Arizona State Sun Devils vs Nevada Wolfpack: March Madness Betting Preview

Nevada Hopes to Avenge Early MWC Tournament Exit

No one wants to play in, NCAA’s first four-out casualty but both teams need to regain earlier momentum. Arizona looks to regain the early momentum that they enjoyed starting the season as winners of their first 11 of 12 games. It was a 3-point loss at San Francisco that started a string of inconsistent results. The Sun Devils then lost 10 of 19 regular season games before winning their first two games of the Pac-12 Tournament before dropping a 78-59 decision to Arizona. It was a similar path for the Pack. After winning 7 of their first 8, the Wolfpack closed the season losing 4 of 7, including a first-round Mountain West Conference Tournament loss to San Jose State, 81-77, as a 4-point favorite. The chances of a perfect March Madness bracket are remote but we’re confident that our selection on this play-in game will cash.

Arizona State Sun Devils vs Nevada Wolfpack

Date & Time & Streaming:
Location: Dayton,West Ohio

Sun Devils to Lean on Top 15 Defense

  • If you want to know why the Sun Devils are in the play-in game despite playing .500 ball after an 11-1 start, look no further than a ferocious defense that has forced opponents into shooting less than 40% this season. The problem is, they’ll be going up against a Wolfpack defense that feels they’re just as good, likely forcing ASU to find their offensive consistency. This is the 17th time Arizona State has reached the ‘Big Dance’ with their last appearance coming in 2019, where they lost in the second round to Buffalo, 91-74. In 1995, ASU reached the Sweet 16 before losing to Kentucky 97-73. Unfortunately, the Devils had their tournament wiped from the books after a major point-shaving scandal was uncovered. Beforehand, 1975 was the last deep run for Arizona State when they reached the Sweet 16, losing to UCLA, 80-75. They are in the tournament for the third time under Head Coach Bobby Hurley. Let’s continue our ASU vs Nevada preview by looking at how ASU was selected.

How The Sun Devils Got Here

Arizona State’s two late wins over Arizona and USC to go with earlier wins against Michigan, Creighton, and VCU likely pushed them into this match-up with the Wolfpack. Since February 1st, the Sun Devils are 7-5 but to bettors, they’ve been a difficult play-in team after producing a less-than-stellar 5-7 record ATS in that span. Overall, ASU was just 13-18 ATS this season and 4-12 as a favorite. Over the last four seasons combined, the Sun Devils are 47-58 (44.76%) against the number and 6-8-1 ATS on neutral courts. Since 2017-18, the Sun Devils are 3-5 ATS in tournament games.

How Far Can Arizona State Go?

We anticipate not very far after already putting some cash into the Nevada Wolfpack. Hurley’s team shoots just 42% from the field and 31.3% from beyond the arc, we’re not sure that’s going to get it done against Nevada. Let’s continue our ASU vs Nevada preview by directing our attention to the Wolfpack.

Nevada Last team to Make the Tournament

The Pack will be making their 10th tournament appearance, the first since 2019 when they lost in the first round to Florida, 70-61. Twice in school history (2018, 2004) has the Pack made a deep run in the dance, losing both times in the Sweet 16. It’s being reported that Nevada knocked out Rutgers and Oklahoma State on the back of having a higher NET ranking. This may be the first of a few runs as all Wolfpack players could return next year for fourth-year Head Coach Steve Alford who is 69-49 at Nevada.

How They Got Here

Nevada almost played themselves right out of the tournament after losing their last three games, all as a favorite, including a 2-point overtime loss to UNLV as an 8-point favorite to end the regular season. Alford calls it one bad week, but when your bad week happens when your team is supposed to be playing their best basketball, the Pack are lucky to be dancing. After the loss to the Rebels, the Wolf pack was supposed to have their revenge against San Jose State as a 4-point favorite, but Nevada shot just 38% from the field causing them to drop their first-round game, 81-77, in overtime.

How Far Will They Go

With a win, Nevada will get TCU in the first round. We expect that will be a competitive game but it will be the last for the Pack in the 2022/2023 season. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, remember, only five times since the tournament went to a 64-team format in 1985 has all four six seeds swept their games. Perhaps either ASU or Nevada will surprise the 11th-seed Horned Frogs.

Handicapping the Game

As stated before, We don’t think the Sun Devils are consistent enough on offense to move on to the next round. Nevada holds opponents to 41.6% shooting, which should serve them well against ASU whose top three scorers all are under 40% FGs for the year.

To open the betting, the public has made a slight statement with 86% of the spread money coming in on Arizona State. That hasn’t been enough to move the number which is holding steady at ASU -1.5. There are some -1 and -2s if you’re inclined to shop in the desert. -UPDATE: (ASU -2, -110)

The total has moved slightly to 133.5 after opening 134 and the moneyline is holding steady at -120 (UPDATE) ML NOW AT -135 (Sun Devils).

With 92% of the early money on the over, we recommend getting on this game now because you’re getting an adjusted number that will go up if betting trends continue. That concludes our ASU vs. Nevada play-in preview, best of luck the rest of the way.


Last Updated: 03/13/2023 Teams
Spread: Arizona State -1.5 (-105) UPDATE: -2 -110
Total: 133.5
Moneyline: Arizona State -120, Nevada Even
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