The First Four section of March Madness was just an appetizer, now we can start to enjoy the meat of march madness. The official bracket of the NCAA Tournament kicks off today in the first round. By the end of tomorrow night, 32 games will have been played, we will be ready for the second round to take place on the weekend. However, before that can happen, the first-round games need to be played. Some matches are expected to be blowouts, but there should be some close matchups too. The most exciting game of the night should be Boise State vs Memphis.
Boise State enters the tournament as the 8th seed in the West Regional, and Memphis is 9th. However, seeding in the NCAA Tournament is not always an accurate reflection of the quality of the teams. That’s especially true when looking at the teams with middling seeds. So, while Boise State is the higher seed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the favorite.
Boise State comes from the Mountain West Conference where they finished first in the regular season. They also succeeded in their conference tournament, winning all three of their games. Conversely, Memphis placed third in the more competitive American Athletic Conference. They placed second in the AAC Tournament.
So, will Boise State’s tournament success transfer over to the NCAA Tournament, or does Memphis have the edge coming from a tougher conference?
Boise State vs Memphis Odds
Coming into the game, you’d expect the odds to be close between these two teams. They’re as closely-ranked as they can be, and as a result, there should not be a definitive favorite. That appears to be true by looking at the odds from DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Spread: Boise State +3 Memphis -3
- Total: Boise State U 133.5 Memphis O 133.5
- Money Line: Boise State +135 Memphis -155
As you can see, Memphis is the betting favorite, but it isn’t by a significant margin.
Boise State Betting Outlook
Boise State is in an interesting spot because they are the higher seed but the betting underdog. As a result, you might think that you have a great opportunity to make some money by betting on them. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the case. While betting on Boise State isn’t a bad idea, we wouldn’t recommend it. You only get +135 odds, and their record is inflated by playing in a weaker conference. While it’s true that they performed well in their out of conference, games going 9-4, they didn’t play any high-ranked teams. As a result, it’s difficult to gauge their actual skill level. So, you can bet on Boise State, but they’re a bit of a wild card.
The spread is very small for this game as it is just +3 for Boise State. As a result, it makes sense to bet on the side of the spread of the team you think will win the game. The team that wins will likely exceed the spread requirements. However, the total is far more interesting. It’s set at 133.5, which implies a lower-scoring game. Since these are two teams that are better on offense than defense, betting the under could make sense. However, if you think Boise State’s ranking is a mirage, you could bet the over by predicting a blowout in favor of Memphis.
Memphis Betting Outlook
Before the bracket was released, Memphis fans were probably hoping for an opportunity to bet on them as an underdog. Unfortunately, the oddsmakers are too smart for that, and they properly made Memphis the betting favorite. You get -155 odds betting on them, which isn’t bad. It actually makes sense to bet on Memphis because they look like a stronger team than their record indicates.
Boise State vs Memphis Prediction
At this point, it should be no surprise to hear that we favor Memphis in this matchup. However, we’d still like to take you through the reasons why. Firstly, it’s important to note that in-conference and overall records are not very important when looking at these two teams. Boise State is better in both categories, but that’s largely because they had a much easier schedule than Memphis.
However, we can look at the recent form of each team. Regardless of who you play, it’s important to play well and win games, and both teams have done that lately. Boise State has had very few obstacles this season, losing seven games in total. Four of those losses came in their first seven games, so, they’ve gone on a tremendous run since the beginning of the season.
Michigan experienced a similar trajectory, struggling early in the season, including a four-game losing streak in early December. However, they closed their season on an impressive 10-1 run that saw them defeat Houston twice.
The advanced stats show that this game is going to come down to the offense. Boise State and Memphis both place high in adjusted defensive efficiency, ranking 21st and 23rd, respectively. As a result, we need to look at how they perform on offense. Here’s where Memphis really separates itself. Memphis ranks 33rd in adjusted offensive efficiency, whereas Boise State ranks just 70th.
With that in mind, we are going to predict Memphis to defeat Boise State by the score of 81-69 in a dominant showing.
Where to Watch
You can watch Boise State and Memphis faceoff at 1:45 PM EST on TNT.