NCAAB First Four Free Picks - Belmont Bruins Out to Prove They Belong

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TwinSpires Staff

March 18th, 2019

The NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament First Four takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio.

Most eyes will be on Temple-Belmont and Arizona State-St. John’s, but Prairie View A&M-Farleigh Dickinson and North Carolina Central-North Dakota State will also be competitive games. Check out odds and analysis in my NCAAB First Four Free Picks.

[Tuesday, March 19]

#16 Prairie View A&M Panthers vs Farleigh Dickinson Knights (6:40pm ET)

Most NCAA Tournament games are difficult to handicap and Panthers-Knights is no exception. Prairie View A&M is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS win, and 12-4 ATS in their last 16 neutral site games.

Although those are great ATS trends, the Panthers are only 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 versus a team with a winning percentage above .600. FDU doesn’t always have success covering the spread in neutral site games, but they have been on fire on the offensive end, scoring 81 points or more in 5-of-6 and 92 points or more in 3-of-6. Not only that, the Knights are 7-1 ATS in their last 8.

NCAAB First Four Free Picks: Farleigh Dickinson ATS

#11 Temple Owls vs #11 Belmont Bruins -3.0  (9:10pm ET)

The word’s out on Ohio Valley Regular Season Champion Belmont. The Bruins are favored to beat AAC team Temple. That makes sense because Belmont beat UCLA, hung with Purdue, and lost to only Jacksonville State and Murray State in their conference.

Belmont averages 87.4 points from 49.9% shooting from the field and 37.4% shooting from 3 They’re also a great defensive team, only allowing 73.9 points per off 42.5% from the field and 34.3% from three.

Temple’s style doesn’t lead to success versus a team like the Bruins. Not only that, the Owls are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.

NCAAB First Four Free Picks: Belmont -3.0

[Wednesday, March 20]

#16 NC Central Eagles vs #16 North Dakota State Bison -5 (6:40pm ET)

On paper, these two look evenly matched, which means we must check out the trends to find who has the best chance to cover. North Dakota State is 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 following a straight up win, but the Bison are also 10-26-1 ATS in their last 37 non-conference games. North Carolina Central is 7-1-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall and 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 neutral site games. Taking the points on the Eagles makes the most sense.

NCAAB First Four Free Picks: North Carolina Central +5

#11 St. John’s Red Storm vs #11 Arizona State Sun Devils -1 (9:10pm ET)

If we base our pick on visuals and trends, ASU should take this. The Sun Devils went 4-1 SU in their last 5 with the only loss happening against Pac 12 Tournament Champion Oregon in overtime. ASU is also 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up loss, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS loss, and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Wednesday games.

While the trends favor the Sun Devils, St. John’s has an advantage that ASU doesn’t. St. John's stud Shamorie Pounds is the difference maker in this matchup. Pounds will be the best player on the court in this matchup. He averages 19.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 5.2 assists.

St. John’s isn’t playing well overall, but Pounds could take over, and the Red Storm are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 following an ATS loss. Back the Red Storm to knock out Arizona State.

NCAAB First Four Free Picks: St. John’s +1  

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