NCAA Tournament Betting Picks: Nevada vs. Dayton

NCAA Tournament Betting Picks: Nevada vs. Dayton

As of Tuesday morning, most books had 10th-seeded Nevada (26-7 straight up, 21-11 against the spread) installed as a one favorite vs. seventh-seeded Dayton in Thursday’s second game of the afternoon session at Delta Center in Salt Lake City. The total was 136.5 points.

The winner will advance to face the survivor of second-seeded Arizona vs. 15th-seeded Long Beach St.

Nevada is on fire. Steve Alford’s team is 10-2 SU and 9-3 ATS in its last 12 games, including road wins at Utah St., at UNLV, at Colorado St., and at Boise St. The Wolf Pack should also have fresh legs after seeing its seven-game winning streak snapped in Friday’s Mountain West Tournament quarterfinals in an 85-78 loss to Colorado St.

Nevertheless, Nevada is still 6-6 in 12 games against teams in the NCAA Tourney field. Also, the Wolf Pack are 11-4 in 15 games played on the road or on neutral courts.

They’re 6-6 in Quad-1 games and 2-0 versus Quad-2 foes. Nevada has only one loss to a non-Quad-1 opponent, losing a Q3 game at Wyoming.

The location in Salt Lake City favors Nevada in terms of proximity. In addition, there’s altitude in Salt Lake City, but Reno actually is a little higher above sea level.

There won’t be any altitude impact on Nevada, but the same can’t be said for Dayton (24-7 SU, 16-15 ATS). The Flyers struggled mightily down the stretch, going 5-4 SU and 3-6 ATS.

They had no business winning a March 8 game vs. VCU, getting fortunate to force overtime and eventually capturing a 91-86 non-covering win as 8.5-point home ‘chalk.’ The Rams had led by 17 points at one point.

Dayton is 9-7 in 16 games played on the road or at neutral venues. The Flyers are 3-3 in six games against teams in the NCAA Tourney field.

KenPom has Nevada ranked #36 nationally in defensive efficiency and #38 at defending the 3-point line.  The Wolf Pack are ranked #40 nationally in scoring defense (66.5 points per game).

Alford’s team is led by Jarod Lucas and Kenan Blackshear. Lucas averages 17.8 PPG, burying 40.1 percent of treys and 90.1 percent of his free throws.

KenPom has Dayton ranked #87 nationally in defensive efficiency.

Like every Mountain West team not named San Diego St., Nevada was grossly underseeded. Likewise, I think Dayton was overseeded.

But if I’m Alford, I’m just fine with my draw in the bracket. Nevada gets a slumping first-round opponent that has to travel West and into altitude. If it advances, it’ll likely face a second-seeded Arizona team that’s displayed plenty of warts and played in a weaker conference.

In fact, I’ve got Nevada advancing past the Wildcats and into the Sweet 16 of my bracket. Although I have the Wolf Pack bowing out against Baylor in my bracket, I still think it’s worth a flyer to take Nevada to win the West Region.

PREDICTION: Nevada -1 for 1.5 units. 

PREDICTION 2: Let’s risk 0.25 units on Nevada to win the West Region for a 30/1 payout (DraftKings) that would win us 7.5 units.