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Aaron Torres NCAA Tournament Opening Round Betting Card - Best Bets for Thursday and Friday (Presented by BetUS Sportsbook)

It's Wednesday, and you know what that means: With the NCAA Tournament just a day away, it's time to make our official NCAA Tournament College Hoops Best bets!!!!!

That's right with the greatest two-day stretch in sports upon us, let me tell you, I've got some wagers to make - Woahhhhhhh buddy do we have some wagers to make.

First off, if you missed my full bracket breakdown, make sure to click here - or download the Aaron Torres Podcast.

Also, if you have yet to sign up for the Aaron Torres Pod Bracket Challenge - THERE IS STILL TIME, UNTIL NOON ET THURSDAY! We're giving $1,000 in cash prizes. So make sure to sign up.

Finally, now let's get to the picks.

As always, Best Bets are presented by BetUS Sportsbook - where you get a 125 percent bonus match on your first THREE DEPOSITS, when you click this link. Take advantage.

Now, to the picks:

No. 14. Morehead State vs. No. 3 Illinois (UNDER 147.5) - Thursday, 3:10 p.m. ET, East Regional (Omaha, NE)

I know starting the tournament with an UNDER bet isn't sexy - but it's the right side here.

While Illinois is the rightful favorite, there are few teams that are better at dictating their style of play on you than Morehead. They rank 326th in tempo, and incredibly, are Top 10 nationally in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense and three-point defense.

It's worth noting that most of their losses came early in the season, when injuries ravaged their roster.

Expect Illinois to win this game. But it will be at the slow, ugly pace that Morehead State makes them play at.

No. 11 Oregon (ML) vs. No. 6 South Carolina - Thursday, 4 p.m. ET, Midwest Regional (Pittsburgh, PA)

The fact that the No. 11 seed Ducks are just a one-point underdog tells you how evenly these teams are matched, and bluntly, this just feels like a bad matchup for South Carolina.

The Gamecocks are elite defensively, but the one thing they don't have is overwhelming size, which is a shame, because Oregon fifth-year senior center N'Faly Dante is playing the best basketball of his career down the stretch.

In Dante's final five games, here is what he did:

  • 20 points, 12 rebounds (Colorado)

  • 19 points, 12 rebounds (Utah)

  • 22 points and 6 rebounds (UCLA- Pac-12 quarters)

  • 14 and 10 (Arizona - Pac-12 semifinals)

  • 25 and 9 (Colorado - Pac-12 title game)

South Carolina has no answer for that, and they won't on Thursday.

Ducks fly together! And Ducks cover this one!

No. 13 Samford (+7 and ML) vs. No. 4 Kansas - Thursday, 9:55 p.m. ET, Midwest Regional (Omaha, NE)

My final bet Thursday is something I'm been screaming from the mountaintops since literally, the second the bracket came out on Sunday: Samford is a bad matchup for Kansas.

The Bulldogs play fast, average over 86 points per game, shoot a ton of threes and also force a ton of turnovers. Their 16.6 turnovers forced are sixth most in college basketball, and bad news for a Kansas team that will be without star wing Kevin McCullar.

Samford covers. Samford will pull off the straight up upset as well.


No. 12 New Mexico (-2) vs. No. 5 Clemson - Friday, 3:10 p.m. ET, West Regional (Memphis, TN)

Another game that I had circled the moment the bracket came out was this one, and apparently the oddsmakers at BetUS agree - with New Mexico coming in as a two-point favorite. Despite being the No. 12 seed.

Clemson's PJ Hall will be the best player on the floor, but will be neutralized by New Mexico bigs Nelly Junior Joseph and JT Toppin, and the Lobos might have the three best guards in this game in Donovan Dent, Jaelen House and Jamal Mashburn Jr.

Add in the fact that New Mexico will be motivated, after finding out they would've been left out of the field had they not won the Mountain West, and they roll to a win here.

No. 13 Vermont (+12) vs. No. 4 Duke - Friday, 7:10 ET, South Regional (Brooklyn, NY)

While Kyle Filipowski, his tripping and whining get all the attention at Duke, here's the truth: Their frontcourt is actually pretty thin, and they rely heavily on the three-point ball. They shot over 700 on the season, hitting at a 37.7 percent clip.

The problem is, Vermont is one of the best three-point shooting defenses they'll face all year, holding opponents 31.4 percent on the season.

I've said for two weeks I think Duke is overrated, and think it comes out here. Vermont covers, with a chance to win outright (outright odds are +550)

No. 12 James Madison (+5.5 and OVER 145) vs. No. 5 Wisconsin - Friday, 9:40 p.m. ET, South Regional (Brooklyn, NY)

Let's stay in Brookly, where I think the nightcap will be a thriller. That's because these ain't your father or older brother's Wisconsin Badgers. With the addition of AJ Storr this season, they can get up and down and put the ball in the basket.

The problem is, James Madison can put the ball in the basket as well, averaging 84 points per game.

The Dukes already beat one Big Ten team this year, and it wouldn't shock me if they get another Friday night. I'll take the points and the over here!

No. 9 TCU vs. No. 8 Utah State (UNDER 151) - Friday, 9:55 p.m. ET, Midwest Regional (Indianapolis)

We started with an UNDER, so let's win with an under. And let me say this, I know the tempo stats say that TCU plays fast, but I have a hard time believing both teams will break 75 points, which is what both teams would need to track to do, for the over to hit.

My guess is we're looking at the losing team ending up in the high 60's and an easy under hit.

Follow Aaron on Twitter - @Aaron_Torres

Best Bets are presented by BetUS Sportsbook - where you get a 125 percent bonus match on your first THREE DEPOSITS, when you click this link. Take advantage.


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