Dayton vs. Nevada odds, prediction, betting trends for 2024 March Madness first-round matchup

It is not often that two mid-major programs play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Flyers’ excellent season earned them a high seed, so they get to avoid a high-major program in the first round. The Wolf Pack are no slouch, though, and actually have a better overall record at 26-7. Each squad ended the season hot but suffered early exits in their conference tournaments.

Dayton has a 15-15-1 record against the spread but has lost three of their last six. The Flyers only covered the spread in two of six, but their offense has been scoring a lot, hitting the OVER for total points in five of the last six. Nevada has been one of the best spread bets in the country this season with a 21-11 ATS record. Outside of losing in the first game of their conference tournament, the Wolf Pack ended the season on a high note, winning their final seven games and covering the spread in six. The offense has been on fire, hitting the OVER for total points in their final six games, too.

Here’s everything you need to know about betting on Dayton vs. Nevada in the 2024 NCAA Tournament, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for this first-round game.  

Dayton vs. Nevada odds

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The 10-seeded Wolf Pack is favored against the No. 7 Flyers. It’s a bit of a surprise, but Nevada has better guard play on paper, which wins tight games in March. Like several other matchups in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the line is so close it could be a pick-em by tipoff.

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Three betting trends to watch

  • The OVER for total points has hit in 11 of the last 12 games combined for Dayton and Nevada.
  • The Wolf Pack have covered in six of their last eight but did lose their last contest, where they were a single-digit spread favorite.
  • The Flyers offense has been great, scoring at least 72 points in five of their last six games.

Dayton Flyers key players

  • Flyers star DaRon Holmes is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder. The 6-foot-10 junior averages 20.4 PPG, good for the top 30 in the nation, and grabs 8.4 RPG, top 75 in college hoops. He has been unstoppable down the stretch, scoring 24, 23, 25 and 20 points over his last four games.
  • Nate Santos is the other forward playing most of the minutes down low for Dayton. He averages 12.0 PPG and 6.4 RPG.
  • The only guard to average double figures for the Flyers, Kody Brea (10.9 PPG), is also very efficient, shooting 50.% from the field.

Nevada Wolf Pack key players

  • The Wolf Pack’s leading scorer Jarod Lucas can fill it up, averaging 17.8 PPG. The 6-foot-4 senior averages 17.8 PPG, top-100 in the country, and has ended the season on a high note. He has scored 18 or more points in nine straight games while hitting at least two threes during that run.
  • Kenan Blackshear, the other elite scoring guard for Nevada, averages 15.1 PPG but scores it much more efficiently, shooting 49.9% from the field, 7.2% higher than Jarod Lucas.
  • Nick Davidson, the team’s leading rebounder (7.3 PPG) and third-leading scorer (12.1 PPG), will be an important piece as he will often be tasked with guarding DaRon Holmes and Nate Santos. 

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Best individual matchup: Jarod Lucas vs. DaRon Holmes

While they won’t match up directly, the player who can score efficiently and provide steady production for their team will give their squad an edge. Holmes is more efficient on paper, but when playing on the frontcourt, he depends on his teammates to get him the ball. The guard play for Nevada is their strength, and their ability to create for themselves could be the difference in the matchup.

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Dayton vs. Nevada stat to know

Dayton only has six players averaging double digits for playing time. Nevada has eight players that average double-digit minutes. That will give the Wolf Pack an advantage late in the game when their players are a little fresher. After a long season and the travel involved in the NCAA Tournament, depth will play a key role in many matchups.

Dayton vs. Nevada prediction: Wolfpacks guards help pull off the upset

Guard play wins in the postseason, and the Wolf Pack have a distinct advantage in the backcourt. That, plus Nevada’s depth, is why we are projecting them to win and cover the spread against Dayton.

Prediction: Nevada 71, Dayton 67. Nevada (-1.5) covers the spread, with the game going OVER the total (136.5).

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