The best part of the women's college basketball season is finally here! It’s tournament time, so let the Madness begin. There are 64 schools that have fought all season long to make it to this point. Now, they will battle one another in win-or-go-home games until just one is left standing. Let’s dive into some first-round matchups to determine which teams will survive and advance.

Best College Basketball Parlays Today - March 23: 4-Leg Parlay Picks (+481)

Leg 1 Parlay Pick: Tennessee ML (-330)

Leg 2 Parlay Pick: Holy Cross vs Iowa Over 153.5 (-115)

Leg 3 Parlay Pick: USC -32.5 (-110)

Leg 4 Parlay Pick: Utah ML (-400)

NCAAW PARLAY PICK @(+481 odds): Bet $10 to Win $58.13

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Best March Madness First-Round Bets Today

Green Bay vs. Tennessee Prediction and Pick

The Tennessee Volunteers survived the SEC this season and are battle-tested coming into this year’s NCAA Tournament. However, they have drawn a tough first-round opponent in Green Bay, a team that is also battle-tested coming into this game.

Green Bay ran through the Horizon Conference this season, but more important is the fact that the Phoenix took care of business in non-conference play by upsetting Creighton and Washington State. Green Bay has made a name for itself all season long with defense -- forcing turnovers on 20 percent of its opponents’ possessions. Meanwhile, the Phoenix turn the ball over only 14.3 percent of the time when they are on offense – the eighth-best mark in the nation.

While Green Bay has the foundation to upset Tennessee -- and other teams – because of its ability to force turnovers and take care of the ball, this Lady Vols team has gone up against some of the best competition in college basketball this season, so don’t expect it to lay down here. Look for Tennessee to control the pace, slow this game down, and execute its offense with great efficiency.

Indeed, if it weren’t for South Carolina forward Kamilla Cardoso’s first ever successful 3-point shot, Tennessee would have faced LSU in the SEC Tournament’s championship game. Give me Tennessee to win this one outright, since the Vols will be looking to avenge their 74-73 loss to the Gamecocks.

The Pick: Tennessee ML (-330)

Holy Cross vs. Iowa Prediction and Pick

Holy Cross had a statement win in its First Four game on Thursday night, beating Tennessee Martin 72-45 while putting on a show with its high-powered offense. Guard Cara McCormack, who is shooting 35.4 percent from 3-point range this season, went 7-for-10 from behind the arc against the Skyhawks.

The Crusaders must now face the Iowa Hawkeyes who are famously led by college basketball’s all-time leading scorer, Caitlin Clark. This is a game that Iowa should win, but Holy Cross will go down fighting.

Being a 36.5-point underdog seems like too much for Holy Cross, which is very capable of scoring. On the other hand, there are some athletes you just don’t bet against. That group includes Patrick Mahomes, the late Kobe Bryant, Tom Brady, and … Caitlin Clark. So, I’ll be looking at wagering on the over/under total on this one.

This game has the highest over/under of any women’s first-round game, and that makes sense because Iowa could flirt with the century mark, and Holy Cross could break 70 points again.

The Crusaders were tough defensively at home this season -- allowing 52.5 points per game, compared to 60.3 points per game as a visiting team. They held UT Martin to 45 points on Thursday night, but Iowa’s team plays on a much higher level than UT Martin’s. The Hawkeyes led the nation in scoring with 92.8 points per game this season, so expect another 90 to 100 points. This total will fly over for our first leg.

The Pick: Over 153.5 (-115)

Texas A&M Corpus Christi vs. USC Prediction and Pick

The Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders did their thing in the Southland Conference this year, and as a result, they have earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament. However, that prize wasn’t particularly rewarding, since the Islanders must open the tournament against a USC Trojans team that is ready to shock the world.

Southern Cal enters this tournament preaching “don’t pick us” as a shot at its critics, who had picked the Trojans to finish sixth in the Pac-12. Some preseason skeptics didn’t even think USC would reach the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans used that disrespect as fuel for their 26-5 season, which demonstrated that no one should have written them off like that.

I feel bad for the Islanders here, because Corpus Christi going to face an angry USC team that will look to take that anger out on the Islanders from the opening minute. I don’t normally like picking big spreads in anything, but laying the points with USC here is the play. Look for USC to feed off freshman sensation JuJu Watkins, who is coming off her worst game of the season (nine points).

What makes this USC team that much scarier is the fact that even though Watkins failed to reach a double-digit point total, the Trojans still beat Stanford convincingly in the Pac-12 title game.

Look for Watkins, McKenzie Forbes, Rayah Marshall, and the rest of this Trojans team to come out hot in the opening round. They might be telling everyone not to pick them, but I’ve been riding with the Trojans all season long. Give me USC to cover.

The Pick: USC -32.5 (-110)

South Dakota State vs. Utah Prediction and PickWhile there are some teams from outside of the “Power 5” conferences in this tournament that could stir up the bracket with an upset, South Dakota State is not one of them. Unlike other underdogs from smaller conferences in this year’s NCAA Tournament, South Dakota State disappeared on offense this season, and the Jackrabbits looked like a fish out of water in non-conference play.

Utah, meanwhile, is battle-tested after going toe-to-toe with South Carolina earlier in the season and competing in a Pac-12 Conference loaded with talent this year. Since the Utes managed to battle South Carolina and Stanford, while upsetting USC twice, they will surely have no problems with South Dakota State on Saturday night. The Utes have averaged 78 points per game and only allowed opponents 61.8 points per game – and they have done that against teams that primarily come from major conferences.  

South Dakota State will try to get leading scorer Brooklyn Meyer going in this game, but Utah already shut down one of the best bigs in women’s basketball when the Utes faced Stanford’s Cameron Brink earlier this season and should have no difficulty shutting down Meyer on Saturday night.

Give me Utah to win a game that could get ugly.

The Pick: Utah ML (-400)

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