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Best March Madness picks against the spread by seed

It’s the March Madness contest my friends and I have done since high school a gajillion years ago.

Pick one of each seed, and get points for each win in the NCAA Tournament. So if you think Duke is going to win the national title, you take it as your 1 seed. If you think Kentucky is going to win more than Tennessee, Michigan State and Michigan, that’s your 2 seed, and so on.

The real trick is to figure out the value pick against the spread.

Once you get into the 5-12 matchups, the double-digit spreads go away and then the fun really begins. But the work is figuring out which with No. 1 seed is going to get the biggest push, and then hoping beyond hope for the UMBC miracle over Virginia moment of last season.

So, where’s the best value at each seed?

1. SOUTH Virginia -22 over Gardner-Webb

It helps that the line went down from 23.5. Go with the theory that the Cavaliers are about to make Gardner-Webb pay for UMBC’s insolence.

2. WEST Michigan -15 over Montana

All of the two seeds are tempting, but the Michigan spread is the lowest. As soon as it drops the defense on Montana, it’s uh-oh time.

3. EAST LSU -7.5 over Yale

Both teams have an offense, but Yale won’t get a rebound against the Tigers. It’s the only 3-14 game with a single-digit spread.

4. MIDWEST Kansas -6.5 over Northeastern

Eventually, the inconsistent Jayhawks are going to wake up. The line is just 6.5. FSU -9 over Vermont in the West is tempting.

5. SOUTH Wisconsin -2 over Oregon

Do you care that the line moved from Oregon -1 to three points the other way? Nah. Bucky will win.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

6. SOUTH Villanova -4.5 over Saint Mary’s

All of the 6-11 games are scary, but the Wildcats should be able to handle the slow-and-go Gaels by hitting lots and lots of threes.

7. WEST Nevada -2 over Florida

It’s a dangerous 7-10 matchup, but the Wolf Pack are full of senior veterans who have been here before. The Mountain Westers are just better than the Gators – and only giving two.

8. WEST Syracuse -2.5 over Baylor

It hasn’t moved too much after starting at Orange -2. As always, Jim Boeheim’s team should use that defense to make a solid run – watch out, Gonzaga.

9. EAST UCF -1 over VCU

All of the 9 seeds are rough, especially considering Wisconsin if the call among the 5s – Oregon is a good value. UCF-VCU is effective a pick ’em.

10. SOUTH Iowa +3.5 over Cincinnati

You’d like a little more coming your way from your 10, but the Big Ten team should be just tough enough to win this outright.

11. MIDWEST Belmont +3 over Maryland

An 11-seed is only a +3?! Considering Belmont will beat the Terps, you don’t need the points, anyway. That goes for …

12. WEST Murray State +3.5 over Marquette

A 12-seed is only a +3.5?! Despise that this is EVERYONE’s fashionable upset pick, but enjoy that there’s a reason for it.

13. EAST Saint Louis +10 over Virginia Tech

Shhhhhhh, the Billikens could win this thing outright. UC Irvine getting 4.5 over Kansas State in the South is nice, too.

14. SOUTH Old Dominion +12.5 over Purdue

Purdue has size, but it’s a bit oversewed as a 3. 12.5 is a whole lot for this Boilermaker team to be giving away.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

15. SOUTH Colgate +17.5 over Tennessee

The Vols seem to be the chic No. 1 Final Four selection, but Colgate has the make-up to make this a wee bit of a fight to keep it from getting out of hand. At least, it does compared to the other 15s.

16. WEST Fairleigh Dickinson +27.5 over Gonzaga

Gonzaga might be a killing machine against the weak and the sad, but 27.5 is a massive number for a fun team like FDU with its solid guards and offensive firepower from three.

Check out all the correct NCAA Tournament Fearless Predictions on CollegeFootballNews.com


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