First day of Round of 64 at March Madness includes hot New Mexico State as an underdog.
The New Mexico State Aggies will put a 19-game straight-up win streak on the line when they take on Auburn on Thursday as 6-point underdogs on the March Madness betting odds.
New Mexico State earned an NCAA Tournament berth after claiming a third straight Western Athletic Conference Tournament title with a 89-57 rout of Grand Canyon, which also marked the squad’s fifth win by double digits in six outings going into Thursday afternoon’s matchup at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Despite their stellar season, the Aggies are pegged as the No. 12 seed in the Midwest Region.
No. 12 seeded squads have pulled off the upset in just three of 16 first-round clashes since 2015. However, the Aggies have claimed outright wins in three of their past six as betting underdogs, including victories over the Miami Hurricanes and New Mexico Lobos, but have yet to advance to the second round in nine previous appearances at the Big Dance.
No. 5 Auburn enters the NCAA Tournament on a high after marching to its first SEC Tournament championship since 1985 with an 84-64 upset of Tennessee as a 5-point underdog, which also extended the squad’s current SU win streak to eight games.
The Tigers haven’t advanced past the Sweet Sixteen in six March Madness appearances since 1986, but are pegged as a +900 wager on the NCAA Tournament odds to win the Midwest region.
Wolverines Heavy Favorites on Thursday Odds
Over in West Region action, the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines hope to rebound from their second-half collapse in a 65-60 loss to archrival Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament final as they take on No. 15 Montana as heavy 15-point favorites on the March Madness lines.
Also in the West, the No. 7 Nevada Wolf Pack look to pay out as the narrowest favorites on the Thursday March Madness odds when they battle No. 10 Florida as 2-point chalk. The Spartans battle No. 15 Bradley as 18.5-point favorites in East Region action, while the No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers look to assert themselves as a legitimate threat in the South Region as they take on No. 14 Old Dominion as 12.5-point favorites.
The Wolverines have failed to win three in a row during an 8-5 SU run, and lag at +1600 on the national championship odds. However, Michigan enjoyed a run to the national championship game as a three-seed a year ago, and has reached the Elite Eight or beyond in three of five March Madness appearances.
The Wolf Pack hope to build on last year’s drive to the Sweet Sixteen and an impressive 15-3 SU record in Mountain West Conference action this season. But Nevada has covered just once in its past eight contests and has lost outright in four of five outings when favored by three or fewer points.
With SU wins in 10 of 11 outings, Michigan State enters the tournament closely trailing top-seeded Duke as a +350 bet to win the East Region, while the Boilermakers are a +550 dark horse to beat out top-seeded North Carolina and the No. 2 Volunteers to win the South Region and claim a Final Four berth for the first time since 1980.
*Odds as of March 19