NIT 2021: Betting Odds, Over-Under Predictions for Wednesday's Round 1 Bracket

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2021

Toledo guard Marreon Jackson plays against Michigan in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Bettors anticipating wall-to-wall college basketball throughout the month of March don't have to wait until Thursday's First Four games to get in on the action.

After all, the 2021 NIT starts Wednesday, with a double-header of action pitting the Richmond Spiders against the Toledo Rockets and the Saint Mary's Gaels against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.

Here is a look at the key information for both games. All betting information is courtesy of DraftKings as of Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.


Richmond Spiders vs. Toledo Rockets

Date: Wednesday, March 17

Time: 7 p.m. ET

Location: UNT Coliseum in Denton, Texas


Livestream: WatchESPN

Spread: Toledo -2

Over-Under: 154 points


The suggestion here is to take the over.

After all, the Rockets have five players who averaged 11.5 or more points per game this season. Marreon Jackson is one of the most explosive guards in the entire NIT field and averaged 18.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.9 steals per game.

Ohio is the MAC's representative in the NCAA men's tournament, and Toledo scored 95 points in its first meeting and 80 points in its second.

The Rockets are No. 13 in the country in the offensive rankings on KenPom.com and should have no trouble scoring against Richmond. On the other hand, they are also 166th in defense and will struggle to slow down a Richmond offense that checks in as a solid 46th.

The Spiders have five players who averaged 11.5 or more points per game, including guard Blake Francis. Francis, who averaged 16.1 points per game, will be an excellent matchup with Jackson if he plays and isn't sidelined by injury.

Even if he doesn't play, there will be plenty of points in this one with dangerous offenses and vulnerable defenses.


Saint Mary's Gaels vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Date: Wednesday, March 17

Time: 9 p.m. ET

Location: Comerica Center in Frisco, Texas


Livestream: WatchESPN

Spread: Saints Mary's -2

Over-Under: 126 points


The over-under in this one is much lower, which makes the over tempting in both games.

However, one look at KenPom.com shows Saint Mary's is 198th in the country in offense and ninth in defense. Western Kentucky is 113th in offense and a slightly better 81st in defense.

In games against notable teams, Saint Mary's struggled to score. It finished with 56 points against Memphis, 49 points against San Diego State, 52 points against BYU the first time, 51 points against BYU the second time and an average of 59.7 points per game in three matchups with Gonzaga.

The Gaels struggle to score against tournament-worthy opponents, and there's no reason to think that will change in this matchup.

On the other end, Saint Mary's defense will suffocate a Western Kentucky offense that struggled with consistency all year.

The low number is worrisome, but this matchup screams defensive struggle. Go with the under.


For all the latest betting information and reaction, check out B/R Betting.

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