Congratulations everyone, we made it. After weeks of semi-downtime since football ended, we have the three biggest weeks on the sports calendar: March Madness.
The selection committee picked their final 68 to vie for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, starting Tuesday night. Five teams with local ties made the Big Dance and for the first time, you can bet on them legally!
Here are some prices and spreads from the major books in New Jersey:
Big 5 battles on
Two teams from Philadelphia’s legendary cohort earned their spots in the postseason. Villanova will have a chance to defend its crown as a No. 6 seed in the South, while Temple will try to advance from the First Four.
The Owls will play the first game Tuesday night against Belmont. They’re underdogs against the Bruins.
Most books in NJ have the line at Belmont -3, with DraftKings Sportsbook and PlaySugarHouse offering the half-point extra value to Temple. The total on the game is 155.5 at most places, with FanDuel Sportsbook and William Hill giving the half-point extra value to the over. The winner of this First Four game will play six seed Maryland on Thursday afternoon in a packed East Region.
Villanova tips off with St. Mary’s Thursday evening in Hartford. The Cats are a consensus six-point favorite over the Gaels. The total is 130.5, with DraftKings and PlaySugarHouse offering the half-point extra value on the over.
Back in the New York groove
Five teams with NYC ties/interests have made the field of 68 this year. Some have better chances than others to advance.
St. John’s University kicks things off Wednesday night with their First Four match-up against Arizona State. The Red Storm are consensus one-point underdogs to the Sun Devils.
All the books in NJ also agree on the 152.5 total. The winner of this game gets six-seed Buffalo in the West Region Friday afternoon.
The main draw gets started Thursday afternoon as Yale takes on LSU in Jacksonville. Despite being a 14-seed, the Bulldogs are just 7.5 point underdogs to the Tigers. The books are expecting scoring, setting the total at 160.5.
Thursday night sees Syracuse take on Baylor in the West’s 8/9 matchup. The Orange enter two-point favorites against the Bears. Many books have the total at 133, with DraftKings and PlaySugarHouse offering a half-point extra value on the over. PSH even has a price on the 132 total.
Friday’s afternoon slate includes 15-seed Colgate taking on Tennessee in Columbus. The Vols have been installed a 17.5 point favorite with a 150-point total. DraftKings and PlaySugarHouse are offering a full point extra value to the under.
Friday night will see Iona play top-seeded UNC, also in Columbus. The Tar Heels are 24.5-point favorites at most outlets, the largest spread of the first-round action so far. DraftKings and PlaySugarHouse offer a half-point extra value to the favorites.
There’s not as much consensus with the total, as a majority of books have picked 166 as their number. DraftKings gives the under a full point extra value, while William Hill and PlayMGM offers just a half-point.
No Jersey teams on boards
This will be the first time we see major postseason action that includes NJ-based teams. That means no action on Fairleigh Dickinson Tuesday night or Seton Hall on Thursday. Should those teams advance, those games won’t be available either at New Jersey outlets.
For players interested in betting those games, the best option appears to be visiting a location in Pennsylvania. A few in the Philadelphia market are close to the NJ bridges.
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