The eighth-seeded Seton Hall Pirates (21-11) and ninth-seeded North Carolina State Wolfpack (21-11) are both hoping to rebound from disappointing conference tournaments when they play each other in the round of 64 of the NCAA tournament on Thursday.
The Pirates are listed as small favorites after falling to the Butler Bulldogs as 1.5-point underdogs in the Big East tournament while the Wolfpack dropped a 91-87 decision to the Boston College Eagles as 3.5-point favorites in the ACC tournament after winning five of their previous six.
March Madness point spread: The Pirates opened as two-point favorites; the total is at 157.5, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
March Madness betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 77.0-75.2, Wolfpack (March Madness picks on every game)
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Why North Carolina State can cover the spread
North Carolina State had also gone 5-1 against the spread during its recent hot run, including two as road underdogs versus the Syracuse Orange and Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
While the Wolfpack has failed to cover two of three now, they have enjoyed some extra rest since last playing a week ago Wednesday. Sometimes teams are better off getting bounced early on in their conference tournaments so they can be ready for the Big Dance.
Why Seton Hall can cover the spread
Much like its opponent, Seton Hall would like to think the extra time off between games will be a benefit in this spot. The Pirates enter the NCAA tournament losing two of their last three, but each setback during that stretch was decided by only one point, including a 69-68 overtime defeat at home to the second-ranked Villanova Wildcats.
In addition, they beat the Bulldogs as 2.5-point favorites at home as part of a current five-game ATS winning streak. Seton Hall has also won four in a row versus ACC opponents (3-1 ATS).
Smart betting pick
This might be one of the toughest first-round games to pick considering how evenly the teams match up. But North Carolina State has gone 5-1 SU in its last six games following a loss and faced better competition during the regular season in the ACC.
A 95-91 OT win over the defending national champion North Carolina Tar Heels on the road particularly stands out for the Wolfpack, so take them to move on in an upset.
March Madness betting trends
The total has gone over in eight of Seton Hall's last 10 games.
Seton Hall is 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS in its last four games against the ACC.
North Carolina State is 5-2 SU and ATS in its last seven games.
All college basketball odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.