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NCAAB Tournament First Round Smart AI Computer Picks for Friday: Fading Kentucky for Fun and Profit


NCAAB Pick: Fairleigh Dickinson +23 (–110) at BetRivers 

Finally, the OddsTrader computers are on the board at March Madness. We split our two AI-approved college basketball picks for Wednesday’s First Four games, both of them on the Over: 

  • Fairleigh Dickinson 84, Texas Southern 61 (Under 148.5) 
  • Nevada 73, Arizona State 98 (Over 135.5) 

As was the case with Tuesday’s games, both these totals were higher at the close than they were when we made our picks; that Fairleigh Dickinson-Texas Southern tilt came achingly close to going Over 147.

The FDU Knights happen to be in Friday’s First Round NCAAB picks as well, but we’re recommending the spread this time; the computers seem to like most of the big underdogs so far, and they like our first pick even more. 


Providence Friars vs. Kentucky Wildcats

Friday, March 17, 2023 – 07:10 PM EDT at Greensboro Coliseum
 


Our tour begins in the East Region, where No. 6 Kentucky will take on No. 11 Providence as 4-point favorites on the NCAAB odds board. Don’t let these ‘Cats fool you; the computers say the Friars will win 80-79. 

Is Kentucky Overrated?

Yes. The Wildcats (21-11 SU, 15-16-1 ATS) are one of the most successful programs in the history of college hoops, and they’ve got one of the sport’s most respected head coaches in John Calipari. But the Selection Committee made a bit of a reach slotting them in as a 6-seed this year.

That’s according to Ken Pomeroy’s advanced stats. He’s got Kentucky ranked No. 28 overall (No. 14 offense, No. 77 defense) in Division I according to efficiency, putting them behind seven Tournament teams with higher-numbered seeds. 

They’re still better than Providence (21-11 SU, 18-14 ATS), though, at least on paper. The Friars check in at No. 45 overall (No. 16 offense, No. 106 defense) on the Pomeroy charts; they’re worse than Kentucky at both ends of the court, but only marginally so – certainly enough to be the sharp side of this contest at +4. 

There’s a simple route to victory for Providence: Getting Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe in foul trouble. Tshiebwe is their main man in the middle, but the Friars can send both Bryce Hopkins and Ed Croswell at him, and scoop up some valuable rebounds in the process.

Providence should be worth the standard single-unit wager this Friday. 

NCAAB Pick: Providence +4 (-110) at SBK


Fairleigh Dickinson Knights vs. Purdue Boilermakers

Friday, March 17, 2023 – 06:50 PM EDT at Nationwide Arena 


The No. 16 Knights are back in our AI-approved picks, this time as 23-point underdogs in the East Region to No. 1 Purdue at BetRivers. That’s a lot of points, and the computers “only” have the Boilermakers winning 82-68. 

How Much Should I Bet?

Make it another slight lean and another recreational-sized wager. Purdue (29-5 SU, 13-19-2 ATS) may be overrated as a 1-seed, ranking sixth overall (No. 9 offense, No. 23 defense) on the Pomeroy charts, but the Boilers have a game-changing 7-foot-4 center in Zach Edey who you may have heard of.

The Knights (20-15 SU, 14-19 ATS), meanwhile, are the worst team in the Tournament at No. 299 overall (No. 147 offense, No. 359 defense), and they don’t have any regular players over 6-foot-7. But they’re good enough to beat this spread against a very slow Purdue team. Bet accordingly – the AI has spoken. 

NCAAB Pick: Fairleigh Dickinson +23 (–110) at BetRivers 


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