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Free NCAA College Basketball First Round Picks, Best Bets, and Parlays For 3/17/22
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Free NCAA College Basketball First Round Picks, Best Bets, and Parlays For 3/17/22

It’s finally here!! The play-in games are over and the 2022 NCAA tournament officially opens today. We will have round the clock basketball for for the next four days, and the challenge will be who is on what channel and where are those channels at. Better head out and get some spare batteries for your remote, because you just might them.

We had Notre Dame -1 as out Best Bet last night, and after two heart-stopping overtimes, they beat Rutgers 89-87 to cover. That raised our Best Bet of the Day record to 54-32 since January 1st.

We split the 2 games betting the MoneyLine and our record now stands at 649-146 (82%) for 2022.

Today and tonight there are 12 games involving Top-25 teams and 4 other great games as well. Let’s get after it and hope the last shot is made by our team.

Make sure to check out all our NCAA Basketball FREE PICKS HERE

Papa Dudes Best Bet for College Basketball Today

#13 Akron 24-9 vs. #4 UCLA 25-7 (-13.5) at Portland OR: Akron is red-hot and they are coming from the MAC conference that is very underrated. There were four teams that won at least 23 games and another one with 19. The Zips are dangerous in this one. UCLA is a team that is steady and consistent, but rarely blows anybody out. I think the Bruins are going to win and make a deep run in this tournament. But I’m taking Akron to cover the spread. PAPA DUDES BEST BET: Akron +13.5


#13 South Dakota State 30-4 at #4 Providence 25-5 (-2): This line shows us again how little the selection committee thinks of 13th-seeded South Dakota State, and how much respect Vegas has for them. They go up against 4th-seeded Providence, and the Friars from the powerful Big East, are only a 2-point favorite. Most of us who have campaigned for the Jackrabbits all year would totally agree with the line. Providence has specialized in winning close games all year and obviously their 25 wins shows they were very successful at it. I think they will be bigger, stronger, and more physical and will eventually wear the Jacks down, but don’t be surprised if this is a major upset. PAPA DUDES PICK: Providence -2

#16 Norfolk State 24-6 vs. #1 Baylor 26-6 (-20.5): This is the first of several games with huge double-digit points spreads. Baylor is probably a 98% favorite to win and that isn’t the issue. If you choose to bet the game it’s all about the spread. Can they cover or will Norfolk State be able to keep it under 21 points? I’m not betting this one, but I will make a guess. PAPA DUDES PICK: Baylor -20.5

#15 Longwood 26-6 vs. #2 Tennessee 26-7 (-18): This is another game where you are picking the spread. If Tennessee is focused and mentally prepared they are going to win and cover the spread as well. I don’t like anything about this one so my dollars will be spent elsewhere, but since I have to pick I will. PAPA DUDES PICK: Tennessee -18

#12 Richmond 23-12 vs. #5 Iowa 26-9 (-10.5): The spread in this game is all you need to know about how underseeded the Hawkeyes are in Vegas’s eyes. Richmond is a solid team that won the A-10 conference championship, which is a very underrated league. I think they will give the Hawkeyes fits and this one will be a lot closer than people think. I’m picking Iowa to win but not cover. PAPA DUDES PICK: Richmond +10.5

#16 Georgia State 18-10 vs. #1 Gonzaga 26-3 (23.5): Opening games in the tournament can be difficult for #1 seeds, as they adjust to the pressure of being the top dog everyone wants to knock off. I don’t think there is much doubt that the Zags are going to win but this is a huge point spread to cover in an NCAA tournament game.PAPA DUDES PICK: Georgia State +23.5

#12 New Mexico State 26-6 vs. #5 UConn 23-9 (-6.5) The Aggies are a dangerous draw for this Huskies’ team that doesn’t blow very many teams out. This one will be close and probably stay close for a long time. I think eventually the bigger bodies from the Big East will wear down the boys from the lesser WAC conference. PAPA DUDES PICK: UConn -6.5

#15 St.Peter’s 19-11 vs. #2 Kentucky 26-7 (-17.5): I just don’t like St.Peter’s chances coming out of the MAAC conference which is nowhere near to what Kentucky has been playing. But, we aren’t picking who is going to win, we are picking the validity of the spread. Eighteen points is a bunch and there is no doubt that the Wildcats are that much better, talent-wise than the Peacocks are. It’s just a matter of focus and attitude and that is the unknown. I’m going lightly on the bankroll in this one and sticking with the Wildcats. PAPA DUDES PICK: Kentucky -17.5

#12 Indiana 21-13 vs. #5 St.Mary’s 25-7 (-2.5): Indiana had to win a play-in game on Tuesday night to officially get into the field of 64. So, they have the advantage of having a game under their belt. I like St.Mary’s but I think they are a tad overrated and the Hoosiers have a shot at knocking them off. The Gaels struggle offensively sometimes and Indiana can guard. I’m going with the 5 vs.12 upset in this one. PAPA DUDES PICK: Indiana +2.5

#13 Vermont 28-5 vs #4 Arkansas 25-8 (-5): I love this Vermont team and they had very little trouble in sweeping through both the regular season and America East Conference tournament. But Arkansas isn’t a team from the America East. The Razorbacks are a very good team from the SEC and if they are ready to play, they should easily cover this spread. PAPA DUDES PICK: Arkansas -5

#10 San Francisco 24-9 vs. #7 Murray State 30-2 (-2): I think Murray State is very good. but I’m not one of those who think they are great. Any team that has 30 wins should be greatly respected and I congratulate them for a tremendous season. I’m rooting for them to make a deep run. They are going up against a San Francisco team that probably should be in the NIT. But, they have 24 wins and that’s not something that should be overlooked. I’m going with Murray State but I think it is closer than people think. PAPA DUDES PICK: Murray State -2

Texas Southern 19-12 vs #3 Kansas 28-6 (-21.5): This is the final game where we are picking the size of the spread. I don’t think anyone expects the Jayhawks to lose this game, so it all comes down to can they cover. Texas Southern won one of the play-in games on Tuesday night, so they have a game under their belt and that can be an advantage sometimes. I seldom pick the favorite with a line this big. If I miss it, I miss it. PAPA DUDES PICK: Texas Southern +21.5


Colorado State over Michigan

Boise State over Memphis

Marquette over North Carolina

Creighton over San Diego State


We are banking on 2 slight upsets and a favorite today.

LEG 1: Vermont vs. Arkansas: Bet the MoneyLine on the Razorbacks -210

LEG 2: Creighton vs. San Diego State: Bet the MoneyLine on Creighton +115

LEG 3: Memphis vs. Boise State: Bet the MoneyLine on Boise State +135

Bet $15 with a Payout of $96.88

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