Penn State vs. Texas A&M 2023 March Madness First Round Picks & Prediction: Nittany Lions Eye Upset of Aggies

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Top NCAAB Pick for Today

NCAAB Pick: Penn State +3 (-108) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

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Penn State +3 (-108)
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Picks Summary:

  • Penn State +3 (-108)
  • Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Texas A&M Aggies – Over 134.5 (-108)

Oh, those dreaded 7-10 March Madness matchups always seem ripe for upsets, and the clash between Texas A&M and Penn State on Thursday’s NCAA basketball betting card is certainly no exception. 

Remember, fans from the Lone Star State who want to wager on this game should check out our top-rated Texas betting sites.

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Texas A&M Aggies

Thursday, March 16, 2023 – 09:55 PM EDT at Wells Fargo Arena 

It was one year ago that Buzz Williams and the Texas Aggies were being drummed up as the biggest snub of the 2022 NCAA Tournament after a strong close to the regular season and reaching the SEC Championship Game before falling to Tennessee. 

Texas A&M made it into this year’s tournament after falling one game short of the SEC crown once again, making it as the No. 7 seed in the Midwest, and the reward is to be fodder for the pundits who say the Aggies are ripe for an upset by the No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions. 

Teams Tip Near End of 1st Night of Action 

It would indeed be an upset, both in terms of seeds and the spread at the best online betting sites. Texas A&M is favored by 3 to win the late contest in Des Moines on the first day of full action, and there are signs that could go to 3½. 

While both sides have provided a nice return on investment against the spread, the Nittany Lions and Aggies have to contradict the totals’ results. Penn State favors the ‘over’ with Texas A&M trending ‘under,’ and Thursday’s bar is set at 134.5. 

PSU Comes Off Impressive Run in Big 10 Tourney 

Micah Shrewsberry and the Nittany Lions were oh, so close to pulling off an upset in the Big Ten Championship. Facing regular season champ and No. 1 seed in the East Region Purdue, Penn State’s late rally effort fell a bucket short in a 67-65 loss. 

Penn State closed as a 7.5-point underdog on the NCAAB odds, and the setback halted a string of five consecutive wins, four of those coming as the underdog. 

A pedestrian 10-10 conference record put the Nittany Lions into the Big Ten Tournament as a 10-seed before they made noise with upsets of Illinois, Northwestern (in overtime), and Indiana. All three of those wins went ‘over’ the totals. 

Aggies Hot in Semis, Cold in Championship 

The Aggies played about as well as they had all season in Saturday’s semifinal contest against Vanderbilt. They shot lights out in the first half to build a big lead, then withstood the Commodores’ second-half charge for an 87-75 win as 5-point chalk at BetOnline. 

Sunday’s SEC Championship game against Alabama saw Texas A&M play about as poorly as it had all season, and the Crimson Tide celebrated the title with a relatively easy 82-63 victory. 

Whereas the Aggies seemingly couldn’t miss on Saturday, they couldn’t find the bucket on Sunday while shooting 29.7% (19-64) from the field and were completely dominated on the glass to the tune of a 50-37 rebounding advantage for Alabama. 

Wade Taylor IV scored 28 in the win over Alabama to close the regular season, but the Crimson Tide held him to 13 in the Championship Game. Taylor also got into foul trouble and turned it over four times. 

Programs Collide for the 5th Time 

One more way a Penn State win on Thursday would be an upset is the Nittany Lions have never beaten the Aggies in four previous tries. Texas A&M’s perfect mark goes back to a December 1972 meeting in Oklahoma City, plus wins in home-&-home scheduling (2005-06). 

The most recent meeting came at the Legends Classic in 2017 at Barclays Center. Both sides shot well with A&M hitting 33-of-54 (61%) from the field and Penn State 31-of-61 (51%), and the Aggies prevailed in the shootout by a 98-87 to beat the 5-point spread on BMR’s live odds

  • Penn State’s last NCAA Tournament appearance was in 2011. The Nittany Lions were also a 10-seed in that event and were beaten 66-64 by No. 7 seed Temple. 
  • Texas A&M last danced in 2018 and made it to the Sweet 16. The Aggies were a 7-seed and beat Providence in Round 1 before upsetting No. 2 seed North Carolina. The run ended with a loss to No. 3 seed Michigan. 

Close Contest Caps 1st Night of Tourney 

Texas A&M must at least slow Penn State’s Jalen Pickett, who is a triple-crown threat for the Nittany Lions as the team leader in scoring, rebounding, and assists. Penn State needs to overcome a size disadvantage without putting the Aggies on the charity stripe. 

The Aggies win, but the Nittany Lions cover in a very tight finish, and here’s a free NCAAB pick on the final just skipping past the total. 

Score Prediction: Texas A&M 70 – Penn St. 69 

NCAAB Pick: Penn State +3 (-108) at Bookmaker

NCAAB Pick: Over 134.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.