2019 NCAA Tournament Bracket Odds: Round 1, First Four Lines for Every Game

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2019

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski celebrates Duke's win over Florida State after cutting down a net after the NCAA college basketball championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Nell Redmond/Associated Press

March Madness means buzzer-beaters, Cinderella stories and national powerhouses competing for a national championship.

It also means betting.

OddsShark released the opening odds for the First Four and round of 64 games in a series of tweets on its Twitter page. The Action Network also shared the opening lines.

Here is a look at the early lines.

              

First Four Games

Fairleigh Dickinson (-1.5) vs. Prairie View

Belmont (-3) vs. Temple

Arizona State (-2) vs. St. Johns

N.C. Central vs. North Dakota State (-4)

           

Thursday Games

Gonzaga (-28/-28.5) vs. Fairleigh Dickinson/North Dakota State

Saint Mary's vs. Villanova (-5)

Old Dominion vs. Purdue (-12)

Yale vs. LSU (-8)

Seton Hall vs. Wofford (-2.5)

Abilene Christian vs. Kentucky (-23)

Minnesota vs. Louisville (-5)

Bradley vs. Michigan State (-20.5)

Florida (-1) vs. Nevada

Montana vs. Michigan (-18)

New Mexico State vs. Auburn (-8)

Northeastern vs. Kansas (-8.5)

Baylor vs. Syracuse (-1.5)

Murray State vs. Marquette (-4)

Vermont vs. Florida State (-11)

Maryland (-5/-7.5) vs. Belmont/Temple

              

Friday Games

Duke (-35/-30.5) vs. N.C. Central/North Dakota State

UCF vs. VCU (-1.5)

Gardner-Webb vs. Virginia (-24)

Oklahoma vs. Ole Miss (-1.5)

Iowa vs. Cincinnati (-4)

Colgate vs. Tennessee (-17.5)

Iona vs. UNC (-24.5)

Washington vs. Utah State (-2.5)

Ohio State vs. Iowa State (-6)

Georgia State vs. Houston (-12.5)

Liberty vs. Mississippi State (-8)

Saint Louis vs. Virginia Tech (-10.5)

Oregon vs. Wisconsin (-2)

Texas Tech (-15.5) vs. Northern Kentucky

Kansas State (-10) vs. UC Irvine

Buffalo (-4.5/-4.5) vs. Arizona State/St. John’s

            

The first thing that jumps out is the significant lines in the games featuring No. 1 seeds. Virginia, Duke, North Carolina and Gonzaga are all 24-point favorites or more, underscoring the fact that a No. 16 seed has won a first-round game just one time in this event's history.

That one time came last year, though, when UMBC defeated Virginia in a stunning result. It handled the Cavaliers with ease, sending shock waves throughout the bracket and reshaping the Final Four race.

Las Vegas clearly doesn't think history will repeat itself, and the top seeds figured to be even more motivated after Virginia's stunning loss a season ago. The Cavaliers will be the most motivated of all to avoid becoming the subject of jokes and jeers from college basketball fans rooting for the underdog story in March.

Elsewhere, an underdog to target is Oregon against Wisconsin. The Ducks are coming off a Pac-12 tournament title and eight straight victories and will be comfortable playing at the slow pace the Badgers typically attempt to utilize.

According to Ken Pomeroy's pace-adjusted rankings, Wisconsin is No. 332 in the country in tempo, while Oregon is No. 328. Many teams are flustered when the Badgers use the entire shot clock and play at a slower pace that puts additional importance on every possession, but that is exactly how the Ducks play almost every time out as well.

Look for the No. 12 seed to earn a win in that matchup.

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