Handicapping the Hardwood: March Madness Episode 1

March Madness is here! Adam Burke and Kyle Hunter had some extra emotion in their voices on Monday’s recording of Handicapping the Hardwood, the first of two episodes for the first week of March Madness. March is a great time to be a fan of March Madness, but an even better time to make some green! On this show, Adam and Kyle discussed 12 games in a jampacked show full of great information.

Handicapping the Hardwood is designed to be an informational podcast that pays special attention to the betting aspect of college basketball. The whole point of the show is to make bettors aware of things that can help them make educated wagers. The oddsmakers are good and you need everything you can to get an edge. With schedule analysis, stats, trends, and coaching analysis, you can expect quality information from Handicapping the Hardwood, making it a must-listen every week for any serious college basketball bettor.

Opening remarks included a brief discussion on which teams got snubbed from the tournament. Kyle started with SMU, citing that it was a soft bubble, but that SMU was kept out because of a soft non-conference schedule. Adam chipped in Southern Miss, although he did acknowledge how they played only two games against Top 50 RPI teams.

Keep an eye out for Wednesday’s episode, which will cover the bracket as a whole, some tips on filling in the bracket, and some projections for the third round matchups on Saturday and Sunday.

The field of 64 became the field of 68 a couple of years ago and that means that there are four “play-in” first round games. The two most intriguing matchups for play-in games are NC State-Xavier and Iowa-Tennessee. Kyle had two very strong leans on these matchups and the only way you can know who he likes is to listen this show.

(11) Dayton v (6) Ohio State (11:15 mark)

Ohio State was listed as a six-point favorite at the time of recording and this is the first game of the round of 64. Kyle believes that this is a very interesting matchup. His line was lower at Ohio State -4.5. There is a sentiment out there that Ohio State has “ducked” Dayton as an in-state non-conference opponent. Will that have any effect on the game? Kyle has some thoughts on that.

Adam has an interesting trend for the round of 64 that may have impacted the line on this game. From 2009-11, single-digit underdogs went 36-12-2 ATS (69%). Since then, single-digit dogs are 18-24-2 (43%). Oddsmakers seem to have made an adjustment with second round games and that may have an impact on line.

Who do the guys like? Click ‘Play’ to find out.

(12) Harvard v (5) Cincinnati (16:20 mark)

Is this the 12/5 upset that we’ve come to expect in March Madness? The oddsmakers are giving Harvard a lot of credit, as they’re just a 2.5-point underdog against Cincinnati. Kyle believes that Harvard is the best #12 seed in the field. Harvard did have leads at Colorado and at UConn throughout the season and the Crimson upset New Mexico in the first round last year.

Adam has some very interesting statistics about Cincinnati’s offense away from home that may impact this game. The Bearcats offense has been rather inconsistent throughout the season, but will that be enough to give Harvard a chance against one of college basketball’s top defenses?

(10) BYU v (7) Oregon (22:10 mark)

Oregon gets a chance to make another Sweet 16 run beginning with their second round matchup against BYU in Milwaukee. Oregon was a five-point favorite at time of recording. Kyle brings up a huge injury to Kyle Collinsworth, the team’s top rebounder and second-leading scorer. That is an injury that will definitely impact this game, which projects to have a lot of points.

For Kyle, the Collinsworth injury was worth 3.5 points to the line. Does that mean it’s enough to fire on the Ducks?

Adam has some eye-opening information on BYU’s performance outside of Provo, Utah, leading to some questions about BYU’s chances both in this game and in the tournament overall. Will the Cougars be able to rally in time to stay within the number or move on?

(10) St. Joseph’s v (7) UConn (26:35 mark)

UConn is a four-point favorite at the time of recording, exactly where Kyle had this line set. Kyle believes that St. Joseph’s has a great shot in this game because of their success away from home throughout the season. UConn has some great experience at guard, making them a dangerous team in this game as well as throughout the tournament.

Adam poses an important question about St. Joe’s and it’s something that has affected teams in the past about the Hawks. Will it be enough to push UConn to a win and cover?

(10) Arizona State v (7) Texas (32:00 mark)

Neither team comes into the tournament feeling very good about themselves based on what happened in their conference tournament games. Texas is a 1.5-point favorite at the time of recording and neither team has shown a lot of inconsistency so far. Kyle notes that Arizona State is very dependent on Jahii Carson and that it’s always a concern to back a team that is so focused on one player in the postseason.

Both guys have a unanimous free pick for listeners in this game, both given Kyle’s number and the matchups in this game. There’s a great stat mixed in about Texas’s defense of late and some nuggets of information about some disturbing trends for one of the two teams in this game.

Prior to jumping to Friday night’s games, Adam and Kyle discuss the possibilities of a double-digit underdog pulling off an outright upset on Thursday. Are there any to keep an eye on?

(14) Mercer v (3) Duke (39:30 mark)

This game is being played in Raleigh, so the Blue Devils will have a decent home-court advantage in this game, which is part of why the line is 13 points. Mercer is looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow Atlantic Sun member Florida Gulf Coast. Kyle discusses the merits of Mercer’s non-conference schedule in his evaluation of the Bears. Do the Bears have a defensive edge against Duke?

Before moving on, both guys discuss the chances of Duke making a deep run in the tournament.

(9) Oklahoma St v (8) Gonzaga (45:25 mark)

Oklahoma State is listed as a small favorite with the immense amounts of talent that they possess, but coaching deficiencies and inconsistency have had a lot of impact on the Cowboys season. In the comparison between the two teams, both Adam and Kyle agree that Oklahoma State is more battle-tested and more talented than Gonzaga.

It looks like an easy play on the Cowboys, right? Adam and Kyle tell you why not.

(11) Providence v (6) North Carolina (49:55 mark)

Providence enters this tournament with a lot of momentum after guaranteeing a bid with a victory in the Big East tournament. Adam looks at North Carolina and wonders if they’ve hit the wall after having such a tremendous two-month run. Kyle believes that Providence is overrated right now because the Big East isn’t that great of a conference, leading to a discussion on how good Providence actually is.

This also seems to be a free play from the guys on the show, with a lot of concerns about Providence. Listen in to hear why the Tar Heels are a good play this Friday.

(12) Stephen F. Austin v (5) VCU (54:05 mark)

Early money has come in on VCU in this game, pushing this line up to six or 6.5 at most shops. The Lumberjacks haven’t lost since November 23, so this is a team that has been on quite a run. As Adam notes, Stephen F. Austin has the 325th-ranked strength of schedule out of the 351 Division I teams. That said, does Kyle see a possible upset in this game?

(9) Kansas State v (8) Kentucky (58:55 mark)

Kentucky has played much better of late, leading to a five-point spread in this matchup with the Wildcats favored. The more the guys discuss this game, the more it looks like another free pick for the listeners. There are a few keys to this game that Kyle and Adam think will determine both the outright winner and the team that will cover in this matchup.

Click ‘Play’ to grab another free pick from this week’s show!

Before wrapping up the show, Adam asks Kyle again about double-digit underdogs on Friday having a crack at an upset. You’ll want to know if there will be a Cinderella story advancing to Sunday’s third round games.

Tune in again on Wednesday when Adam and Kyle give their overall thoughts on the bracket, look at some futures wagers, and project some of this weekend’s third round matchups.

Download this week’s podcast or listen to it on the embedded player in this article and share it with your friends, family, and fellow bettors so that everybody can bang the book this week in college hoops!

Adam Burke

Adam Burke

Adam Burke is a freelance writer and amateur handicapper with a knack for finding value through matchup analysis and a deep understanding of the sports betting market. His main area of expertise is baseball, with a background in sabermetrics and advanced statistics. He is the host of The Gridiron Gambling Report and our college football and college basketball BangTheBook.com podcasts on the BlogTalkRadio Network.

Related Posts