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NCAA March Madness First Four East Bracket: best bets, odds, prop plays for Thursday

Author: americangambler | Last Updated: March 15, 2021

The East Bracket will kick off the first NCAA March Madness Tournament in nearly two years this Thursday, with a 16-seed First Four contest between Mount St. Mary’s (12-10) and Texas Southern (16-8) in Indianapolis.

This bracket will also have the final game of the night, between 11-seeds Michigan State (15-12) and UCLA (16-7).

The First Four has seen some teams make deep runs in the bracket; will any of the eight teams playing Thursday be the next one to go dancing for an extra week?

NCAA Men’s Tournament First Four games

When: Thursday, March 18

East Bracket games

  • Odds: 16-Mount St. Mary’s (+112) vs. Texas Southern (-136), 5:10 p.m. EST TruTV
  • Texas Southern -2, over/under 132.5 
  • Odds: 11-UCLA (+107) vs. 11-Michigan State (-130), 9:57 p.m. EST TBS
  • Michigan State -2, over/under 136

Best Bet: Texas Southern -2 (-105)

This will be a battle of styles, as Texas Southern wants to get out in transition (something that they do relatively well), while the Mount wants to slow this contest down and turn it into a slog fest, something that Texas Southern struggles with at times. If Southern gets to run, this game becomes an easy cover.

Cinderella Shot: Michigan State 

The winner of this game gets 6-BYU (20-6), with 3-Texas (19-7) looming in the Second Round if the Longhorns get past a tough 14-Abilene Christian (23-4) team. The 16 seed game winner has very little chance against 1-Michigan (20-4), so it has to be either Michigan State or UCLA. Given that, I will take the Spartans, who have some very good wins.

Best Prop Bet: Look for Michigan State to jump out early and win the first half against UCLA  (Use code for William Hill WHGAMBLERRF, get March Madness free bet line tbd.) 

BetMGM March Matchups Parlay: Texas Southern and Drake both to win, +270. More prop bets.  

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