Washington State vs. Drake odds, prediction, betting trends for 2024 March Madness first-round matchup | Sporting News


Drake has quickly become a favorite potential Cinderella team in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Many people are taking the Bulldogs to beat Washington State and then Iowa State in the second round. It is not a given that Drake will beat the Cougars, but the storylines are easy to like for the Bulldogs.

Their star player and leading scorer, Tucker DeVries, is the son of the head coach. Drake also knocked off Indiana State, a team many thought could make a run if they made the NCAA Tournament. Don’t overlook Washington State, though; they finished second in the Pac-12 and won 24 games this season. The Cougars also have a dynamic guard-forward duo, each averaging 15-plus points per game.

Here’s everything you need to know about betting on Washington State vs. Drake in the 2024 NCAA Tournament, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for this first-round game.

Washington State vs. Drake odds

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Even though they are the lower seed, Drake is the favorite in this matchup. The line is close, though, and depending on where the money lands, this could be a pick-em by tipoff on Friday.

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Three betting trends to watch

  • Drake has won five consecutive games, covering the spread in four out of five. 
  • Washington State is 3-3 over their last six games and has only covered the spread in two of six. 
  • Drake has played seven games where the spread favored them by five or fewer points, and they were 5-2 in those contests.

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Washington State Cougars key players

  • Isaac Jones leads the Cougars in scoring and rebounds, averaging 15.4 PPG and 7.4 RPG. He also blocks one shot a night and is a super-efficient scorer, shooting 58.2% from the field. The senior is very consistent, scoring in double figures in 30 of 33 games this season.
  • Not far behind Jones in scoring is point guard Myles Rice, who averages 15.1 PPG and leads Washington State in assists with 3.9 per game. He can be dangerous and have big performances but is not very efficient, shooting 44% from the field and only 27.2% from three.
  • Jaylen Wells, the third-leading scorer for Washington State, averages 12.2 PPG. He is their best three-point threat, leading the team by shooting 42.5% from three, averaging around two made threes per game. He has been hot, too, making three or more threes in three of his last four games.

Drake Bulldogs key players

  • Tucker DeVries does it all for the Bulldogs, averaging 21.8 PPG, and always has the green light. He is a solid passer, too, averaging 3.6 APG to lead Drake in assists. Last but not least, he also grabs a lot of rebounds for a guard, second on the team with 6.8 RPG. The 6-foot-7 junior can also carry Drake at times and has had some monster performances. He has scored 27 or more points in four of his last six, including a season-high 39 in a triple-overtime win against UIC.
  • DeVries does not have to do it alone with a strong supporting cast, starting with Atin Wright, who is second on the team at 13.9 PPG. He is dangerous from three, making 41.2% of his attempts from beyond the arc.
  • Darnell Brodie is an important player as one of the only true frontcourt players to see significant minutes, and he leads the team in rebounding with 7.9 RPG. He also scores it well, averaging 11.3 PPG, fourth on the Bulldogs. 

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Best individual matchup: Tucker DeVries vs. Myles Rice

Guards win in March, and both Rice and DeVries can fill it up. If either player has a classic one-shining-moment performance, that will be the difference in this contest. That is why so many people are picking Drake to win: DeVries has more high-scoring games this season than Rice and scores it more efficiently.

Washington State vs. Drake stat to know

This is a unique matchup: four guards, one forward vs. one guard and four forwards. The Cougars buck any new-age basketball trends of going small, starting four players listed as forward to go with one guard. Myles Rice is not a small guard, either, at 6-foot-3, but the other four starters for Washington State are 6-foot-8 or taller. Drake only plays two players at that height. It will be interesting to see if Drake’s guards dominate the game, proving the oversized Cougars can’t defend them, or if Washington State dominates the boards and bludgeons the Bulldogs.

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Washington State vs. Drake prediction: Drake rides DeVries massive game to second round

The storyline of the head coach’s son is just too juicy, and we have seen it work before. DeVries is a star who can score the ball from every level. The multiple-forward lineup for Washington State could find it difficult to stay with DeVries, whether off the dribble or running off screens. Two predictions: Tucker DeVries goes for 30-plus points, and Drake wins.

Prediction: Drake 73, Washington State 68. Drake (-1.5) covers the spread, with the game going OVER the total (137.5).

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