We’re only two days in, and the madness of March has already been historic.
Every seed except No. 12 and 14 won a first-round game, making it the most diverse second round in terms of talent in NCAA Tournament history.
Your bracket is almost certainly busted, but there’s still more tournament ahead. The best part about betting on the tournament is there’s always a chance to turn things around.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the best bets for Round 2.
All bets are current as of 10 p.m. ET on Friday, March 17, and are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook except where otherwise referenced.
March Madness Round 2 Best Bets
It used to be that underdogs would run out of gas in the second round, but that is not the case anymore. A double-digit seed has advanced past the second round in 14 consecutive tournaments, which means you should tread lightly when laying points.
Before reading about Pat’s CBB Round 2 Best Bets, track our top March Madness odds for every game:
As always, considering Ken Pomeroy’s rankings are a good way to help you assess March Madness odds. Only four of KenPom’s top-25 teams fell in the first round, and two played in the Memphis vs Florida Atlantic 8 vs 9 game in the East.
Princeton vs Missouri: Under 149.5 Points (-110) • BetMGM Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
The one guarantee: A team nicknamed Tigers will advance to the Sweet 16. My gut says Missouri will end Princeton’s Cinderella run, but I also believed Murray State would shut down the St. Peter’s run last season, and that didn’t happen.
This may not be your father’s Princeton basketball team, but it looked the part by dictating pace in its stunning 59-55 win over Arizona on Thursday. Princeton likely will need to control the tempo again to stay competitive against Missouri and advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
Despite the fact that Mizzou is averaging almost 80 points per game, there’s been 150 points or less in six of its past nine games, and Princeton’s past five games have featured fewer than 150. Princeton is allowing only about 68 points per game and has given up 80-plus in just six of its 30 games.
If Princeton can hold Mizzou below 80, the Under is a lock.
Auburn +5.5 (-110) vs Houston • DraftKings Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
Another potential Sweet 16 team with the nickname Tigers. Auburn has a real opportunity to pull off the upset against the second-ranked, Midwest Region No. 1-seeded Cougars based on the devastating injury to Houston guard and first-team All-American Marcus Sasser.
But also, the game will be held just 110 miles northwest from the Auburn campus.
Read more NCAA Tournament Round 2 betting tips:
- March Madness Round 2 Props
- March Madness Round 2 Parlays
Even if the Tigers fall short, they should be able to hang tough with the Cougars. Auburn is 0-3 against top-five teams this season, but two of its three losses were by five points or fewer, including its 95-90 OT loss to Alabama on March 1.
Houston has struggled in each of its two games since Sasser injured his groin in the AAC semifinals against Cincinnati, falling to Memphis in the conference final then pulling away late against pesky upstart 16-seed Northern Kentucky, 63-52. The Norse were ranked No. 157 in KenPom’s rankings, and the Tigers are No. 26, making Auburn a bona fide threat.
Free throws always make spread betting dicey in the tournament, and the Over is an intriguing play given each team’s penchant for scoring. But if this game is close, the crowd is almost certain to become a positive factor for Auburn due to both the geography and the fact almost everyone roots against the top seed when it is on the ropes.
Houston may survive, but it isn’t likely to cover.
Fairleigh Dickinson +13.5 vs Florida Atlantic (-115) • BetMGM Sportsbook
Wager: 1 Unit
More like Fearless Dickinson University, amirite? The Knights are 2-0 in the tournament, playing the role of David — as the shortest team in the nation — while slaying tournament Goliath in top-seeded Purdue.
FDU looks every bit as dangerous as No. 15 St. Peter’s was during the 2022 tournament, and FAU looks an awful lot like the seventh-seeded Murray State squad the Peacocks took down a year ago. The Owls are 32-3, ranked in the top 25 with a top-35 offense and top-45 defense, and the Racers were 31-3 with a top-20 offense and top-30 defense.
History may not repeat itself — though the Peacocks, like the Knights, did end Purdue’s season too. The point is, take FDU lightly at your own risk, especially since it has shown a penchant for playing close games. The Knights haven’t lost by more than 11 points since their 77-48 loss to Richmond on Dec. 13, a span of 23 games, and only four of their 15 losses came by 14-plus points.
FDU was on the ropes trailing by six with less than 12 minutes to go and could’ve faded into another in a long line of No. 16 seeds that hung tough but were done in a too-powerful No. 1. Yet, the Knights pressed, contested every shot and grabbed almost rebound.
That’s not to say the Owls won’t win. They probably will. But covering 14 against a team that looks as ready for a street fight as FDU is is a tall task, and I wouldn’t do it.