NCAA Tournament Betting: James Madison vs. Wisconsin Picks, Prop Bets and Odds

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath
NCAA Tournament Betting: James Madison vs. Wisconsin 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 James Madison Dukes played to an NCAA-best 31-3 record during the regular season, kicking things off win a season-opening upset victory over the Michigan State Spartans. However, they didn't play much strong competition afterward, calling into question whether they have what it takes to make an NCAA Tournament push.

Did they catch the Spartans off guard, or do they have a real shot to pull off another upset against a Wisconsin Badgers team that competed against strong teams all year?

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

NCAA Tournament Betting Picks

James Madison vs. Wisconsin Betting Odds

Date and Time: Friday March 21st, 9:40 p.m. ET

Spread: Wisconsin -5.5 (-105)

Total: 145.5


  • James Madison: +176
  • Wisconsin: -215

James Madison vs. Wisconsin Statistical Breakdown

Advanced stats from KenPom, Bart Torvik and numberFire.

James Madison

  • numberFire Ranking: 59th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 69th
  • KenPom Ranking: 58th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 79th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 55th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 71st


  • numberFire Ranking: 20th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 19th
  • KenPom Ranking: 17th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 49th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 12th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 307th

James Madison vs. Wisconsin Best Bet

James Madison +5.5 (-115)

The Dukes will be catching a Badgers team that really struggled in February and March. Up until their run to the finals of the Big Ten Conference Tournament, Wisconsin had logged a 3-8 record after January.

However, while James Madison coasted to a 31-3 record by playing KenPom's 276th-ranked strength of schedule, Wisconsin battled to their 22-13 against some of the best in the game. According to those same strength of schedule metrics, the Badgers played literally the hardest schedule of any team that qualified for the big dance.

Most schedule-adjusted metrics favor the Badgers in this one due to that brutal schedule, but it still looks like a match that could come down to the final buzzer. numberFire's projections give Wisconsin a 53.3% win probability with a projected final score of just 72.32-71.48 -- less than a one-point difference.

And while these two teams played vastly different levels of competition overall, they did share some opponents during the year. The Dukes pulled off the upset over the Spartans in the opening game of the year, pulling ahead by three at the final buzzer of overtime. Wisconsin took down the Spartans twice during their regular season by much more comfortable 15- and 13-point margins.

Likewise, both teams put the hurt on the Arkansas State Red Wolves. Wisconsin dispatched them with ease in their season opener, notching 106 points in a 30-point victory. The Dukes also won by a strong 20-point margin but in the finals of the Sun Belt Conference Championship.

That the Badgers played the Dukes' conference championship foes in their season-opener helps illustrate the gap in competition these teams faced during the year. But with both teams finding similar results against their shared foes, they may be more evenly matched than their schedule-adjusted rankings would apply.

With such close margins, that makes me want to take James Madison to cover the 5.5-point spread. They spent the season building their confidence and compiling the best record in college ball. The Badgers appeared to slow down in February after a relatively hot start, putting the Dukes in position to catch them on the back foot. Even if James Madison can't pull off the full upset, I like their odds of keeping this one close.

James Madison vs. Wisconsin Prop Bet

Terrence Edwards Over 15.5 Points (-118)

If the Dukes really can go toe-to-toe with the Badgers on Friday, they'll need solid production from top scorer Terrence Edwards. The fourth-year guard averaged 17.4 points per game this season, attempting 13.3 field goals a game.

With his 6'6" frame, Edwards drives to the bucket pretty often. He averaged 9.4 two-pointers per game this season compared to just 3.8 attempts per game from beyond the arc. That should help him find success against a Badgers defense that encouraged their opponents to do just that during the season.

Just 34.4% of the Badgers' shots this year came from the three-point range, which ranked 283rd-most in the NCAA. While they found success in preventing threes, they still allowed their opponents to post an overall 55.5 True Shooting Percentage (54th-highest). With how the Badgers protect the arc, expect to see Edwards driving to the hoop frequently on Friday.

Steven Crowl Over 6.5 Rebounds (-114)

Badgers seven-footer Steven Crowl has a pretty distinct height advantage over James Madison heading into Friday's game. Barring any unexpected growth spurts, the Dukes' starting five tops out at 6'9". Crowl averaged 7.1 boards per game during the regular season, right in line with his 6.5-rebound line here.

Given the height advantage and the slight edge the Badgers might have overall, I like Crowl's chances of hitting the over on rebounds here. And if you're particularly optimistic about his chances -- or think the Badgers dispatch the Dukes with ease -- you can even check out his +150 odds to record 8+ rebounds.

Crowl recorded 24 rebounds across two games against a Rutgers team whose defining characteristic was driving to the hoop on offense. James Madison plays a similar style of ball, averaging 39.1 two-point attempts per game (84th-most). Crowl could have a big night if the Dukes' shots don't fall in at their usual rates.

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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.