March Madness 2022 First Four Picks & Predictions

Eddie Griffin

The 2022 March Madness field has been announced, and now begins the countdown to the start of what should be a thrilling three-week stretch of NCAA Tournament action.

With the field set, we can now turn our attention from bracket predictions, the bubble watch, and all of the other speculative stuff and start poring over the March Madness bracket and schedule.

There are plenty of people whose focus will be on betting on the odds to win this year’s NCAA Tournament. Whether they are backing Gonzaga, Arizona, Baylor, Kansas, or someone else, some people are just happy to focus on the futures.

But on the way to finding out who will have their shining moment in New Orleans on April 4, there are a lot of games to follow, watch, and bet on. From the First Four in Dayton to the Final Four in New Orleans, 67 games will be played.

Of those 67 games, 48 of them take place on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday alone. If you have bet on college basketball for a while, you know how chaotic the regular season can be. After all, on the busiest days (Saturdays, most notably), there are dozens of games to follow at one time.

But when it comes to playoffs and postseason tournaments across the major sports, nothing compares to the first few days of March Madness. That moniker is no exaggeration.

There is no shortage of places to check out picks and predictions for every game over the next three weeks. That includes here, where you will find March Madness spread and over/under picks for every game from Dayton to New Orleans.

Betting on the Over/Under Odds for First Four Games – Play or Pass?

There are high stakes involved in every March Madness game, but First Four matchups can be especially tense. When it comes to betting on the over/under for First Four games, exercising caution is the way to go. We’re here to help you make the best decisions with your bets, and sometimes, the best decision is to stay away.

For the opener of this year’s tournament between Texas Southern and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, the over/under currently sits at 135.5.

In the history of the First Four, 23 of 40 games (57.5 percent) have featured 135 or fewer points. Of those 40 games, 20 have featured #16 vs. #16 matchups, and 12 of those have gone under 135.5.

On that note, here are our picks for the First Four matchups that will be taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

March Madness First Four Odds & Picks

All odds are via BetMGM as of Tuesday, March 15 at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Tuesday, March 15 (Dayton, Ohio – UD Arena)

#16 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs. #16 Texas Southern (Pick: Texas Southern ML)

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs. Texas Southern Result: Texas Southern 76, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 67 (Texas Southern ML)

#12 Indiana vs. #12 Wyoming, 9:10 p.m. ET, truTV (Pick: Wyoming +3.5)

Indiana vs. Wyoming Result: Indiana 66, Wyoming 58 (Indiana -3.5)

Wednesday, March 16 (Dayton, Ohio – UD Arena)

#16 Bryant vs. #16 Wright State, 6:40 p.m. ET, truTV

  • Spread: Bryant +2.5 (-110), Wright State -2.5 (-110)
  • Total: OVER 155.5 (-110), UNDER 155.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Bryant +125, Wright State -155

This matchup features a March Madness-first timer in Bryant and the leading scorer in Division I in Bryant’s Peter Kiss. Kiss enters the NCAA Tournament averaging 25.1 PPG and has hit the 30-point mark ten times in 26 games this season, including a 34-piece in Bryant’s NEC title-winning rout of Wagner.

And if you watched said rout of Wagner, you will know that he is a character, to say the least.

It may be his world and we’re just living in it, but Kiss isn’t the only guy on Bryant’s roster who can fill it up. Charles Pride averages 18.0 PPG and a team-leading 8.6 RPG (and 2.5 APG and 1.6 SPG), and he had a three-game stretch earlier this season in which he went for 44, 32, and 34.

Wright State, who is back in the Big Dance for the first time since 2018, can counter with their own high-scoring duo, however. Tanner Holden (19.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.4 SPG) and Grant Basile (18.5 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.6 BPG) lead the way for the Raiders.

Trey Calvin (14.3 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.6 SPG) is the team’s third-leading scorer, and he had 21 points–and hit the winning basket with 15 seconds left–in the Raiders’ Horizon League title tilt against Northern Kentucky. He is also their biggest perimeter threat, making 38.1 percent from outside.

Speaking of outside shooting, Bryant typically puts up a lot of threes-27 per game–but shoots only 30.8 percent from three. If they can get hot from there, Wright State could be in trouble.

Bryant vs. Wright State Pick: OVER 155.5

First Four games are not often high-scoring contests, but both of these teams can score. Wright State has scored 75+ points in 20 of 33 games against Division I opposition this season, while Bryant has scored 75+ in 19 of their 30 games against Division I opposition.

It may need a late flurry to get over the line but look for it to do so.

#11 Notre Dame vs. #11 Rutgers, 9:10 p.m. ET, truTV

  • Spread: Notre Dame -1.5 (-105), Rutgers +1.5 (-115)
  • Total: OVER 133.5 (-110), UNDER 133.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Notre Dame -120, Rutgers +100

To close out the First Four, we get an ACC vs. Big Ten matchup between two teams who finished higher than expected in their respective conferences.

Notre Dame was picked to finish eighth in the ACC but finished second behind Duke, while Rutgers was picked to finish eighth in the Big Ten but finished fourth.

Typically, such results would land you somewhere other than the First Four, right?

But beyond a win over Kentucky and a gaudy ACC record, the Irish had a pretty weak resume and lost in the ACC tourney quarterfinals to surprise champ Virginia Tech.

The Scarlet Knights, meanwhile, had one of the best collections of wins of anyone in the March Madness field. But they also had 13 losses, and one of them was one of the worst losses of anyone in the field.

That said, Alabama, who will face the winner of this matchup, should not take either team lightly. Notre Dame is dangerous from outside, as they are tied for 13th in Division I in three-point shooting (38.0 percent). Rutgers is not an exceptional team in terms of doing one thing extremely well on a consistent basis, but they are a sound defensive team and allowed under 70 points 16 times in Big Ten play.

Notre Dame vs. Rutgers Pick: Rutgers ML

This game stands to be a tight contest. Seven of Notre Dame’s ten losses were by single digits, while Rutgers had 13 games decided by five or fewer points.

Rutgers had a winning record in those games, and the Scarlet Knights are as tough and tested as any team out there. Look for them to advance to face Alabama, who will–or should, at least–be a popular pick to be bounced early.

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