Top 2022 March Madness First Round Betting Picks

The NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament R-64 first round happens on Thursday and Friday. Top contests include Vermont against Arkansas and Texas versus Virginia Tech. See below for March Madness odds, analysis, and free picks for six of the best 2022 March Madness games.

Top Betting Picks for the First Round of the 2022 March Madness Tournament

12. New Mexico State Aggies vs. 5. UConn Huskies

  • When: Thursday, March 17th, 2022. 5:50pm ET
  • Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, NY
  • March Madness Betting Odds: UConn -6

Most don’t feel New Mexico State has a shot. But before dumping on Connecticut, it’s important to realize that the Aggies allow 63.2 points per game and less than 40% shooting from the field. Not only that, but this is a 12-seed versus a 5-seed matchup. Connecticut is a decent basketball team with a legit star in R.J. Cole, but the Huskies don’t shoot better than the Aggies from the field and their defense isn’t as good. New Mexico State moneyline is the play.

2022 March Madness First Round Pick: New Mexico State Aggies

13. Vermont Catamounts vs. 4. Arkansas Razorbacks

  • When: Thursday, March 17th, 2022. 8:20pm ET
  • Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, NY
  • March Madness Betting Odds: Arizona -5

Arkansas is a talented squad. The Razorbacks don’t shoot the ball all that well, though, averaging 44% from the field and 31% from three. Anybody who has watched Vermont play, know the Catamounts are for real. Vermont’s two-time America East Conference Player of the Year Ryan Davis can dominate inside or out.

The Catamounts shoot over 48% from the field and 35.8% from three on their way to an average of 74 points per game. Guard Ben Shungu shoots over 43% from three and over 52% from the field. Vermont should have no trouble marching to the second round. Catamounts win SU.

2022 March Madness First Round Pick: Vermont Catamounts

10. San Francisco Dons vs. 7. Murray State Racers

  • When: Thursday, March 17th, 2022. 8:40pm ET
  • Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
  • March Madness Betting Odds: Murray State -1

The early line favored San Francisco, but the more bettors studies this game, the more they liked Murray State. The Racers are now a -1 favorite. By tip-off, Murray State should be a -2 chalk. The Racers are 28-2 SU and 16-10-1 ATS. Murray State averages over 79 points per while shooting over 48% from the field and close to 35% from three. Murray State’s defense allows 61.7 points per game. The Racers should have the Dons on their heels all game long. Murray State covers.

2022 March Madness First Round Pick: Murray State Racers

READ MORE: Georgia State vs. Gonzaga NCAAB Odds and Preview – March 17th, 2022

11. Virginia Tech Hokies Even vs. 6. Texas Longhorns

  • When: Friday, March 18th, 2022. 3:30pm ET
  • Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
  • March Madness Betting Odds: TBA

Texas is a solid club. But VA Tech should be one of the surprise teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament. The Hokies got past Clemson in their first ACC Tournament game, beating the Tigers 76-75 in overtime. Then VA Tech dusted Notre Dame, North Carolina, and Duke in a row to win the ACC Tournament title.

Virginia Tech is one of the few teams with a guard that con dominate and a forward that can dominate. Guard Hunter Cattoor scored 31 against Duke in the 82-67 ACC tourney final win. Forward Keve Alum scored 19 against Clemson, 20 versus Notre Dame, 18 against North Carolina, and 19 versus the Blue Devils.

If they’re both on, VA Tech can make it all the way to the Elite Eight. The Hokies need just one to have a great game to get past the Longhorns. Virginia Tech wins and covers.

2022 March Madness First Round Pick: Virginia Tech Hokies

13. Chattanooga Mocs vs. 4. Illinois Fighting Illini

  • When: Friday, March 18th, 2022. 5:50pm ET
  • Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
  • March Madness Betting Odds: Illinois -8

Kofi Cockburn is one of the best players in the country. Illinois’ 7-foot center averages 21 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. But although Cockburn is great. This is a bad matchup for the Illini. Chattanooga averages over 75 points per game. The tallest player in the Mocs’ starting five is 6’ 9”, which means Illinois has a height advantage with Cockburn for sure. While the Illini will try to set Cockburn up, the Mocs will be running up and down the court. Chattanooga’s speed should give Illinois fits. The Mocs cover.

2022 March Madness First Round Pick: Chattanooga Mocs

12. UAB Blazers vs. 5. Houston Cougars

  • When: Friday, March 18th, 2022. 8:20pm ET
  • Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
  • March Madness Betting Odds: Houston -8

Beware the 12 versus the 5. Especially beware the 12 versus the 5 when the 5 is a team that relies on lockdown defense versus one of the best shooting teams in the tournament. Opponents shoot 37.2% from the field and less than 30% from three versus the Houston Cougars. UAB shoots 46.8% from the field and 37.5% from three. Something will give in this game.

The guess here is that Houston’s defense has a ton of trouble stopping the Blazers from shooting threes. Then, when the Cougars change their defense, UAB will dump the ball into 7’ 0” center Trey Jemesen.

UAB hasn’t scored less than 80 points in five straight. The Blazers force you to play their style. Alabame-Birmingham sends Houston packing early. Blazers win SU.

2022 March Madness First Round Pick: UAB Blazers

READ MORE: Delaware vs. Villanova NCAAB Odds and Preview – March 18th, 2022

This is just one of the many sports betting guides that you can read here at Nitrobetting news. Stay tuned for more NCAAB game previews and articles and don’t forget to check out the latest Basketball betting odds on the sportsbook.

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*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.