21 Mar

2024 NCAA Tournament picks, March Madness bets by proven model

The Kentucky Wildcats will look to get back on the winning track when they square off against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies in a first-round game of the 2024 NCAA Tournament on Thursday at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The Wildcats (23-9), who are seeded No. 3 in the South Region, are coming off a 97-87 loss to Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament. Prior to that, Kentucky had won five straight games. Meanwhile, the Golden Grizzlies (23-11) enter the 2024 NCAA Tournament having won both the Horizon League regular season and tournament titles. They have never reached the Round of 32 in three previous NCAA Tournament appearances.

Tipoff is set for 7:10 p.m. ET. The Wildcats are favored by 13.5 points in the latest Kentucky vs. Oakland odds via SportsLine consensus, while the over/under for total points scored is 162. Before making any Oakland vs. Kentucky picks, you need to check out the college basketball analysis from the SportsLine Projection Model.

The model simulates every Div. I college basketball game 10,000 times. It enters the 2024 NCAA tournament on a 148-106 roll on all top-rated college basketball picks dating back to last season, returning more than $1,700 for $100 players. It also has a strong 29-19 (+810) record on top-rated spread picks this season. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Kentucky vs. Oakland. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are several college basketball betting lines and trends for Oakland vs. Kentucky:

Kentucky vs. Oakland spread: Wildcats -13.5
Kentucky vs. Oakland over/under: 162 points
Kentucky vs. Oakland money line: Wildcats -986, Golden Grizzlies +646
UK: The Wildcats lead the country in 3-point percentage (41.2)
OAK: The Golden Grizzlies commit 15.1 fouls per game (fewest in the Horizon League)
Kentucky vs. Oakland picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why Kentucky can cover
Kentucky has one of the best players in the country in Antonio Reeves. The 6-foot-6, 195-pound senior guard ranks third in the SEC in scoring (20.0 points) while shooting 50.8% from the field (fifth best in the conference). For his efforts this season, he was named a third-team All-America by The Sporting News.

Reeves & Co. form the best shooting team in the nation. The Wildcats shoot 41.2% behind the 3-point arc, which is the best percentage in the country. That bodes well against an Oakland defense that allows opponents to shoot 33.9% on 3-pointers, which is 195th in Div. I. See whom to back at SportsLine.

Why Oakland can cover
Oakland will face a Kentucky team that has struggled on defense this season. The Wildcats give up 79.7 points per game, which ranks 12th in the SEC and 334th in the country. They also give up 102.7 points per 100 possessions according to Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which is 108th in the nation.

In addition, the Golden Grizzlies have a go-to scorer in Trey Townsend. The 6-foot-6, 228-pound junior forward and Horizon League Player of the Year averages 16.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. In the conference tournament title game, he scored a career-high 38 points on 12-of-22 shooting and was named the tournament MVP. See whom to back at SportsLine.

How to make Kentucky vs. Oakland picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning Under on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 161 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits more than 70% of the time. You can see the picks only at SportsLine.

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