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Hilltoppers vs. Golden Eagles Betting Trends College Hoops Men’s Tourney, 1st Round

The second-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles are a big favorite in the NCAA basketball lines despite injury concerns when they meet the No. 15 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in the first round of the South Regional Friday in Indianapolis.

Marquette senior guard Tyler Kolek (15 points, 7.6 assists) is expected to return from an oblique injury that forced him to miss the last six games. Golden Eagles forward Oso Ighodaro (14.0 points, 6.9 rebounds) is also questionable with a knee injury.

Hilltoppers vs. Golden Eagles Betting Trends College Hoops Men’s Tourney, 1st Round
Hilltoppers vs. Golden Eagles Betting Trends College Hoops Men’s Tourney, 1st Round

Kolek’s absence led to a 3-3 record over the last six games, but Marquette did make the Big East tournament final before losing to Connecticut without their floor general. Kam Jones has led the Golden Eagles while averaging 21 points the last four games.



Western Kentucky won three in a row to take the Conference USA tournament, topping UTEP 78-71 in the title game. The Hilltoppers were just 8-8 in regular-season conference play, but averages 80.6 points.

Marquette is +450 to reach the NCAA Final Four in the Las Vegas odds.


Game Information

  • Game: Western Kentucky (22-11) vs Marquette (25-9)
  • Day/Time: Friday, March 22, 2:00 p.m. ET
  • Location: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
  • Western Kentucky vs Marquette Live Stream: TBS.com


The Golden Eagles are a 14 ½-point favorite and -1300 on the moneyline in the NCAAB odds against the Hilltoppers in the South Regional on Friday in Indianapolis. The only previous meeting was in the opening round of the 1976 NCAA Tournament when Marquette won 79-60 in Dayton, Ohio. The Golden Eagles are 11-7 in away or neutral site games while the Hilltoppers are 10-9.


Western Kentucky vs Marquette Odds and Spreads


  • Over bettors are 5-1 at the sportsbook in the last six Western Kentucky games, but just 15-15 on the season.
  • The Golden Eagles are 1-5 ATS in their last six NCAA Tournament games.
  • Hilltoppers junior guard Don McHenry averaged 21.5 points in the last two games and a team-best 15.2 on the season.
  • Marquette junior forward David Joplin averaged 12.7 points in the Big East tournament – almost two above his season mark.
  • Western Kentucky is 19-11 ATS this season, including 4-0 in the last four games, if you bet sports online.
  • The under is 14-3 in the Golden Eagles’ last 17 neutral site games as a favorite.
  • The Hilltoppers have covered the spread in 17 of their last 25 contests.
  • Marquette has hit the first half moneyline in 14 of its past 21 outings.


Over/Under Pick: Under 158

Kolek’s returns should spark Marquette’s offense and the Hilltoppers average more than 80 points per game. But we think the number is just a bit too high in the NCAA Tournament pressure cooker.



ATS Pick: Western Kentucky +14 ½

This may be one of the more difficult college basketball spreads to call on Friday. The Golden Eagles could come out flying with Kolek, and Western Kentucky was 8-8 in its conference during the regular season. That is just a lot of points.

McHenry will have to get a lot of help from his supporting group for the Hilltoppers to stay close. The Hilltoppers don’t seem to have an answer for Jones and the Golden Eagles boast more dependable scoring depth

We’re not expecting any upset here unless Kolek and Ighodaro are not available. Even if so, Jones and Joplin would lead a capable cast.



Player Prop Pick: David Joplin 6+ rebounds in Marquette win (+136)

David Joplin had 20 rebounds in three Big East tournament games and the Hilltoppers are 27th in the nation in shots per game (62.7).




Marquette 82, Western Kentucky 68



Questions Of The Day


Which team is likely to grab the most rebounds?

Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are 19th in the nation in rebounds per game and Marquette is 307th.

Will Marquette’s Stevie Mitchell score in double figures?

Yes. Mitchell averaged 11 points in the Big East tournament, more than two points above his season mark.


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