Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bets: First Four

Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bets: First Four

by March 18, 2021 0 comments

March Madness is back! After a year of not having the greatest tournament on the planet, it is back for 2021. With the biggest tournament comes ample opportunity to win money. While it is tough to create a perfect bracket, we can still add to our bankroll by placing some bets. Let’s get into best bets for the first four.

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Overall record: 33-34

Mount Saint Mary’s vs. Texas Southern (+1)

The winner of this one moves on to take on East region one seed Michigan on Saturday. Mount Saint Mary’s won the Northeast Conference Championship by beating first-place Wagner as 4.5 point underdogs, and then number two seed Byrant as a 6.5 point underdog in the championship. Texas Southern is the SWAC Tournament Champion and this is their eighth NCAA Tournament appearance. They have won nine games in a row, including the three games in the SWAC Tournament to earn the automatic bid. The Tigers beat Praire View A&M 80-61 as a three-point underdog in the championship.

Mount Saint Mary’s has been off for eight days, while Texas Southern has had four days off since winning the SWAC. The Tigers should be able to keep their momentum while the Mountaineers could easily be rusty to start off. Texas Southern has more star power as well, so ride them for their tenth win in a row.

Cap’n Kielar’s Pick: Texas Southern (+1)

Wichita State vs. Drake (-2)

Drake will hopefully be getting ShanQuan Hemphill back for this game, who has been out since February 10 with a broken foot. Hemphill, the Bulldogs leading scorer with 14.1 points per game, has been upgraded to probable. Drake is one of the most offensive efficiency teams in the country, ranking inside the top 20. They do most of their scoring inside, shooting at 54 percent inside the arc and 65.5 percent at the rim. Wichita State plays poor defense on the glass, ranking 333rd in the nation in defensive rebounding rate. The Shockers also don’t score very well at the time and don’t force turnovers, while Drake handles the ball very well. The winner of this one moves on to face sixth seed USC in the West bracket.

Cap’n Kielar’s Pick: Drake (-2)

Norfolk State (+3.5) vs. Appalachian State

The Norfolk State Spartans have a six-game win streak going into its first tournament since 2012 after they won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Appalachian State Mountaineers won four straight games in the Sun Belt Conference Championship to earn the automatic bid. The Spartans don’t shoot very well inside but can knock down threes at a strong rate, at 36.8 percent, which leads the MEAC. They ranked second in the MEAC in scoring with 75.2 points per game.

Norfolk State is 8-1 against the spread since January 30, which includes six wins in a row ATS. The Spartans are a strong defensive team inside as well, they have allowed the third-lowest percentage of points from within the arc. Devante Carter leads Norfolk State 15.5 PPG, 5.3 rebounds per game, and four assists per game. Carter has recorded double figures in every game but one this season and has had several games with 12 rebounds as the point guard.

Cap’n Kielar’s Pick: Norfolk State (+3.5)

Michigan State (-2) vs. UCLA

Who would’ve thought this would be a first four matchup? Well, it is and it should be a good one. Despite having one of their worst seasons in a long time, the Spartans found some traction late in the season, winning five of their last seven games. Those five wins included wins over #2 Michigan, #4 Ohio State, and #5 Illinois. Both Illinois and Wolverines are number one seeds for the tournament, while the Buckeyes are a number two seed. Aaron Henry leads the Spartans with 15.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 3.5 APG.

Meanwhile, the Bruins come in on a four-game losing streak. They blew a 16-point lead to Oregon State in the PAC-12 Tournament quarterfinals. Michigan State has the pedigree under Tom Izzo as this is their 23rd straight tournament bid. UCLA only has a win over Colorado as an impressive victory on the season, while Michigan State has proven capable against a thought Big Ten Conference which has nine teams in the tournament. The Spartans also sported a 6-0 non-conference record this season.

Cap’n Kielar’s Pick: Michigan State (-2)

Good luck and let the madness ensue!

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