Playin Game Pick: North Carolina State vs. Xavier

NCAA Tournament: Midwest Region

North Carolina State Wolf Pack vs. Xavier Musketeers

Date/Time March 18, 9:10 p.m. EST

TV: truTV

College Basketball Betting Odds from Bovada

Getting into the NCAA Tournament is half the battle for some of the teams that are on the bubble. Once they get into the March Madness anything can happen and teams that get to the first-round, what used to be considered the play in games, have nothing to lose. For the North Carolina State Wolf Pack and the Xavier Musketeers, this game means everything. The winner of this game will go on to play the St. Louis Billikens who are currently the No.5 seed in the difficult Midwest bracket.

Game Overview:

This game features two teams that are very close when it comes to talent. In fact the odds makers at the top rated sportsbook opened the line at North Carolina St. (+2.5) point underdogs. The only reason that the Musketeers may be listed as small favorites is because of the location of this first game. The 12th-seeded Musketeers face 12th-seeded North Carolina State in a First Four game at in Dayton which is basically a home game for Xavier. The winner of this game will then fly to Orlando to take on St. Louis, basically eliminating any and all home court advantage for either team.

Xavier has the talent, but they are a little light on experience. Dee Davis and Justin Martin are the only current Musketeers who played on Xavier’s most recent NCAA tournament team, which finished in the Sweet 16 in 2012.

The latest college basketball betting trends reveal that both of these teams enter the tournament on a hot streak based on their numbers against the spread (ATS). The Musketeers are 18-6-2 ATS in their last 26 NCAA Tournament games, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a loss against the spread and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Tuesday games. They do have one area that they struggle in however as they are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games when playing against a team with a winning percentage above .600. The Wolfpack are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games when playing against a team with a winning percentage above .600, 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games when they take to the court against a team with a winning straight up record and 21-7 ATS in their last 28 neutral site games.

Entering the tournament with positive momentum is the way to advance. After a decent run in the ACC Tournament to get them a bid in the big dance, the Wolf Pack are the hottest team and they will carry that momentum over to the First Four playoff game.

Free Pick: North Carolina State Wolf Pack

Cole Ryan

Cole Ryan

Cole started off as a part time handicapper and a full time computer programmer. After developing a computer program that consistently provided winners in NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports Cole went into full time handicapping. The computer program and his knack for winners made him a rising star in the handicapping world. His complex computer program based on algorithms and analytical calculations have led to a 60% ATS rate.