Today's Top Picks: Don't Fall for VCU-UCF expectations, the Buzz in Hokies-Billikens and an NBA total to exploit
Also, watch SportsLine on CBS Sports HQ live at 6 p.m. ET for all today's best bets
We're in the midst of the second day of the NCAA Tournament, and I hope everything's been going your way, and your bracket remains pristine. I'm here to make sure it stays that way.
The first day brought us Ja Morant balling out and Wofford's Fletcher Magee dropping bombs from deep to set the NCAA's new record for threes made in a career. I don't know what Day 2 will bring, but I'm hoping it brings us all some winners. After all, whether we play or not, we're all just looking for our one shining moment.
Here are my three best picks for Friday. All odds are via Westgate.
NCAA Tournament Round 1 at Columbia, SC (9:40 p.m. ET, CBS)
Everybody I talk to seems to be obsessed by UCF's Tacko Fall in this matchup, and I get it. He's very tall. Seriously, he's 7-foot-6 and weighs 310 pounds. But while Fall is tall, he's not the dominant force you'd expect him to be, or at least, many seem to think he is. That's thrown this line off. VCU received a better seed than UCF for a reason, and I like the Rams to win this game outright.
According to KenPom ratings, the Rams have the seventh-best defense in the country, and things like that come in handy during March. While VCU's defensive approach does sometimes lead to it fouling a lot, I'm not nearly as worried about that against a UCF team that's only shooting 64.5 percent from the free throw line this season.
The favorites kick things off on Friday night when Duke squares off with North Dakota State at 7:10 p.m ET. The Blue Devlis face a massive 27-point spread, but will they cover? The SportsLine Projection Model has found a strong ATS play that's cashing in 56 percent of simulations, so head on over and check it out.
2. No. 4 Virginia Tech vs. No. 13 Saint Louis: Virginia Tech -10.5
NCAA Tournament Round 1 at San Jose, Calif. (9:57 p.m. ET, truTV)
There's plenty of buzz about Buzz Williams leaving Virginia Tech for Texas A&M after the season ends, but as a long-time admirer of Buzz and his teams, I know that isn't affecting his squad heading into the tournament. And his team is a lot better than the Saint Louis squad it will be facing to close out Friday night's action. Saint Louis' defense is good, but Tech's is better, and the offenses don't even seem to be playing the same sport most of the time. The Billikens offense is downright painful to watch, and the best way to sum it all up is to tell you that they only make 59.8 percent of their free throws. The Hokies will roll in this one.
The SportsLine Projection Model also loves one side of the North Carolina-Iona spread, which it says cashes in 56 percent of simulations. But even better is the computer's over/under pick, which hits in 68 percent of sims. Get the inside edge before you make your pick!
3. Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks: Under 217.5
I have one NBA play for you just in case you're getting burned out by all this college basketball. These are two of the better defensive teams in the league, as Milwaukee enters the contest leading the NBA in defensive efficiency, while Miami ranks seventh. Maybe that's why the under has done so well when they meet. It's 3-0 in their first three meetings of this season, and in those three games, these two have combined for an average of 200.7 points per game, with none of them featuring more than 211.
Before locking in your NBA DFS lineups for any tournaments, cash games, or 50-50s on FanDuel, DraftKings or Yahoo, check out what Mike McClure has to say. McClure is rolling through the 2018-19 NBA season, producing multiple lineups that have led to huge returns for followers, including as much as 40x on FanDuel and 84x on DraftKings. You can find his lineups only at SportsLine.
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