NCAA Tournament Betting: FAU vs. Northwestern Picks, Prop Bets and Odds

Annie Nader
Annie Nader@ANader33
NCAA Tournament Betting: FAU vs. Northwestern 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.

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

NCAA Tournament Betting Picks

FAU vs. Northwestern Betting Odds

Date and Time: Friday, March 22nd at 12:15 p.m. ET

Spread: FAU -2.5 (-115)

Total: 141.5


  • FAU: -146
  • Northwestern: +122

FAU vs. Northwestern Statistical Breakdown

Advanced stats from KenPom, Bart Torvik and numberFire.

Florida Atlantic Owls

  • numberFire Ranking: 37th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 52nd
  • KenPom Ranking: 41st
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 109th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 16th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 138th

Northwestern Wildcats

  • numberFire Ranking: 50th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 31st
  • KenPom Ranking: 46th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 72nd
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 30th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 342nd

FAU vs. Northwestern Best Bet

FAU Moneyline (-146)

The 8 seed Florida Atlantic Owls will take on the 9 seed Northwestern Wildcats in the Round of 64, and the models are split.

Bart Torvik is bullish on the Wildcats. They have Northwestern ranked 31st and FAU ranked 52nd, handing the Wildcats a 60.0% win probability for this Friday.

But every other model is in favor of FAU. numberFire has FAU ranked well ahead of Northwestern and gives the Owls a 59.7% win likelihood. Ed Feng's model at The Power Rank and EvanMiya's model each give FAU a 54.3% and 57.6% win chance, respectively.

Ultimately, I believe the majority rules.

After making an unlikely run to the Final Four in last year's Big Dance, the Owls seem primed to compete in a tourney environment.

While Northwestern has them beat on the defensive end, FAU has one of the stronger offenses in this tournament. Led by Johnell Davis, the Owls come in with a top-25 effective field goal percentage and a top-40 offensive rebound percentage.

Two keys to this game favor FAU: pace and free throws.

Northwestern's tempo is crazy-slow. They rank 343rd in pace, making them the 20th-slowest team in college basketball. FAU plays at the 138th-fastest tempo and has an opportunity to run out ahead of Northwestern.

If the Owls can maintain their offensive efficiency while also out-running the Wildcats, I don't see a world where they are ever out of this game.

Free throws matter, especially in March. FAU lets up the 52nd-lowest free-throw rate, while Northwestern ranks 314th in defensive free-throw rate. This is a pretty big discrepancy and a game-changer for matchups that feature a close spread.

It's understandable why this 8 seed vs. 9 seed showdown has the models and the public somewhat split. I just see more advantages on FAU's side.

FAU vs. Northwestern Prop Bet

Johnell Davis Over 16.5 Points (-110)

When I checked out the market for this game, I was pleased to see we could get Johnell Davis' points prop at this number.

On the season, Davis is averaging 18.2 points per game. He has exceeded 16.5 points in 60.6% of contests. If we narrow that split down to only account for games where Davis played more than 28 minutes (he averages 32.1 minutes per game), he is clearing 16.5 points at a 67.9% rate.

Whichever way you slice it, the 52.4% probability via these -110 odds feels off.

Sure, Northwestern's ultra-slow pace isn't an awesome sign for targeting overs. But the market is still giving FAU a 72.5 implied team total in this one.

Davis leads FAU in minutes and points per game, and in turn, his shot volume leads the pack.

As mentioned, Northwestern lets up a ton of their points via free throws. Davis leads the Owls in free-throw makes and shoots the ball at a team-leading 85.8% clip from behind the stripe.

A close game could lend itself to bonus foul-shot attempts. Davis runs FAU's offense, so if intentional fouling comes into play, he would be the benefactor of those extra points. Look for him to shine in the Round of 64.

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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.