The long regular season is over, and as a result, it’s finally time for the best part of the college basketball season. March Madness is here, and today the 68 team tournament begins. The tournament kicks off with the first four. The four overall lowest-ranked auto-qualifiers and the four lowest-seeded at large teams compete in this qualifying round. The winners get a spot in the official March Madness bracket. Today, the first two games take place, with the most interesting matchup being Indiana vs Wyoming.
Indiana enters the NCAA Tournament as the 9th ranked team in the Big Ten Conference. However, despite their low rank, they want on a deep run in the Big Ten Tournament, defeating Michigan in the second round, and even the number one seed in Illinois. They were eventually eliminated in the semifinals by Iowa.
Wyoming had a much less eventful run in the Mountain West Tournament. They entered as the fourth-best team in the tournament and went out in the semifinals as was expected. While they managed to defeat UNLV in the quarterfinals, they were swiftly eliminated by Boise State in the semifinals.
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Now both Indiana and Wyoming have their seasons on the line. It’s win or go home for both teams tonight. Which team will rise to the occasion and book a date with Saint Mary’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament?
Indiana vs Wyoming Odds
Indiana enters the First Four as the highest-ranked team by far. Since they are in the Big Ten Conference, they have the unfortunate task of needing to play into the NCAA Tournament. If they were in any other conference, they would probably get an automatic bid, but that is not the case. Will the odds show them as a big favorite, or do they give credit to Wyoming? Here are the odds, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Spread: Indiana -4 Wyoming +4
- Total: Indiana O 132.5 Wyoming U 132.5
- Money Line: Indiana -180 Wyoming +155
Indiana is the betting favorite, but not by a huge margin.
Indiana Betting Outlook
When you look at this game on paper, you might expect a greater swing in odds. After all, Indiana is ranked 23rd in the nation to Wyoming’s 69th. However, oddsmakers might look at Indiana’s recent run of form at the end of the regular season as a reason to lower the odds for Wyoming. However, by making the odds less favorable for Wyoming, you have a chance to make some money betting on the favorite. -180 odds are not bad in a game like this, and as a result, it is reasonable to bet on them to win.
The spread is set at -4 for Indiana. That’s a small enough spread that it makes sense to bet the spread for whichever team you think is going to win. Most games finish with a bigger spread than four, regardless of how close they are. As a result, it’s a reasonable bet here.
The total is right around where you would expect the final total to be at 132.5. As a result, you could go either way with a bet here. However, it’s important to note that Indiana is an elite defensive team, so if you think they’re going to win, you might lean towards betting the under.
Wyoming Betting Outlook
Wyoming has the unfortunate task of facing a team that should not be in the first four. There’s no reason that Indiana should be in the first four. They should have an automatic spot in the NCAA Tournament, but the conference they’re in is too competitive. As a result, it’s going to be difficult for Wyoming to advance past the First Four. While it isn’t impossible for them to win, the odds they get from DraftKings aren’t worth a bet at this time.
Indiana vs Wyoming Prediction
If you look at the overall records of these teams, Wyoming looks like the favorite. Wyoming has a 25-8 record, whereas Indiana is just 20-13. However, it’s important to note that Indiana had a much more challenging schedule because of its placement in the Big Ten Conference. Conversely, Wyoming had an easy time playing the teams at the bottom of the Mountain West Conference. So, it’s difficult to glean much from their overall records.
Recent form is a good indicator of how these teams will perform in the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, neither team ended their season strong. Indiana finished on a 2-7 run, whereas Wyoming went 3-4 to close the season. Wyoming clearly had the better finish to the season, but they’ve both played games since then.
Notably, Wyoming had an adequate performance in their conference tournament, winning one game before losing to the number one seeded team in Boise State. Conversely, Indiana performed very well in their tournament. They started by upsetting Michigan in the first round, but since it was an eight vs nine matchup, it isn’t a big deal. What really stands out is the fact that Indiana defeated the number one team in the conference in Illinois in the quarterfinals. A big performance like that bodes well for what’s to come.
With that in mind, we think that Indiana’s elite defensive play will be too much for the Wyoming offense. So, we think that Indiana will win by a score of 72-61.
Where to Watch
You can watch this game on NCAA-T at 9:10 PM EST tonight.