First Four Betting: Virginia vs. Colorado State Picks, Prop Bets and Odds

Austan Kas
Austan Kas@AustanKas
First Four Betting: Virginia vs. Colorado State Picks, Prop Bets and Odds

Very few things on the sports calendar can match the excitement and unpredictability of the NCAA Tournament. So why not add betting to the mix via the college basketball odds at FanDuel Sportsbook?

The 2024 edition of the big dance has arrived, and here at FanDuel Research, we'll have you covered with a betting guide for each game.

The second of Tuesday's two First Four games pits Virginia against Colorado State. Which bets should interest you?

All college basketball odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook, and lines may change after this article is published.

NCAA Tournament Betting Picks

Virginia vs. Colorado State Betting Odds

Date and Time: Tuesday, March 19th at 9:10 p.m. ET

Spread: Colorado State -2.5 (-110)

Total: 120.5


  • Colorado State: -140
  • Virginia: +116

Virginia vs. Colorado State Statistical Breakdown

Advanced stats from KenPom, Bart Torvik and numberFire.

Virginia Cavaliers

  • numberFire Ranking: 68th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 57th
  • KenPom Ranking: 69th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 7th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 194th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 362nd

Colorado State Rams

  • numberFire Ranking: 35th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 45th
  • KenPom Ranking: 38th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 38th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 42nd
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 270th

Virginia vs. Colorado State Best Bet

Colorado State Moneyline (-140)

About any way you slice it, Colorado State rates out as the better team in this matchup, with Bart Torvik the only rankings that put Virginia within shouting distance of the Rams.

Colorado State isn't necessarily great at any one thing, but they're a real solid basketball team. Per KenPom, they're 42nd in adjusted offensive efficiency and 38th in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Rams are also 270th in adjusted tempo, so they shouldn't be out of their comfort zone against Virginia's notoriously slow pace (362nd, slowest in the country).

The Rams have four players who average double-digit points. The team is spearheaded by guard Isaiah Stevens, who leads Colorado State in points (16.5) and assists (7.0) per night while shooting a sparkling 44.7% from three. He is a true top-level performer and owns the country's 13th-best Offensive Bayesian Performance Rating, per EvanMiya.

Virginia, as you probably know, is a defensive-minded team. While they're truly elite on that end of the court (seventh-best D by KenPom), the Cavaliers are nowhere near as good offensively, ranking 194th in adjusted offensive efficiency. Their defense should make things tough for Colorado State, but the Cavaliers' offense should have plenty of trouble scoring against quality Rams defense.

Reece Beekman and Isaac McKneely are the key offensive pieces for Virginia, averaging 14.3 and 12.5 points per game, respectively. McKneely is hitting 44.9% of his three-point tries.

Neither team comes into this one playing all that well. The Rams have lost four of their last eight contests while Virginia has lost five of nine, getting forced into overtime by meh North Carolina State (63rd by Bart Torvik) and Boston College (86th) teams in each of its last two outings.

In all, the Rams are the better team, and they'll also have the game's best player in Stevens. That's the side I want to be on.

numberFire's model has the Rams winning, 67.2-63.5. Bart Torvik also likes CSU to win but by a closer margin, 58.0-57.0. Given that, I prefer to take the Rams to win rather than to cover. Colorado State is -140 on the moneyline, which implies win odds of 58.3%. numberFire gives the Rams a 64.3% chance to win.

Virginia vs. Colorado State Prop Bets

Isaac McKneely Under 12.5 Points (-125)

As I mentioned above, McKneely can flat out stroke it, draining 44.9% of his threes this season. He also attempts 5.5 three-point tries per night. While it's scary to take the under on the point total for an elite three-point shooter who isn't shy about getting up shots, I think the under is the right play.

In general, the game environment should help us. The total is a lowly 120.5, and both teams play at a slow pace. We're not going to get a ton of possessions.

In addition to that, Colorado State doesn't give up many three-point attempts, sporting a three-point attempt rate of 34.0%, just the 296th-highest mark in the nation. Over their last two games, the Rams surrendered only 13 and 15 three-point tries to the opposition.

Slightly more than half of McKneely's 10.1 shots per game come from beyond the arc, so if he's bottled up from deep, he should have a hard time getting to 13 points.

Joel Scott Under 13.5 Points (-130)

Colorado State forward Joel Scott is averaging just 12.9 points per game for the campaign, so it's a little odd to see his points prop at 13.5 when the Rams are taking on a Virginia team that plays elite defense and operates at one of the country's slowest paces.

He has, however, been scoring the ball well of late, averaging 16.4 points per night across his past nine games and going over 13.5 points in seven of those -- which is likely why the line is where it is.

Despite Scott's hot play, I am siding with the under. UVA is seventh in adjusted defensive efficiency and plays at the slowest adjusted tempo in the nation. They can suck the life out of any game.

CSU hasn't come up against many teams that deploy a style similar to what the Cavaliers do, but San Diego State -- a team that is 9th in defense and 266th in tempo -- isn't a bad comparison. In a pair of games against the Aztecs, Scott averaged 9.5 points per contest and took only 10 total shots across the two games.

I think Scott finds it tough to score against Virginia's pack-line defense.

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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.