March Madness First Round Parlay Picks: 2024 NCAA Tournament Day 2 Mega Parlay

New Mexico Lobos guard Donovan Dent (2) calls out a play against the Wyoming Cowboys during the second half at Arena-Auditorium.
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Caleb Wilfinger


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Deputy Editor for Pickswise with years of experience handicapping and giving out winning picks. Lover of all US sports and Southampton FC. For Caleb Wilfinger media enquiries, please email
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The first two days of the NCAA Tournament always feels like Christmas morning to college basketball fans. Considering the drama and intrigue we’ve seen in recent years, I couldn’t be more excited for this edition of March Madness to finally get underway. And what better way to celebrate a massive 16-game college hoops slate on Friday than with a mega parlay? That’s right; I have crafted an NCAAB parlay for today’s games that pays out at nearly 9/1 odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Let’s dive in, but make sure you also check out our college basketball picks for EVERY game throughout March Madness.

New Mexico ML (-137)

Colorado ML (+100)

James Madison ML (+180)

NCAAB Parlay odds: +869

New Mexico Lobos ML over Clemson Tigers (-137)

Most college basketball bettors would argue that New Mexico is the better of these teams, and oddsmakers knew it when they made the 11th-seeded Lobos the favorite over the 6th-seeded Tigers in this matchup. The Lobos are very strong metrically (23rd in KenPom) and just ran through the Mountain West Conference tournament to get to this point, while Clemson has dropped 3 of its last 4 — including a 19-point loss to a rather hapless Boston College team in the ACC Tournament. Momentum isn’t the only thing that matters, but it clearly favors one team in this one.

New Mexico plays at one of the top-10 fastest paces in the country, while its defense applies a lot of pressure and speeds up the opponent on the other end. The other thing this Lobos team does well is force a ton of turnovers while valuing the basketball and avoiding turnovers thanks to a veteran backcourt that has plenty of big-game experience. Lastly, the Lobos are the better rebounding team, which could be massive in a close game where every possession has an outsized importance compared to the regular season. I love the Lobos in this spot, so let’s take New Mexico to advance on the money line.

Check out our full New Mexico vs Clemson predictions

Colorado Buffaloes ML over Florida Gators (+100)

Colorado enters this game on the high of a great defensive performance, as the Buffaloes held Boise State to .88 points per possession, 43% from 2-point range and 11% from the perimeter in Wednesday’s win over the Broncos. Boise State’s Max Rice and Tyson Degenhart were particularly inefficient against the Colorado defense, combining to shoot 4/19 from the field and score just 8 points. On the other side of the ball, the trio of KJ Simpson, Trisan da Silva and Eddie Lampkin predictably led the Buffaloes offense, scoring 52 combined points out of Colorado’s 60 in this victory. The Buffaloes should feast in the paint against a Florida team that will be without starting center Micah Handlogten due to a leg injury he sustained in the SEC championship game.

Handlogten’s absence absence reduces Florida’s dominance on the boards by a healthy margin, as the Gator offensive rebounding rate drops 7% when he is off the floor per Hoop-Explorer. Not only will Colorado have the edge on the boards, but the Buffaloes should also control the pace and tempo of the game while remaining dominant on the defensive end (top 25 in defensive efficiency per BartTorvik). If the Gators’ guards aren’t hitting shots from the outside consistently, I expect the Buffaloes to move on to the Round of 32 and continue the trend of teams having success following a win in the First Four.

Check out our full Colorado vs Florida predictions

James Madison Dukes ML over Wisconsin Badgers (+180)

There is a clear path to victory for James Madison as the underdog in this game and that’s largely due to how Wisconsin plays and what that will enable the Dukes to do on both ends of the floor. On one side, Wisconsin has the well-earned reputation of being technical and methodical on offense. Conversely, James Madison plays at a much faster tempo and attempts a ton of 3-pointers, which introduces a ton of variance into this game, especially because the Dukes are capable of getting hot from beyond the arc and the Badgers have not defended the perimeter well this season.

On the other side of the ball, James Madison is a high-pressure defense that very much needs to create turnovers in order to be consistently successful. The Dukes did just that in the regular season, allowing opponents to shoot a stingy 28.8% from beyond the arc and forcing a whopping 14.4 turnovers per game. Therefore, the most likely scenario for this matchup is that this game is decided on whether James Madison can force enough turnovers to generate easy buckets, or if Wisconsin can defend the three-point line effectively against this Dukes offense. At this price, it’s hard not to take a shot on the Dukes money line given their talent, experience and results this season.

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