For the first time in recent memory, the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament is generating more excitement and hype than the men’s version. The women deserve it in 2024, because there is so much talent in their game right now, and this year’s event will be a treat for all basketball fans. The biggest names in women’s college hoops won’t be participating in the First Four play-in round on Wednesday and Thursday nights, since they are already in the 64-team field. However, there is still plenty of reason to look forward to the two initial games, because any one of several players on these eight teams’ rosters could be the sport’s next big star.

Best Women's College Basketball Parlays Today – Wednesday, March 20 and Thursday, March 21: 4-Leg Parlay Picks (+1365)

Leg 1 Parlay Pick: Presbyterian vs Sacred Heart Over 115.5 (-110)

Leg 2 Parlay Pick: Columbia vs Vanderbilt Over 138.5 (-110)

Leg 3 Parlay Pick: Auburn ML (+105)

Leg 4 Parlay Pick: Tennessee Martin vs Holy Cross Over 117.5 (-105)

WOMEN'S MARCH MADNESS PARLAY PICK @ (+1360): Bet $10 to Win $146

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Best Women's March Madness First Four Bets Today

Presbyterian vs. Sacred Heart Prediction and Pick

Presbyterian and Sacred Heart will tip off the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament on Wednesday night when they face one another in the first of the First Four play-in games. The point spread between these two teams is the largest of any First Four game, and I can understand why.

Presbyterian is like a different team when it plays away from its home court in Clinton, S.C. The Blue Hose average 64.1 points per game at home, but only 52.6 points per game on the road. Sacred Heart, on the other hand, is more consistent, because the Pioneers average 68.3 points per game at home and 65.5 points per game on the road.

Based on Presbyterian’s struggles away from home, it therefore feels as though Sacred Heart might win this game by a large margin. However, Presbyterian has scorers -- with three starters averaging double-digit point totals. The trio of Tilda Sjokvist, Bryanna Brady, and Mara Neira will look to carry Presbyterian into the next round.

Sacred Heart also has a slew of scorers, led by Ny’Ceara Pryor, who averages 18.9 points per game and will be a matchup nightmare in this one. The Pioneers have averaged 72.3 points over their last 10 games, which is an uptick in scoring from an overall season average of 66.7 points per game.

It should be a game that Sacred Heart runs away with, but Presbyterian’s shooting ability from behind the arc has me taking the over in this one.

The Pick: Over 115.5 (-110)

Columbia vs. Vanderbilt Prediction and Pick

Columbia and Vanderbilt will take center stage in the First Four’s second matchup on Wednesday night, and if you like scoring, then this will be your game. Both teams have three starters averaging double-digit point totals this season, so the table is set for a high-scoring game.

The Lions are averaging 76 points per game this season, which is the 25th best mark in women’s college basketball. They are led by guard Abbey Hsu, who averages 20.6 points per game and has scored at least 20 points 18 times this season. She will look to have another big night on Wednesday.

Vanderbilt isn’t too far behind when it comes to scoring, because the Commodores average 68.5 points per game this season. They have a well-balanced attack with Iyana Moore, Jordyn Cambridge, and Sacha Washington, and they will expose Columbia’s defense on Wednesday night.

In fact, neither of these teams plays great defense -- or even competent defense at times -- so expect a lot of scoring on Wednesday. I could see either team winning this game. On the one hand, Hsu will be virtually unguardable, but on the other, Columbia’s defense is a concern, so give me the over in this one.

The Pick: Over 138.5 (-110)

Arizona vs. Auburn Prediction and Pick

The battle between Arizona and Auburn will likely be the best matchup of the First Four, at least in terms of talent across the board. Columbia and Sacred Heart might have the play-in round’s best individual players in the Lions’ Abbey Hsu or the Pioneers’ Ny’Ceara Pryor, but the Wildcats and Tigers have the best overall teams among those playing First Four games.

Auburn already struggled against a Pac-12 team this season when the Tigers were embarrassed by California 67-53. Cal is a team Arizona beat twice by scores of 66-55 and 87-68. So, Auburn gets a shot at redemption against the Pac-12 in this game.

Based on their performances against a common opponent, it might seem that Arizona is the better play here. After all, the Wildcats didn’t even struggle against California, a team that handled Auburn easily. However, I would ask anyone thinking along those lines to pump the brakes here. While the Pac-12 has been great this year, the SEC is just as good if not better.

Auburn is great defensively -- forcing 20.5 turnovers per game this season to rank 15th in the nation. The Tigers also defeated the defending national champion LSU team 67-62, battled with unbeaten South Carolina for a half, and almost upset LSU again toward the end of the season. Give me Auburn in this matchup, because the wrong team is favored here.

The Pick: Auburn ML (+105)

Tennessee Martin vs. Holy Cross Prediction and Pick

The last of the First Four matchups on Thursday pits Tennessee Martin against Holy Cross. This should certainly be an interesting game, as UT Martin’s balanced scoring attack goes up against the Crusaders’ top 20 defense.

It’s worth noting that Holy Cross’ defense was much better at home this season than on the road. The Crusaders allowed 52.5 points per game at home, compared to 60.3 points per game as a visiting team. Since this game takes place at a neutral site -- and given Tennessee Martin’s scoring ability -- I think Holy Cross is going to be in for a tough test.

UT Martin is led by Kenley McCarn and Anaya Brown, who both average more than 15 points per game. The Skyhawks can really shoot the ball, too, with freshmen McCarn and Norah Clark both connecting at 37.8 percent from 3-point range this season.

Holy Cross is known for its defense, but the Crusaders can also score. Bronagh Power-Cassidy leads the team with 16.8 points per game and is shooting 40.3 percent from behind the arc this season. Two other players, Cara McCormack and Janelle Allen, also average double-digit point totals. The Crusaders could score as many as 70 points in this one.

I realize that Holy Cross has been great defensively this season, but this game isn’t being played in Massachusetts, and the Crusaders have yet to face a team like UT Martin. Give me the over.

The Pick: Over 117.5 (-105)

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