NCAAB

NCAA Tournament Betting: Samford vs. Kansas Picks, Prop Bets and Odds

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath
NCAA Tournament Betting: Samford vs. Kansas 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?

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The Samford Bulldogs dominated the Southern Conference on their way to the NCAA Tournament this year, finishing regular season play with a 29-5 overall record. But can their unique style of play translate against a 4 seed Kansas Jayhawks team with their eyes on the ultimate prize?

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

NCAA Tournament Betting Picks

Samford vs. Kansas Betting Odds

Date and Time: Thursday March 21st, 9:55 p.m. ET

Spread: Kansas -7.5 (-102)

Total: 152.5

Moneyline:

  • Samford: +240
  • Kansas: -300

Samford vs. Kansas Statistical Breakdown

Advanced stats from KenPom, Bart Torvik and numberFire.

Samford

  • numberFire Ranking: 78th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 91st
  • KenPom Ranking: 82nd
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 116th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 70th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 14th

Kansas

  • numberFire Ranking: 22nd
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 16th
  • KenPom Ranking: 23rd
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 10th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 67th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 93rd

Samford vs. Kansas Best Bet

Samford +240

Kansas played like the better team throughout the 2023-24 season, but Samford may be poised for an upset here.

For starters, Kansas will be without star guard Kevin McCullar Jr., who will miss the entire tournament with a knee injury. McCullar Jr. has been the engine of Kansas' offense, averaging 18.3 points per game, the most in the Big 12.

Likewise, key center Hunter Dickinson -- whose 18.0 points per game trailed only McCullar Jr.'s 18.3 in the conference -- is also dealing with an injury. Dickinson missed the team's previous game with a dislocated shoulder. While he is expected to suit up, it's fair to question if he'll be fully healthy for the first round of the big dance.

Those injuries have contributed to Kansas' cold streak, which has seen them lose four of their last five games. They seem like a team in need of a slow-paced, get-right game -- but that's not the kind of game Samford plays.

Samford's unique brand of basketball yielded strong results for the Bulldogs this season. NCAA-wide, they clocked the second-fastest overall pace and the fifth-fastest adjusted tempo, according to KenPom's metrics. They played worse competition than many other NCAA Tournament qualifiers, but their 86 points per game still ranked fifth-best out of 362 teams. They know how to score points.

Samford plays full-court defense, relying on constant pressure to create turnovers. Their defense generated steals at a 13.5% rate, the ninth-best mark in the NCAA. They tap deep into their bench each night to keep their players fresh, too. No Bulldogs averaged more than 25.8 minutes per night this year, while 10 different players averaged at least 10 minutes a game.

By comparison, Kansas relied on just four players to play over 30 minutes per game during their season. With McCullar Jr. sidelined and Dickinson banged up, the hustling Bulldogs could really keep Kansas off their usually-stellar game. With their knack for creating turnovers on defense, they seem to be in a great spot to pick on a team that just lost its top ball handler for the season.

Samford is an underdog here but a feisty one whose strengths could just match up well enough against their foes' weaknesses to grab a first round win.

Samford vs. Kansas Prop Bets

Johnny Furphy Over 11.5 Points (-118)

Kansas freshman Johnny Furphy looked like a breakout when he joined the Jayhawks' starting lineup partway through the season, but has gone ice cold during the team's recent doldrums. After averaging over 12 points per game in January and February, he's mustered up just 7 points per game over their last five.

His scoring drought came at an uncomfortable time for Kansas, but he should be able to get right against the Bulldogs on Thursday. This game's 152.5-point total is the fifth-highest among Thursday's first round contests. The Bulldogs created high-scoring environments all year, and with both teams' above-average rates of play, it should be a good bounce-back spot for the freshman.

Achor Achor Over 14.5 Points (-125)

Even with Samford's aggressive use of bench players, Achor Achor has seen heavy play in their offense this year. Like most of the Bulldogs' starters, he has averaged only 22.4 minutes per night, but when he has been on the court, he has seen a strong 29.3 usage percentage.

It's been a rewarding role for the 6'9" forward, and even more so of late. Achor has averaged a whopping 21.5 points per game over his last five contests. That's quite a few more than his 14.5-point line here.

It's clear there's some concern about the Bulldogs stepping up to play tougher competition than they handled for most of the year. That's perfectly reasonable, but as I outlined earlier, I still like Samford's chances of putting up points against the Jayhawks. And if they do, a lot of those points should come from Achor's steady hand.


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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.