Betting the East Region

The Davidson Wildcats are a scary team for Marquette in the opening round. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

I'm taking a page from my colleague Dave Tuley's excellent betting previews of the West and Midwest Regions that were posted on ESPN Insider on Tuesday and taking a look at the East and South regions from a gambling slant today.

While I'll offer a pick on every game, like Dave I'll mark my best bets with an asterisk (*), so you'll know what games I'll be betting (or have already bet) with my own money here in Vegas.

Here's my breakdown for the East Region:

Betting the NCAA tournament:


EAST REGIONAL (in bracket order)

No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers vs. No. 16 James Madison Dukes

Vegas consensus line: Indiana minus-21
PickCenter breakdown

James Madison has at least one edge in this matchup: The Dukes have played and won on this floor in Dayton already, taking care of business against Boise State on Wednesday. Unlike the other three teams that won at this venue, the Dukes don't have to travel -- staying in the same hotel, practicing on the same court. For a team that is tied with Iowa for the best point spread record in the country this season (22-10 ATS), those little edges have added up all season. But James Madison hasn't faced a team from one of the "power six" conferences since losing by 30 at UCLA on the opening night of the season. The Dukes defend well, but lack interior size. Leading rebounder Rayshawn Goins is thick and muscular, but he's just 6-foot-6. That's bad news against Indiana's low-post duo of Cody Zeller and Christian Watford. The Hoosiers' ability to control the paint on both ends of the court against lesser competition is a big part of the reason they've been so good as a big favorite this season -- 9-3 ATS when laying 15 points or more. That's a trend worth riding again.

The ATS pick: Indiana

No. 8 North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. No. 9 Temple Owls

Vegas consensus line: NC State minus-4
PickCenter breakdown