Mens NCAA tournament first-round best bets and futures

March Madness is alive and well, which means plenty of betting opportunities. Our experts — ESPN analysts Doug Kezirian, “Stanford Steve” Coughlin, Chris “The Bear” Fallica, Joe Fortenbaugh, Dalen Cuff, Erin Dolan and Anita Marks — are here to give their best bets for the first two days of first-round action and offer tournament futures. And be sure to play in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge!

Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

Best bets for Thursday

6. Colorado State Rams (-2.5, 139.5) vs. 11. Michigan Wolverines

South Region: 12:15 p.m. ET, Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis

Stanford Steve’s pick: Michigan -2.5

No conference needs some success in the tournament more than the Mountain West. My fear is it’s not a great matchup for the Rams. With the size Michigan brings to the table in sophomore center Hunter Dickinson (7-foot-1) and freshman big man Moussa Diabate (6-foot-10), I really like the Wolverines’ ability to control this game inside and out. That, along with the idea of Michigan getting another life with an NCAA tourney berth and the game being in Indianapolis, I like the Maize and Blue’s chances to win and cover this game.

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