May 18, 2024

March Madness 2023 – Betting Tips for the First Round of the Women’s NCAA Tournament


The 2023 NCAA women’s tournament includes a big favorite in the South Carolina gamecocks (32-0) but much intrigue remains for the days and weeks to come.

So which teams are worth betting on in the opening rounds? Which future bets should have your attention? And what other bets stand out?

Here are ESPN pundits Charlie Creme and Doug Kezirian with their best bets.

Tournament Futures

UConn +900: The Huskies are healthy, and this version of UConn racked up the most impressive streak of wins of any team in the country in November. Even without a star Azzi Fudd In the lineup, the Huskies battled South Carolina, and now they would only have to face the Gamecocks in the national title fight. Indiana would fall into the same category, but UConn has a slightly better value. –– Cream

Maryland +4000: The Terps would need to face South Carolina in the regional finals but have the right talent to potentially land a shocker. If Maryland somehow ends the Gamecocks season in Greenville, then the Terps would essentially be an even game against any other top seeds left in the tournament. – Cream

Favorite selection for the opening round (Friday and Saturday)

Norfolk State vs. South Carolina under 112.5: Don’t expect the Spartans to slow South Carolina down, but defense is what they do best. Meanwhile, offense is a major challenge for the state of Norfolk, which ranks 289th nationally in effective field goal percentage. How will the Spartans score? The Gamecocks are the nation’s highest-rated defensive team and held another MEAC opponent, Howard, to 21 points in the first round last year. South Carolina won’t even try to score enough points themselves to make the number if the Spartans’ performance is as low as it should be. – Cream

UNLV +4 over Michigan: The rebels have reached a new level, making consecutive journeys into the Great Dance. They didn’t lose this calendar year and ripped through the conference game. However, the Wolverines face stiffer competition and are getting healthier. I think UNLV is legit and will take the points. –– Kezirian

Baylor +1 over Alabama: The Crimson Tide’s NET rating, currently at 29, has been inflated all season. They haven’t beaten an NCAA tournament team since Jan. 15. They also ended the season with four consecutive losses. There’s a reason Alabama only has 10 seeds. Baylor has had its problems, too, but won in Texas two weeks ago and was tested more times in a Big 12 that was better than this year’s SEC. Some of the analysis will favor the Crimson Tide, but many of those numbers have been contrasted with the weaker part of their non-conference schedule. –– Cream

State of Middle Tennessee -1 via Colorado: The Blue Raiders bring balance – with four players averaging double figures – and a solid resume after beating Louisville in conference play. Colorado is limping to the finish line after losing three of its last five games despite the Buffaloes facing stiff Pac-12 competition. — Kezirian

Texas -20.5 over East Carolina: This might seem like a big number for a Longhorns team that’s struggling offensively, but they should be able to slowly build a lead and pull away from the even more offensively challenged Pirates. East Carolina lacks the size to hang out with a Texas team that ranks fifth in the country in terms of offensive rebound rate. The putbacks will pile up as the longhorns pull away. – Cream

Toledo +10 over Iowa State: There’s a lot to like with the Rockets, who have lost just two MAC games and also beat Michigan in a non-conference game. The Cyclones just had an impressive run through the Big 12 tournament, but Toledo have the goods to keep this up. – Kezirian

Top angry picks

UNLV +3.5 over Michigan: I don’t like this Lady Rebels team as much as I did going into the tournament last year when they marked Arizona in the first round, but there’s something wrong with this Wolverines team. Michigan’s only victories at the stretch were over Rutgers and Penn State and Star Leigh Brown missed a few games in late February for unknown reasons. Take 31-win UNLV with the points. – Cream

Princeton (ML) via NC State: Princeton is a five-point underdog, but to get more Value (+185) you need to win him outright. The Tigers have a way of playing, and NC State was one of the biggest disappointments of the season. The point guard’s health Diamond Johnson is still a question mark. She’ll play on her injured ankle, but a limited Johnson means a limited Wolf Pack. Getting through the Ivy League has been harder for Princeton than it has been in years past, but that core group won a game at the NCAA tournament last March. – Cream

Middle Tennessee (-1) via Colorado: The Blue Raiders were my favorite “upset” pick when the bracket was first unveiled, but when the line landed in Middle Tennessee -1, it didn’t resonate. I still like that they’re beating Colorado, but the money isn’t there on the money line. – Cream

Other picks that stand out

Maryland 13-1 to win Greenville Region: To redeem that ticket, South Carolina would have to lose, and the Gamecocks already beat the Terps by 25 points earlier this season. But that was very early on, and Maryland is a program that won’t be outdone under the bright lights. It has the goods to make that run and the value is too good to pass up. –– Kezirian

Odds of Winning Championship (as of March 15)

South Carolina at -200
($20 bet wins $10)

UConn at +800
($10 wager earns you $80)

Stanford at +900
($10 wager earns you $90)

Indiana at +1000
($10 wager earns you $100)

Iowa and LSU at $1800
($10 wager earns you $180)

Utah at +4000
($10 wager earns you $400)

Maryland and Virginia Tech at +5000
($10 wager earns you $500)

Notre Dame and Texas at +6000
($10 wager earns you $600)

Iowa State and Duke at +7500
($10 wager earns you $750)

Tennessee at +8000
($10 wager earns you $800)

State of Ohio at +9000
($10 wager earns you $900)

NC state at +10000
($10 wager gets you $1000)

Oklahoma, Louisville, Central Tennessee, Villanova at +15000
($10 wager gets you $1500)

Gonzaga, Florida, Creighton, Arizona, South Florida, South Dakota below +20000
(bet $10 gets you $2000)

Ole Miss at +25000
($10 stake earns you $2500)

North Carolina, Colorado, Alabama, UCLA at +30000
($10 wager earns you $3000)

Florida Gulf Coast, Marquette, Mississippi State at +40000
(bet $10 earns you $4000)

Baylor, Drake, Michigan, Washington State, Illinois at +50000
($10 wager gets you $5000)

All others are listed under +100000
($10 stake earns you $10,000)

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