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NCAA Tournament: Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Texas A&M Aggies Betting Preview

The first round of the NCAA Tournament kicks off Thursday, and the Midwest Region will see an interesting matchup as the No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions (22-13) take on the No. 7 Texas A&M Aggies (25-9). This game will be played at the Wells Fargo Arena, with tipoff scheduled for 9:55 pm ET.

The Aggies are the favorites in this one. They are -152 to win, while the Nittany Lions’ money line sits at +126. The spread features Penn State as 2.5-point underdogs (-102), and the over/under for total points is 134.5.

Penn State Looks To Stay Hot

Penn State comes into this one having won five of their last six games, including a two-point loss to top-seeded Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament. Having been red hot to end the season, the Nittany Lions will look to pick up another win as underdogs in this matchup.

Penn State enters play ranked 136th in the nation on offense, averaging 72.3 points per game. They are averaging 68.6 on the road this year. Leading the way for the Nittany Lions is senior guard Jalen Pickett. One of the best players in the nation, Pickett has averaged 17.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game. He is also shooting 51.6% from the field.

Penn State has two others averaging double digits in guards Seth Lundy (14.4 points, 6.3 rebounds) and Andrew Funk (12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds). On the defensive end, Penn State ranks 115th overall, allowing opponents an average of 68.4 points per game.

Slighted Aggies Hope To Make Deep Tournament Run

After finishing 25-9 overall and second in the SEC, the Texas A&M Aggies certainly felt slighted when they were handed the seventh seed overall. Coming off of a loss to top-ranked Alabama in their last game of the SEC Tournament, they will look to use that chip on their shoulder to try to make a deep run in the tournament.

The Aggies are solid on the defensive end. They rank 54th overall in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 66.2 points per game. On the offensive side, they rank 112th in the nation, averaging 73.2 points per game. Sophomore guard Wade Taylor IV leads the Aggies, averaging 16.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, and four assists per game.

Other contributors for Texas A&M include Tyrece Radford (13.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists), Henry Coleman III (9.2 points, 5.7 rebounds), Dexter Dennis (9.2 points, 5.7 rebounds), and Julius Marble (9.2 points, 4.2 rebounds).

Take Penn State And The Points

Penn State comes into this one 5-1 both straight up and against the spread in their last six games. While they are 2-8 in their last ten games versus SEC teams, they are 8-0 against the spread in their last eight games as underdogs.

For Texas A&M, they are 10-2 straight up and against the spread in their last 12 games. Against the Big Ten, they are 1-4 in their previous five games. As favorites, they are undefeated against the spread in their last nine matchups.

This should be an excellent battle, but don’t discount a solid Penn State team that starts five seniors and has shown they can play with the toughest of competition as of late. While it remains to be seen if they can pull off the upset, there is a lot of value in taking Penn State and the 2.5 points (-102).

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