NCAA Tournament Betting: Can Utah State Upset TCU?

Gabriel Santiago
Gabriel Santiago@gps_onthemic
NCAA Tournament Betting: Can Utah State Upset TCU?

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.

In what should be an adversarial clash, the No. 8 Utah State Aggies are short underdogs -- per FanDuel Sportsbook -- versus the No. 9 TCU Horned Frogs. This contest will represent the Midwest region, tipping off at Cleveland's Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

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

NCAA Tournament Betting Picks

TCU vs. Utah State Betting Odds

Date and Time: Friday, March 22nd at 9:55 p.m. ET

Spread: TCU -3.5 (-115)

Total: 150.5 (-115/-105)


  • TCU: -178
  • Utah State: +146

TCU vs. Utah State Statistical Breakdown

Advanced stats from KenPom, Bart Torvik and numberFire.


  • numberFire Ranking: 34th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 34th
  • KenPom Ranking: 35th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 32nd
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 45th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 63rd

Utah State

  • numberFire Ranking: 43rd
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 52nd
  • KenPom Ranking: 47th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 64th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 37th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 107th

TCU vs. Utah State Best Bet

Utah State +3.5 (-105)

Off the bat, this game will represent a meeting between two of the top basketball circuits in Division I. Over the 2023-24 campaign, the Big 12 (.621) and Mountain West (.592) produced two of the top three collective records on the men's side. So, when the Aggies and Horned Frogs get together on Friday evening, who has the edge?

When surveying the analytics, Texas Christian is viewed as the more dominant defensive side. Still, USU has been slightly stingier in terms of allowing points, giving up just 70.3 PPG. Of course, we still must consider the hellacious gauntlet of teams that the Horned Frogs hopped through -- the Big 12 was responsible for berthing eight respective NCAA Tournament teams this season.

Conversely, the Mountain West saw six of its members qualify for the tournament (including the Boise State Broncos, who were eliminated in Wednesday's First Four). Simply, the Aggies have played high-quality basketball against stiff competition all year long.

Friday night's clash will be Utah State's first contest of 2024 versus a Power 6 opponent. In an effort to make a statement for the Mountain West, I like head coach Danny Sprinkle and the Aggies to cover. They are scoring slightly more per game to this point compared to TCU (79.8 PPG against 79.2).

Considering USU is getting 3.5 points at FanDuel Sportsbook, I think the Aggies are in a favorable position to cover. The college basketball game projections at numberFire concur with this sentiment, yielding an estimated 73.71-73.37 winning score for Texas Christian.

TCU vs. Utah State Prop Bet

Ian Martinez 2+ Made Threes (+110)

As the Aggies' second-leading scorer on the year, I like Ian Martinez (13.1 PPG) to convert at least two three-point baskets in the upcoming bid against TCU. Given the +110 odds on Martinez in this market, I see value on the senior guard from Costa Rica.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Martinez has respectable size for a Division I guard. From there, the University of Maryland transfer has averaged 38.6% three-point shooting over the past two campaigns. That is something that should translate well against the Horned Frogs, who are allowing 32.8% shooting to opponents from behind the stripe.

When looking at Utah State's last five games, Martinez has thrice cashed this prop. In that span, he shows 24 total attempts (4.8 per game) from three-point land. Continuing the tournament setting, I see Martinez hitting at least two three-point field goals come Friday night.

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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.