Top AI NCAAB Picks to Bet on March 3: Battle of the Worst Teams in Michigan

Dwayne Stephens Western Michigan Broncos Markeese Hastings
Head coach Dwayne Stephens of the Western Michigan Broncos coaches Markeese Hastings. David Purdy/Getty Images/AFP.

Picks Summary

  • Grand Canyon vs. Utah Tech: Utah Tech +1 (-110) at SugarHouse
  • Central Michigan vs. Western Michigan: Western Michigan -4 (-110) at BetRivers
  • Nebraska-Omaha vs. Missouri-Kansas City: Nebraska-Omaha +1.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook

Every once in a while, the college basketball odds have one team favored to win, but the projections say the underdogs will have their day. We have two such games on tap for Friday, according to the free OddsTrader BetStation app and the NCAAB lines as we go to press.

Grand Canyon Antelopes vs. Utah Tech Trailblazers

Friday, March 3, 2023 – 09:00 PM EST at Burns Arena

Our first game is the bigger surprise of the two – with the bigger potential profit margin. Utah Tech (13-17 SU, 16-10-1 ATS) are 1-point home dogs for Friday’s WAC matchup with Grand Canyon (20-11 SU, 11-17 ATS), but the AI says they’ll win 79-75.

Is Utah Tech Any Good?

Better than advertised, at least when you look at their ATS record. The Trailblazers may be second-last in the WAC at 5-12, but they’ve lost some close ones along the way – including their last meeting with Grand Canyon on January 18, which the Lopes took 89-85 as 13-point home faves.

You might remember Utah Tech as our No. 1 selection from Wednesday’s college basketball picks, where the AI had them beating Seattle U (+1.5 away) 76-70. The Blazers paid out, but the game was far less competitive than expected, with UTU rolling to a 93-56 victory.

Grand Canyon was one of our top AI-approved picks as well, back on February 24 when they hosted Seattle. Final score: Lopes 54, Redhawks 65, with GCU moving from -5 to -6.5 before the close.

Those two results versus Seattle appear to have made an impression on the computers. Grand Canyon is still the better team on paper, checking in at No. 128 overall (No. 85 offense, No. 193 defense) on Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency charts, but Utah Tech isn’t that far behind at No. 151 (No. 108 offense, No. 223 defense). They can pull this off.

NCAAB Pick: Utah Tech +1 (-110) at SugarHouse

Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Western Michigan Broncos

Friday, March 3, 2023 – 07:00 PM EST at University Arena

Moving from the WAC to the MAC, we’ve got two of that conference’s worst teams in Central Michigan (10-20 SU, 12-16 ATS) and Western Michigan (7-23 SU, 8-18-1 ATS). Someone has to win, and the AI says it’ll be the Broncos 74-61, even though they’re only favored by four points at BetRivers.

How Bad Is Western Michigan?

Awful – although to be fair, it’s Division I basketball, and these are some of the best athletes in the state. But they still rate No. 326 overall (No. 232 offense, No. 354 defense) out of the 363 D-1 teams.

Ah, but Central Michigan finds itself two spots behind WMU at No. 328 (No. 354 offense, No. 228 defense) in efficiency. These Michiganders are virtual mirror images; you’d normally expect the Broncos to be favored by three at home in a matchup this close on paper.

Speaking of close, CMU took their first meeting 70-69 back on January 28 as 1.5-point home dogs. But this will be Senior Night in Kalamazoo, as the Broncos play the last game of their season – neither team is going to the MAC Tournament next week.

Western Michigan has the clear edge in motivation here with senior guards Lamar Norman and Tray Maddox leading the charge, and senior forward Tafari Simms hoping for a storybook ending after shooting 0-for-7 in their previous encounter.

NCAAB Pick: Western Michigan -4 (-110) at BetRivers

Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks vs. Missouri-Kansas City Roos

Friday, March 3, 2023 – 09:30 PM EST at Denny Sanford Premier Center

Our second underdog that “should” be favored: the Omaha Mavericks (8-22 SU, 15-14 ATS), who are projected to beat Kansas City (11-20 SU, 13-16 ATS) 67-66 despite getting 1.5 points at Caesars Sportsbook.

How Bad Is Omaha?

Last place in the Summit League is even worse than being last in the MAC, but the Mavericks are slightly less awful than Western Michigan at No. 322 overall (No. 265 offense, No. 343 defense) on the Pomeroy charts.

The thing is, UMKC isn’t that much better than Omaha at No. 298 overall (No. 328 offense, No. 231 defense). And it isn’t Senior Night at Denny’s: It’s the first round of the Summit League Tournament.

The Roos did cover their regular-season matchup, however, losing 64-61 to Omaha as 7-point road dogs on January 26. And they did it despite shooting just 3-of-20 from downtown. Bet accordingly – the AI has spoken.

NCAAB Pick: Nebraska-Omaha +1.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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