Oh baby, here we go! Today marks the official start of the 64-team 2012 NCAA Tournament, and with it comes a bevy of 16 games taking place throughout the day, with a number of great opening match-ups worth a look at for online sports betting at one of the best online sportsbooks reviewed here. Make no mistake, the brackets you and I collectively lay out for the tournament will get busted somewhere along the line, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some great individual wagers on the games taking place over the next two days that should more than make up for the shortcomings of you bracket picking abilities. Starting off the day bright and early, with bets at Sportsbetting Sportsbook, the 1-loss #6 seed Murray State Racers get things started against #11 Colorado State, in what should be a great game between two well-matched teams. I’ve personally got Murray State through the first 2 rounds of play this year, so here’s to hoping the first game of the day doesn’t already put me at a solid disadvantage! Moving along to the next available game on the afternoon, catch a great clash between the #8 Kansas State Wildcats and the #9 Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, where KSU’s defense and leadership under Rodney McGruder should put them through to the Round of 32, where they’ll likely bump heads with #1 seed Syracuse in the East Region. More early games worth checking out include #4 Wisconsin vs. #13 Montana, which should be a low-scoring game dictated by the Badgers’ hounding defense, and an interesting match-up between Big East champions #4 Louisville and #13 Davidson. Louisville is certainly a team to watch heading into the Big Dance, as they played fantastic ball down the home stretch to overcome a tough Big East tournament, so set your sights and expectations on a win for the Cardinals in this first round tie-up.
Another big game to follow heading into the later afternoon includes #3 Marquette vs. #14 BYU, the latter team having to make a dramatic comeback against Iona, down by as much as 26 points, to move on in stunning fashion. I’m hoping that the First Four madness won’t translate into the Round of 64 (literally every pick I made in the First Four fell flat, yay), but with Marquette’s Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom having a big advantage over their BYU counterparts, expect the second Golden Eagles team to play in this tournament to push on to the Round of 32 with a decisive victory. Next up, #1 Syracuse takes on #16 UNC-Asheville, with the first test for the Orangemen coming within their own ranks, as Big East Defensive Players of the Year Fab Melo will be sitting out of this tournament, thanks most likely to his failures as a student. Nice job, bud.
This is where the day starts to get really interesting. One of the match-ups I’ve been looking forward to today is the #5 vs. #12 pairing between New Mexico and Long Beach State, as the Mountain West Champs take on a tough challenge with a very veteran 49ers team looking for a first-round upset this afternoon. Expect a hotly contested game up in Portland, Oregon, and a great option for taking the underdog LB State if you’re feeling saucy. Moving along, one of the big mid-major match-ups of the day features the #12 VCU Rams and the #5 Wichita State Shockers, with Shaka Smart’s Rams looking to make another run after a brilliant 2011 tournament that saw them go to the Final Four. Wichita State however is another tough team with tons of veteran talent, and is my pick to send VCU home early, and possibly make a decent run in this year’s tournament. Make sure to check out the betting lines for #5 Vanderbilt, one of my picks to make a surprisingly deep run, and #12 Harvard, where the Commodores should dominate via their big inside presence and good shooting abilities. This is another team that could be prepped for a good run after winning the SEC tournament and knocking off #1 Kentucky in the process, so definitely keep an eye on what Vandy does in the coming days.
Late games during the Round of 64 today features even more great contests as #1 Kentucky gets its first challenge as a favorite to win the tournament, taking on in-state competitor #16 Western Kentucky, who overcame a tough First Four game to earn the right to dance with the big boys. It won’t be close in this game however, as Kentucky will look to come out swinging early on, and get back into tournament form after suffering a SEC championship loss to the aforementioned Vanderbilt. One game that could go either way is #10 West Virginia vs. #7 Gonzaga, which features a Mountaineers team that has struggled with consistency against a Bulldogs team that doesn’t travel well (WVU will have essentially a home-court advantage in Pittsburgh, not far from their campus). Look for a seed-based upset here as WVU squeaks by to see another day and another round of action. Rounding out some of the best looks for online sports betting today, catch a great showdown between #9 UConn and #8 Iowa State, #13 New Mexico State could give #4 Indiana a run for their money, #2 Ohio State shouldn’t be bothered by #15 Loyola (MD), #3 Baylor gets past #14 South Dakota State, and the pitiful Pac-12 sees its last competitive team bumped out as #6 UNLV overcomes #11 Colorado.
Whew! If that isn’t a great day full of College Basketball action for online sportsbook bets, I have no idea what is. While there’s plenty of sports action taking place across the NBA and NHL tonight as well, no doubt the big focus for sports fans today is the tip-off of the NCAA Tournament, but nonetheless make sure to catch a look at some of the best-looking match-ups available in the pro leagues, as the action continues to get better and better as the season winds down towards the playoffs. Catch a couple good NBA games as Phoenix travels to face the Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City challenges Denver in what should be a high-scoring game in Mile-High city, and the Utah Jazz host the Minnesota Timberwolves, who will try to keep their heads above water without the presence of point guard Ricky Rubio, out for the season. The NHL Hockey schedule is full of great wagering opportunities as well, so don’t miss out on a couple great games lined up, especially with the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the New York Rangers, the Boston Bruins at Florida Panthers, Nashville at San Jose, and Calgary hosting Phoenix. It doesn’t get any better than this folks, so make sure to take a trip down to the Sportsbetting Sportsbook, or any of the top sports betting websites reviewed right here, to jump into one of the best days of sports betting action this year!