NCAAB

4 NCAA Tournament Prop Bets for Friday's First-Round Games

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD
4 NCAA Tournament Prop Bets for Friday's First-Round Games

The NCAA Tournament is here, and we can get into the action by checking out prop bets for all of Friday's First-Round games via the college basketball odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.

For bettors, numberFire's Matchup Heat Map helps identify favorable game environments, while KenPom and Sports-Reference offer a wide range of team-level statistics. We can also turn to Bart Torvik and RealGM for advanced player stats and splits.

Let's check out FanDuel Sportsbook's college basketball odds and dive into our wealth of statistical data to find Friday's best prop bets.

Please note lines are subject to change after this article is published.

College Basketball Prop Bets

(9) Northwestern vs. (8) Florida Atlantic, 12:15 p.m. ET

Boo Buie Over 20.5 Points (-108)

The East is the toughest region in this year's NCAA Tournament, and that starts with 9 seed Northwestern going up against 8 seed Florida Atlantic.

A tight spread (FAU -2.5) hints at a close game, but a 141.5 total suggests a good amount of offense from both sides. That brings me to Northwestern's leading scorer, Boo Buie. The fifth-year guard has the kind of high-usage role that should allow him to go over his points prop, currently set at 20.5 (-108) on FanDuel Sportsbook.

In his final year as a Wildcat, Buie has put together his most efficient season to date. He's averaging 19.2 points and 2.7 threes per game on the year, shooting 45% overall and 44% from beyond the arc. Northwestern's all-time leading scorer has an absurd 28% usage rate, easily the highest on the team.

He's had to take on a larger role of late, upping his scoring to 20 points per game since fourth-leading scorer Ty Berry went down with an injury. In those 10 games, Buie has attempted at least 13 shots nine times and scored at least 21 points five times.

Buie can score from all levels of the floor, but he's especially lethal in one-on-one situations. According to Synergy Sports, Buie finished the regular season with the 20th-highest isolation rate in the country. His 3.3 isolation possessions per game leads all tournament players.

That should come in handy against Florida Atlantic. The Owls haven't been an especially scary defense this season, ranking 108th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. They've struggled to guard one-on-one, ranking 252nd in points per possession allowed in isolation.

Buie would hardly be the first guard to torch FAU. In non-conference play, the Owls let up 35 points to Texas A&M's Wade Taylor, 28 to Arizona's Caleb Love, and 33 to Illinois' Terrence Shannon. Based on their performance in the AAC tournament, FAU still hasn't fixed that issue. The Owls just gave up 21 to Temple's leading scorer, Hysier Miller, in their semifinal loss.

They simply don't have the personnel to keep Boo Buie in check, and this won't be Buie's first March rodeo. He went for 22 and 18 points in the tournament last season, notably attempting 27 shots and getting to the line 13 times across two games.

Coming off a 29-point game in the Big Ten tournament, consider the over on Boo Buie's points prop in what could be the final game of his Northwestern career.

(11) New Mexico vs. (6) Clemson, 3:10 p.m. ET

Donovan Dent Over 15.5 Points + Assists (-113)

New Mexico has the makings of a Cinderella team that could destroy NCAA Tournament brackets. The Lobos are efficient on both ends of the floor, love to push the pace, and have talent up and down their roster. There's a reason they're favored by 2.5 points over Clemson.

Still, a tight spread and high total (151.5) suggests offense should be plentiful in this first-round matchup. A back-and-forth game should allow the stars on both teams to shine, but I'm most interested in sophomore guard Donovan Dent. Though Dent averages 14.3 points and 5.6 assists per game, his points + assists prop is set at 15.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook. In the biggest game of his young career, I'm all in on the over at -113 odds.

This short of a line for a player of Dent's caliber feels far too low at first glance, but he is coming off a pair of quiet outings in the Mountain West tournament. Though his Lobos won the tournament, Dent was limited to 26 and 13 minutes over the final two games due to an illness. He totaled just 17 combined points and assists in those two games but should be back to full strength after a week of rest.

Assuming he resumes his usual role, we can expect Dent to play a major factor in New Mexico's offensive attack. He boasts the second-highest usage rate (23%) on the Lobos and finished fourth in the Mountain West with a 32% assist rate. Over 34 games, Dent finished with at least 16 combined points and assists 24 times.

Clemson won't be the toughest matchup he's faced, but the Tigers are 69th in adjusted defensive efficiency. This will be the 17th top-70 defense Dent's played against. Taking out his two sick games in the Mountain West tournament, Dent's averaged 13.9 points and 5.0 assists against top-70 defenses. He had 16 combined points and assists in nine of 14 games.

Though Dent doesn't hoist from deep often, he is shooting 38% from three this year (on 1.2 attempts per game). That proficiency could come in handy against a Clemson team that gives up threes at the 53rd-highest rate in the country.

That said, the key matchup I'm watching with Dent is his work in the pick and roll. As a ball-handler, Dent ranked 21st nationally with 7.4 pick-and-roll possessions per game, per Synergy. That was an area Clemson struggled to defend all year, ranking 333rd in points per possession and 314th in score rate allowed to the ball handler in pick-and-roll situations.

I'm buying the illness-related dip on Dent's points + assists prop and expect him to be a lethal playmaker against a good-not-great Clemson defense.

(9) Texas A&M vs. (8) Nebraska, 6:50 p.m. ET

Keisei Tominaga 3+ Made Threes (+118)

The Nebraska Cornerhuskers are one of the hottest teams entering the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Senior guard Keisei Tominaga is a big reason for that, and he's a player who could explode in the NCAA Tournament.

In a matchup with Texas A&M, the sharpshooter is well-positioned to let it rain from deep. I'm targetting Keisei Tominaga 3+ Made Threes at +118 odds on FanDuel Sportsbook.

That's because A&M has one of the worst three-point defenses in the country. While the Aggies are 57th in adjusted defense, they've given up the 10th-highest three-point rate in the country. Per Synergy, Texas A&M plays zone at the 63rd-highest rate in the country, funneling looks from beyond the arc. Opponents have shot 41% from three against that zone.

That should be music to Tominaga's ears. The senior is averaging 2.3 made threes and 6.2 attempted threes per game on the year, good for a 37% clip from deep. He's drained at least three triples in 14 of 31 games overall (45% of games). That's right in line with the implied probability (45.9%) we get from his +118 odds for 3+ made threes.

Tominaga has taken advantage of teams that give up a high rate of threes in the past. In five games against defenses that allow at least a 40% three-point attempt rate, the sharpshooter is averaging 7.8 three-point attempts per game, nailing three three-pointers four times. Texas A&M has a 44.9% three-point attempt rate.

With Nebraska seeking their first NCAA tournament win, expect them to rely on their best shooter against a lackluster perimeter defense.

(9) TCU vs. (8) Utah State, 9:55 p.m. ET

Great Osobor Over 24.5 Points + Rebounds (-125)

The Utah State Aggies may be one of the worst a-large teams in the 2024 NCAA Tournament, but that doesn't mean we should shy away from their player props.

For their first-round matchup with TCU, I'm targeting big man Great Osobor to go over 24.5 points + rebounds, currently at -125 odds on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Osobor is an incredible story. The junior spent his first two seasons at Montana State where he played fewer than 20 minutes per game both years but still averaged 7.9 points and 4.3 rebounds. The big man made two NCAA Tournament appearances with the Bobcats, finishing with 8 and 18 combined points and assists in a pair of matchups with Big 12 teams.

He then transferred to Utah State prior to the 2023-24 season and has since taken off with the Aggies. Osobor won Mountain West Player of the Year for the regular season champs, averaging 18.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. He took double-digit shot attempts in 23 of 33 games and finished with at least 25 combined points and rebounds 17 times.

Coincidentally, Osobor will face another Big 12 team in this year's big dance, the TCU Horned Frogs. TCU is 32nd in adjusted defensive efficiency, but their 65th-ranked adjusted tempo caused them to give up 71.2 points per game.

Despite the strong overall metrics, the Horned Frogs are vulnerable inside. Per Bart Torvik, they allowed 41.6% of opponents' field goals to come at the rim this season, the third-highest among tournament teams. Opposing teams shot an above-average 58.4% on such looks.

That culminated in TCU giving up 33 points in the paint per game, the 22nd-highest among 94 high-major teams.

Great Osobor averaged the fifth-most points in the paint (12.3) in the country, so he should feast inside. That makes his points prop -- 16.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook -- appealing, but I'm more comfortable tacking on his rebounds here. Osobor was responsible for 25% of Utah State's total rebounds this season, so he should be active against a TCU side that finished 48th in total rebound rate.

A soft matchup inside should allow the Mountain West Player of the Year to at least meet his season averages and hit the over on his points + rebounds prop.


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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.