- San Francisco are 1.5 point underdogs vs Murray State on Thursday, March 17th
- Murray State has won 20 games in a row coming into this First Round matchup
- Read below for San Francisco vs Murray State odds, predictions and best pick
While one of their most famous basketball alums, Ja Morant is making his case for an NBA MVP trophy, his Murray State Racers (30-2, 16-12-1 ATS) are hoping to go on a long run in the NCAA tournament beginning with their First Round opponent, the San Francisco Dons (24-9, 13-18-1 ATS) who are making their first tournament appearance this century.
It’s a 10 vs 7 seed matchup that will have a lot of people simply guessing when they fill out their March Madness bracket, but we’ll break down a few trends to give you some insight for this one. This game is scheduled to go at 9:40 pm ET on Thursday, March 17th, from Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and can be watched on CBS.
Let’s take a look at all the odds between San Francisco and Murray State while studying our best bet for this first round matchup.
San Francisco vs Murray State Odds
|San Francisco||+104||+1.5 (-109)||O 136.5 (-113)|
|Murray State||-124||-1.5 (-110)||U 136.5 (-107)|
Odds as of March 16th at Barstool Sportsbook.
After a stellar 30-2 season in which they went undefeated in their conference, the Racers have been made 1.5-point favorites over the Dons in a game that oddsmakers have essentially deemed a coin flip. The total sits at 136.5 for two teams who have both scored 70-plus points in four consecutive games.
San Francisco Dons Betting Analysis
One thing is for sure, the Dons have faced much stiffer competition in the West Coast Conference than Murray State has seen this season. San Francisco lost their conference semifinal to Gonzaga, a team who has the best odds to win March Madness of any team in the nation at +300 right now.
— USF Men's Basketball (@USFDonsMBB) March 13, 2022
In that contest, national player of the year candidates Chet Holmgren and Drew Timme, who are both top 10 in the Wooden Award odds, combined for 39 points on 69.6% shooting from the field to eliminate the Dons.
Although they are a mid-major team, San Francisco has played against the best and proved to be competitive no matter who the opponent, like Gonzaga–three times. All eyes will be on guard Jamaree Bouyea, who is averaging just under 17 points per game for the Dons.
Potential March Madness breakout stars: Jamaree Bouyea from San Francisco 🔥
— SLAM University (@slam_university) March 15, 2022
The advanced stats point to a much better squad than a 10 seed would indicate. They rank 21st in the KenPom overall efficiency rankings, which is the highest ranking of any team seeded 7th or lower, while the 7th seeded Racers are 28th overall.
Murray State Racers Betting Analysis
Murray State was dominant in Ohio Valley play this season, rarely even being challenged. At 30-2, they had the best overall record in the entire nation, but because of their weak competition and a strength of schedule ranking that was 237th in the nation, their Final Four odds sit at a long +6000.
7-seeded Murray State is the 2nd-highest seeded OVC team in NCAA Tournament history (Murray State was a 6 seed in 2012). pic.twitter.com/rH6SvFnmV0
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 13, 2022
They only had two quad one wins during the season and 17 in quad four, but obviously having the best record in the country identifies a team that’s hard to beat.
Contrary to their team name, the Racers play at a slow pace on offense, ranking 246th in the country in adjusted tempo according to KenPom. They still manage to score the ball with the best of them thanks to a terrific half-court game that’s helped them average 76.3 points per game, good for 36th in the country.
The offense is led by two upperclassmen who score in much different ways. Forward, KJ Williams is 6’10, 245 pounds and led the team in scoring with 18.2 points per game on 54.4% shooting from the field while attacking the glass with almost three offensive rebounds per game.
KJ Williams (@MxSniperK_) wins the night. An OVC Championship tradition unlike any other. pic.twitter.com/F38R198kM9
— Blake Sandlin (@BlakeSandlin) March 6, 2022
Guard, Tevin Brown is your modern era long range bomber who puts up eight attempts per game from beyond the arc hitting at a 38.9% clip helping him average 16.9 ppg. Brown put up 11 treys and hit three of them in the Racers 71-67 conference championship win over Morehead State.
San Francisco vs Murray State Prediction
This is what makes the tournament so fun and difficult to predict. While the Dons had seven more losses than the Racers this season, the difference in competition was so great that it’s hard to judge who has the edge. When it’s broken down by analytics, like KenPom, they’re overall efficiency rankings are separated by just seven spots.
The Racers two regular season losses were to East Tennessee State and tournament two seed Auburn. Their best victory of the season was over tournament nine seed, Memphis and in 2022 the only team in the top 100 of the KenPom rankings they faced was Belmont.
— Murray State MBB (@RacersHoops) March 15, 2022
The 7-10 matchup is usually a close one with blowouts being the rare occurrence, explaining the tight betting line in this one. Historically, 7 seeds have an 87-57 record in these matchups dating back to 1985 for a winning percentage of .604.
While San Francisco was only 13-18-1 ATS during the season, they are 6-2 in their last eight games and they have the edge here because of their balance and the strength of the teams they played during the season. Take the Dons with the value on the moneyline at Barstool Sportsbook.
The Pick: San Francisco moneyline (+104)
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