The Iowa Hawkeyes have lost seven games in a row against the spread, and they'll be on the floor Wednesday night in First Four action at the University of Dayton as they tip off against the Tennessee Volunteers.
With the No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region of the NCAA tournament on the line, the computer likes Iowa, but the experts like Tennessee.
Spread and total points scored betting line
The Volunteers opened as 1.5-point favorites, but the line had swung around to -1.5 in favor of Iowa. The total was 143. (Compare lines and consensus on the Odds Shark matchup report).
Odds Shark computer pick 76.8-75.3 Hawkeyes
Why pick Iowa to cover the spread
The Hawkeyes earned their way to the tournament for the first time since 2006, mainly by going 12-2 in nonconference play with a win over Xavier and tough losses to two pretty good teams in Iowa State and Villanova.
While they stumbled down the stretch to finish 9-9 in the Big Ten, their worst conference loss was a 10-point decision at Michigan State. With a little luck, they easily could have gone 12-6 in the conference—one of the two or three toughest leagues in the country this season.
Why pick Tennessee to cover the spread
The Vols earned an at-large bid to the tournament after finishing fourth in the SEC at 11-7, beating South Carolina but blowing a 10-point lead and losing to top-ranked Florida in the semifinals of the conference tournament.
Tennessee lost three times to the Gators this season along with a handful of other close games. It owns victories over Xavier and ACC regular-season and conference tournament champion Virginia. The Vols start three seniors and two juniors and have allowed just 61 points per game this season.
They are covering spreads (4-1 against the spread), while the Hawkeyes are bleeding money against the spread.
Smart betting pick
Most books opened Tennessee as a short favorite for this game, but early action on Iowa swung the line in the other direction.
However, this looks like a case of a team playing some of its best ball of the season lately. The Volunteers are going up against a team that hasn't done much right over recent weeks, especially late in games. Iowa even lost to Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. Take Tennessee.
Iowa Hawkeyes: No. 107
Tennessee Volunteers: No. 15 (per Odds Shark power ranks)
First Four betting trends
- The total has gone OVER in nine of Iowa's last 11 games.
- Tennessee is 4-1 ATS in its last five games.
- Iowa is 1-6 straight up, 0-7 ATS in its past seven games.
- Iowa lost its past three tournament games SU and ATS.
- Tennessee played five straight UNDERs to end the year.
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