NCAA Tournament Thursday Round 1 Betting Preview Clipboard

The best sports bettors become that way because of premier intel. Here is Joe Duffy’s Picks First Round NCAA Tournament cheat sheet. It is March Madness intel from the pros. 

Thursday, March 17

Wichita State-Arizona

Both teams will travel quite the distance. Wichita State is on one day rest and playing 1401 miles from home, a walk in the park compared to Arizona at 2256.


Providence has a substantial edge in travel as the Trojans are coming 2232 miles, compared to just 571 for the Friars.

Gonzaga-Seton Hall

Seton Hall is one of the best teams to bet on in the nation thus far, with a stunning 23-9 mark and +4.9 margin of cover.

Hampton-Virginia rankings says Hampton is the second luckiest team in the nation and easily the most fortunate in the tournament with a Luck Factor of +.147.

Tennessee Chattanooga-Indiana

Chattanooga is the second most lucky team in the Big Dance and eighth in the country overall.

Arkansas Little Rock-Purdue

Little Rock has the third best margin of cover in the country at +4.2 and a 19-10 record in the back pocket.

Joe Duffy is 5-0 recently in college basketball including our only First 4 pick on Holy Cross. We are 28-11 in the NBA and giddy for MLB.

Joe Duffy’s Picks has nine winners up for Thursday opening round of the Big Dance. See the option to purchase day only or night only. It starts out with five day Major plays. Then get four night winners led by a Wise Guy at

Friday, March 18


The Rainbows have the further travel distance in the Big Dance, going 2884 miles to Spokane to just 719 for California.

Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports


Temple is the third luckiest team in the NCAA Tournament and 10th in the country overall. On the other hand, Iowa is the second must unlucky team in the Big Dance, ranking 342nd in the nation according to the KenPom Luck Factor.

Cincinnati-St. Joseph’s

Both teams will be facing jetlag, St Josephs will travel 2145 miles to Spokane, but the Bearcats coming from 1740 miles away is not that much better.

South Dakota State-Maryland

The Terps get the wrong end of the travel deal playing 2095 miles from home, twice South Dakota State’s frequent flyer mileage of 1014.

Cal State Bakersfield-Oklahoma

This is essentially a home game for the Sooners, playing just 17 miles from campus compared to 1208 for Bakersfield.


The Owls should not give a hoot about the mere 80-mile trip to Brooklyn as Iowa must meander 916 miles.


The Ivy League reps don’t need to be “road” scholar as they are playing a measly 86 miles from home, compared to 1584 for Baylor.

NC Ashville-Villanova

If Villanova makes yet another early exit, they cannot blame the committee making them travel just 85 miles, compared to 583 for Ashville.

Margin of Cover (MOC):. Renamed “sweat barometer” in Chad Millman of ESPN’s column, MOC is similar to scoring margin, but it is measured by how much a team covers or fails to cover the point spread. When rank is quoted, it is based on a minimum of 15 lines games.

Luck Factor ( A measure of the deviation between a team’s actual winning percentage and what one would expect from its game-by-game efficiencies. Most handicappers would consider the luckiest teams to be overrated and with a downside and the unluckiest to be underrated with upside. Rankings are out of 351 Division I teams.

Offensive and defensive efficiency: Points scored or allowed based on 100 possessions.

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