NCAA West Free Picks - Marquette Faces Upset-Minded Murray State

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D.S. Williamson

March 19th, 2019

March Madness is here!

In the West Region, the Gonzaga Bulldogs secured a 1-seed even though they lost their conference tournament to St. Mary’s. The Zags await the winner of Farleigh Dickinson-Prairie View A&M. We attack this region lightning style with NCAA West free picks, while singling out the Nevada-Florida in a more detailed breakdown!

[Thursday, March 21 - Odds subject to change.]

#4 Florida State Seminoles -10.5 vs #13 Vermont Grizzlies (2:00pm ET)

ACC Tournament runner-up Florida State hopes to show they have what it takes for a Sweet 16 berth. The Seminoles are 8-2-2 ATS in their last 12 neutral site games. They’re also an excellent 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 NCAA Tournament games. Vermont is 13-27-2 ATS in their last 42 games versus a team with a winning straight up record. FSU wins and covers in a game you shouldn't overthink at all. This team is peaking at the perfect time.

NCAA West Free Picks: Florida State -10.5

#5 Marquette Golden Eagles -4.5 vs #12 Murray State Racers (4:30pm ET)

Big East player of the year Markus Howard hopes to rebound from a lackluster performance in the Big East Tournament. Howard can light it up from three. Unfortunately, Marquette faces a team that’s won 11 in a row and boasts the nation’s top assist player in Ja Morant. The highly coveted Morant averages 24.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 10 assists per. Here’s your #12 over #5 straight up play for the Round of 64. This is going to be an epic showdown between Howard and Morant, but I love Murray State at this moneyline value.

NCAA West Free Picks: Murray State +160

#1 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs #16 Farleigh Dickinson/#16 Prairie View A&M (7:27pm ET)

Although FDU and Prairie View haven’t yet played, there’s no question that whomever wins their battle on Tuesday will find it impossible to keep it close against Gonzaga. St. Mary’s had to have woken up a sleeping giant. The Zags are good enough to win the NCAA Tournament. Mark Few will allow his players to stretch their legs, meaning they beat either FDU or Prairie View by 30 to 40 points. The oddsmakers literally can't put this line high enough, and the Zags will be out to prove that the WCC Tournament slip-up was an anomaly. Unfortunately, that means that one of the play-in teams will have to be a punching bag.

NCAA West Free Picks: Gonzaga ATS

#2 Michigan Wolverines -16 vs #15 Montana Grizzlies (9:20pm ET)

How much did the Big Ten Tournament take out of the Michigan Wolverines? Michigan blew a late lead to rival Michigan State in the championship game. Although Michigan might be somewhat fatigued, as well as disappointed, the Wolverines are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 games following a straight up loss while Montana is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.

NCAA West Free Picks: Michigan -16

#8 Syracuse Orange -2 vs #9 Baylor Bears (9:57pm ET)

First, definitely consider playing under the 132 total. Neither team likes to force the pace. Who to put in the Under/ATS parlay? Top Orange scorer Tyus Battle is listed as probable after not playing since March 9. Battle averages 17.2 points per game while Baylor’s top scorer only averages 10.1 points per. You want scoring balance, but it’s also nice to know who to give the ball to when you need a bucket. The Orange should cover, while using their stiff zone defense to confound the Bears against a tight line.

NCAA West Free Picks: Syracuse -2

[Friday, March 22]

#3 TTU Red Raiders -14.0 vs #14 Northern Kentucky Norse (1:30pm ET)

Texas Tech looked lethargic in the 74-79 loss to West Virginia in the Big 12 Tournament. Northern Kentucky’s no slouch, averaging 79.1 points per game. The Norse shoot 48.1% from the field and 36.6% from three. Who knows which Red Raiders team will show up because Texas Tech is 3-14-1 ATS in their last 18 games following a straight up loss. We know Northern Kentucky shows up to play because they’re 9-2 ATS in their last 11 neutral site games. Backing the Norse to cover while Texas Tech should win straight up. Simply feels like too many points.

NCAA West Free Picks: Northern Kentucky +14.0

#11 St. John’s/#11 Arizona State vs #6 Buffalo Bulls (4:00pm ET)

Neither St. John’s nor ASU will win or cover against the Buffalo Bulls. The Bulls dominated the MAC while also beating West Virginia and Syracuse on their way to a 31-3 SU record. Buffalo’s only 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games, but they won’t face a -10 or higher spread versus St. John’s or ASU. Heck, the Bulls might go off the dog in this. Either way, Buffalo wins and covers. Arizona State might give them a bit of a run, but the Bulls are one of the best under-the-radar sides out there.

NCAA West Free Picks: Buffalo ATS