The most important thing you need to know regarding the East region of the 2023 March Madness bracket is that Rutgers got robbed six ways from Sunday. The second most important thing you need to know is who to bet on. Lucky for you, the East is stacked with entertaining games and enticing wagers.
East Bracket Buster
East Best Pro
East Best Mascot
East Best Bet
No. 2 Marquette
No. 11 Providence
No. 3 Kansas State
Magic Johnson, No. 33 Michigan State
No. 15 Vermont Catamounts
USC +2 over MSU
Kicking Wildcat Butt
Is hunting a sin? I wouldn’t know. My sleeper pick for the East region, however, is about to find out. The Providence Friars enter the tournament as an 11 seed, with +350 odds to make the Sweet Sixteen–a two win endeavor. Their first game is against the Kentucky Wildcats and they are only 3.5-point ‘dogs. They match up similarly to Kentucky on offense and fared about the same against top 25 competition. The 6-11 matchup has favored the underdog in recent years, too.
One Wildcat down. One to go.
If we assume the No. 3 Kansas State Wildcats beat the No. 14 Montana State Bobcats (more felines!), a safe bet given the 8.5-point spread, the stage will be set. Providence against yet another set of Wildcats. They don’t particularly scare me despite their seeding, especially if Providence goes out and proves they can beat a blue blood like Kentucky.
You can find the Friars’ +143 moneyline at Caesars Sportsbook.
I like No. 9 Florida Atlantic over No. 8 Memphis, but their lack of size should hinder their championship aspirations come the Round of 32. No. 1 Purdue’s Zach Edey has already added Big Ten Player of the Year honors to his resume. A few March Madness victories may be next.
At 7’4”, Edey is massive, and FAU simply doesn’t have the size to match. Only two players on their roster average more than five points per game while being taller than 6’4”. Neither are strikingly good rebounders. You can never count the Boilermakers (+1000 to win the championship) out from having a meltdown, but they have a fairly easy path to the Sweet Sixteen. Expect them to cover in each of their first two games.
Elsewhere, I find myself liking the Tennessee Volunteers’ odds to get hot. They rank fifth in the famous KenPom adjusted efficiency margin rankings. Their first-round matchup, No. 13 Louisiana, ranks 92nd. Even Duke, who Tennessee will get the chance to play if the five seed survives, trails behind.
The Volunteers’ stifling defense can push them into Elite Eight play with prospective wins against the Ragin’ Cajuns, Blue Devils, and Boilermakers. Regardless of seed, none of those teams run away with a talent differential that scares me.
Tennessee is one of the few double-digit favorites (-10.5, -110) in the Round of 64. There isn’t much value in their moneyline given Vegas’ confidence, but they could be worth throwing into a parlay.
I have fallen in love with these Marquette Golden Eagles, so much so that I have them coming out of the East. FanDuel has given them +420 odds to represent the region in the Final Four; odds that you can utilize with this promotion for Bet Basics readers: UP TO $1,000 BACK IN BONUS BETS.
They are on a nine-game winning streak that has lasted since February 11. In that time, they’ve beaten tourney-bound teams like Creighton, Connecticut, and Xavier.
The analytics like them, the momentum likes them, and if my bracket is correct, they wouldn’t have to play a higher seed until the championship round. A stretch of double-digit seeds and Tennessee is a gift for any team with net-cutting aspirations, regardless of how feisty they are.