2023 NCAA Tournament Drake vs. Miami odds: Bettors heavily backing underdog Bulldogs with Hurricanes big man Norchad Omier questionable Friday
Since the NCAA Tournament field first expanded to 64 teams in 1985, at least one No. 12 seed has upset a No. 5 in 32 of 37 Big Dances. It didn't happen in either of the 5-12 games on Thursday, but bettors seem to think an upset is brewing in the Midwest Region as No. 12 Drake (27-7) is taking heavy action against No. 5 Miami (25-7), which is only a 1.5-point favorite and might be without its top big man in Norchad Omier. Click here for model picks.
As of this writing, Drake-Miami is taking the second-most action of any game overall at BetMGM – behind the 12:15 USC-Michigan State matchup – with the Bulldogs the second-most bet team (behind Michigan State) in both tickets sold and handle. All that action has dropped the spread from its open of -3.5.
This writer can't remember the last time an ACC regular-season champion (a Miami shared with Virginia) has gotten so little respect in the NCAA Tournament. Granted, the league was down this season. The Hurricanes have an NCAA NET ranking of 35 compared to 55 for Drake, the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament champion. The Bulldogs played one power conference team this season and upset then-No. 15 Mississippi State 58-52 on Dec. 20 at a neutral site.
Led by Tucker DeVries (19.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG), the MVC Player of the Year, Drake is a very good team with the 27 wins, one shy of a school record. This is the sixth NCAA Tournament appearance for the school and its first since 2021, when it beat Wichita State in the 2021 First Four before losing to USC in the first round.
One reason for the heavy Drake action could be the questionable status of Omier, although it sounds like he will give it a go in perhaps limited minutes after suffering an ankle injury in the Hurricanes' ACC Tournament semifinal loss to Duke. Miami has one of the best backcourts in the country, led by ACC Player of the Year Isaiah Wong, but is very thin up front. It would be significant if Omier (13.6 PPG, 9.7 RPG) didn't play.
Miami is 11-11 all-time in NCAA Tournament play, including 7-5 under head coach Jim Larrañaga. The Hurricanes got a No. 10 seed last season on the way to the first Elite Eight bid in program history. Miami has never played Drake.
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