Men’s NCAA Tournament projected scores for every second-round game plus best bets

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The first day of the men’s NCAA Tournament is in the books, which means we have matchups with odds for Saturday’s second-round games. My model has projected scores for every Saturday game and a best bet that I like too.

Below is a list of score projections for every second-round game to be played on Saturday. This post will be updated with Sunday’s projections when those matchups are set. The same goes for best bets for Sunday’s games.

Before getting into the numbers, here’s a quick explainer on how I get to these numbers. I created a college basketball model to project the outcomes of games. I take several metrics into account and adjust them for the opponent, and that creates a projection for each team on how likely they are to win a game against an average opponent. From there, I set up the bracket and simulate the tournament one million times to get my projected scores for each first-round game.

2024 men’s NCAA Tournament second-round projections

Second round best bets

Odds are from BetMGM. Find the best ticket deals on StubHub to see your favorite team.

Washington State +6.5 (-105) vs. Iowa State

Be sure to shop around as there are some +7s out there, but I’m going to take BetMGM’s price of +6.5 -105. This should be a slow-paced game with both teams being very strong on defense. The key for Washington State staying within this number is its ability to get after the offensive glass. Iowa State isn’t great on the defensive glass and forces a ton of tough shots. This is a matchup that needs to be played exploited if Washington State has hopes of pulling off the upset. Luckily for us, they just have to stay within two possessions.

Worst line to bet: +6.5 (-110)

(Photo of Myles Rice: Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

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