Skip to main content

March Madness 2024: Betting Breakdown for Wednesday’s First Four Games

No. 16 Montana State is favored over No. 16 Grambling State while No. 10 Colorado is projected to beat No. 10 Boise State in Wednesday’s games in Dayton.

The final two spots in the Round of 64 will be decided Wednesday evening in Dayton, Ohio, on the second night of the First Four.

The No. 16 seed in the Midwest Region is up for grabs as Grambling State and Montana State are battling it out for the right to play No. 1 Purdue. Elsewhere in the bracket, the No. 10 seed in the South will be decided when Colorado plays Boise State with the winner advancing to face No. 7 Florida.

(Odds via FanDuel.)

No. 16 Grambling State Tigers vs. No. 16 Montana State Bobcats

Game Info: 6:40 p.m. ET | truTV
Spread: Grambling State +3.5 (-105) | Montana State -3.5 (-115)
Moneyline: GRAM (+146) | MTST (-178)
Total: 134.5 — Over (-110) | Under (-100)

Montana State guard Robert Ford III

MontanaState guard Robert Ford III averages 15.9 points per game and is third in the nation in steals.

Grambling State earned a spot in the Big Dance for the first time ever this season. The Tigers won the SWAC tournament Saturday against Texas Southern, 75–66, to cap off a truly impressive run. Grambling is 18–4 since Jan. 1 following a 3–10 start and 9–1 over its last 10. The Tigers’ lone loss came in double overtime against Alabama State, a team they beat in the SWAC tournament in their very next game. Montana State is making its 13th March Madness appearance and first since 2019 after beating in-state rival Montana in the Big Sky tournament title game.

The winner of Wednesday’s game will face No. 1 Purdue, which infamously lost to No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson a season ago. The Knights went from the First Four in Dayton to upsetting a No. 1 seed, a blueprint the Tigers and Bobcats both hope to follow come Friday.

Grambling played a brutal non-conference schedule, which explains why it began the season with such a poor record. Before SWAC play began, the Tigers played — and lost to — six tournament teams: Colorado, Iowa State, Dayton, Washington State, Drake and Florida. Grambling State is one of the lowest-scoring teams in the country (67.6 ppg) and is extremely loose with the ball, committing 13.4 turnovers per game. Guards Kintavious Dozier (13.1 ppg) and Tra’Michael Moton (11.8 ppg) are the team’s top scorers. Though the Tigers have a negative point differential on the year (-1.4), they have a sound defense that surrenders just 69 points per game.

Montana State has a bit more going for it offensively, though its schedule does not stack up to Grambling State’s. The Bobcats went 1–2 against Quad 1 and 2 teams and lost to the two tournament teams they played: Long Beach State and South Dakota State. Opponents have to respect Montana State from beyond the arc as the team shoots just under 37% from deep and makes nine threes per game. Robert Ford III (15.9 ppg) shoots better than 42% from three-point land and threes account for a decent portion of the Bobcats’ 75.1 points per game average. Montana State just barely has a positive point differential, allowing 74.1 points per game. The Bobcats do have active hands as their 8.2 steals per game are tied for the 40th-most in the country — Ford ranks third nationally with 2.94.

Though Grambling State is battle tested, it does not have enough scoring options to keep pace with Montana State. The Bobcats’ shooting and playmaking ability, specifically that of Ford, will be the difference in this game. While Montana State’s 3–8 record as a favorite against the spread is concerning, the Bobcats have covered five of their last six games — each time as an underdog.

Bet: Montana State -3.5 (-110)

No. 10 Colorado Buffaloes vs. No. 10 Boise State Broncos

Game Info: 9:10 p.m. ET | truTV
Spread: Colorado -2.5 (-105) | Boise State +2.5 (-115)
Moneyline: COLO (-144) | BOIS (+120)
Total: 140.5 — Over (-110) | Under (-110)

Colorado guard KJ Simpson

Guard KJ Simpson is Colorado’s leading scorer (19.6 points per game).

Colorado got hot at the right time and almost won the final Pac-12 tournament. Though the Buffaloes lost to Oregon in the title game, 74–66, they still won eight of their final nine games to match the most wins in school history and earn a spot in the field of 68 for the first time since 2021. Boise State, making its third straight March Madness appearance, was one-and-done in the Mountain West tournament after a 76–66 loss to New Mexico in the quarterfinals.

The Broncos and Buffs have matching 24-10 records and are neck-and-neck in the NET rankings — Colorado (25th) is a spot ahead of Boise State (26th) and that gap is a bit more pronounced on KenPom. The winner of Wednesday’s game draws the No. 7 Gators in the Round of 64 on Friday.

The Buffs boast an extremely efficient offense and there’s a lot to like about them on that side of the ball. They’re 50th in scoring average (79.3 ppg), ninth in field goal percentage (49.3), sixth in three-point percentage (39.4) and 17th in free throw percentage (77.8) Led by KJ Simpson (19.6 ppg on 48/87/45 shooting splits), five Colorado players average 10-plus points per game. Though turnovers are a bit of an issue for the Buffs (12.7), they do play sound defense on the other end of the floor, allowing 71.2 points per game and holding opponents to 31.8% from three.

The Broncos have often been able to fall back on their defense to win games, but don’t ignore the offensive talent on this team. Tyson Degenhart (17 ppg) leads the team in scoring and Chibuzo Agbo (13.6 pgg, 41.7% from three) is a lights-out shooter. Boise State averages a respectable 75.8 points per game as a team and takes better care of the ball than Colorado. Both teams have similar rebounding profiles and top-20 margins on the glass this season, so the battle on the boards is one to watch. Where the Broncos separate themselves is on defense as they allow only 67.5 points per game and hold teams to 31.1% shooting from beyond the arc.

The over hits at a high rate for Colorado (20–14) and more often than not in Boise State games (16–14). In the last few weeks, both the Broncos and Buffs have seen the over hit in games with totals in the 150s, so combining for over 140 points is an easy enough ask for these two teams.

Bet: Over 140.5 (-110)

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the National Council for Problem Gambling 1-800-522-4700. The Arena Media Brands, LLC and its partners may receive compensation for links to products and services on this website.