to their play style.

Longwood vs. Houston Betting Odds

  • Longwood Moneyline: +3000
  • Houston Moneyline: -10000
  • Spread: Houston (-24.5)
  • Total: 126.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Houston (83.7%)

Houston ranks first in numberFire's and BartTorvik's ratings, second in KenPom's, and fifth in EvanMiaya's. They're a great team and are built on both a great offense and an even better defense.

Longwood is a stellar rebounding team and can get to the free-throw line. However, their work is cut out for them to pull off a 16-over-1 upset.

James Madison vs. Wisconsin Betting Odds

  • James Madison Moneyline: +190
  • Wisconsin Moneyline: -235
  • Spread: Wisconsin (-5.5)
  • Total: 145.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Wisconsin (53.3%)

James Madison won 31 games this season, including a 14-game win streak to start the season and a current 13-0 streak since February 1st.

Wisconsin is trending the other direction. They're 6-9 since February 1st to cap off a 22-13 season.

Once factoring in opponent adjustments, the models definitely favor Wisconsin (a top-20 team) over James Madison (generally a top-50 or top-60 squad).

But JMU is getting some noticeable betting action by way of 62% of the spread money at FanDuel Sportsbook.

TCU vs. Utah State Betting Odds

  • TCU Moneyline: -152
  • Utah State Moneyline: +126
  • Spread: TCU (-2.5)
  • Total: 150.5
  • numberFire Prediction: TCU (51.2%)

In this 8-versus-9 matchup, it's the 9 seed that is the betting favorite (and the model's prediction -- slightly).

Both sides here are top-50 offenses, but TCU has the big edge defensively (31st in adjusted defense at KenPom) over Utah State (68th).

Utah State rebuilt from the ground up this season and is 11th in two-point field goal percentage and just 281st in three-point attempt rate. They have their identity, and TCU is beatable inside the arc.

Grand Canyon vs. Saint Mary's Betting Odds

  • Grand Canyon Moneyline: +188
  • Saint Mary's Moneyline: -230
  • Spread: Saint Mary's (-5.5)
  • Total: 131.5
  • numberFire Prediction: Saint Mary's (52.7%)

The nightcap of the Round of 64 features a tight game between Grand Canyon and Saint Mary's.

Both sides are top-10 by effective field goal percentage defensively, and Saint Mary's is an elite rebounding team that plays slow.

They could be a real problem in the tournament and are +6000 to win the title.

The Lopes fell a game short of a 30-win season but had a win over San Diego State in their lone Quad 1 matchup. They're 12-2 in their final 14 games.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.