The 8-9 matchup in the East region has the Memphis Tigers laying a small number to the George Washington Colonials.
Both teams arrive at the tournament having struggled in recent appearances there. Memphis is 1-4 against the spread in its past five openers, while George Washington is mired in an 0-4-1 ATS slide in the tournament.
Memphis is just 1-5 at the betting window when laying points.
Spread and total points scored betting line
The Tigers opened as 2.5-point favorites; the total was 144. (Compare lines and consensus on the Odds Shark matchup report.)
Odds Shark computer pick
Why pick George Washington to cover the spread
The No. 9 Colonials were granted an at-large bid after finishing third place in the Atlantic 10. Despite being the lower-seeded team, the No. 9 seed has actually beaten the No. 8 seed 53 percent of the time.
Isaiah Armwood, averaging 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, will give George Washington the advantage inside.
Why pick Memphis to cover the spread
No. 8 Memphis has talent far superior to its seeding. The Tigers finished fourth in the American Athletic Conference, good enough to notch an at-large bid to the tournament.
Memphis is third in the NCAA in assists, and senior guard Joe Jackson will distribute the ball to anyone to take advantage of Memphis’ athleticism. Memphis should be able to exploit the Colonials and take advantage of their spotty tournament history (0-4-1 ATS).
Smart betting pick
Memphis has struggled as a favorite this season, especially down the stretch. The Tigers were 1-5 against the spread in their last six games as favorites and lost two of those games straight up.
George Washington’s defense can slow down Memphis’ 35th-ranked offense and keep the game within the point spread. George Washington is a threat for the outright upset, although the over is attractive as well given the Colonials' trend toward that bet when they are underdogs (13-4-1 past 18 games in this situation).
George Washington Colonials: No. 170
Memphis Tigers: No. 185 (per Odds Shark power ranks)
March Madness betting trends
- Memphis 2-6-1 ATS past nine games overall
- Memphis 1-4 ATS past five first-round games
- OVER is 13-4-1 past 18 George Washington games as underdogs
- George Washington 0-4-1 ATS past five tournament games