Louisiana March Madness Odds: First Round NCAA Tournament vs. Tennessee

Written By Brett Gibbons on March 13, 2023
Louisiana March Madness odds

The No. 13 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (26-7) play the No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers (23-10) at 9:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 16 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Louisiana is a underdog and on the moneyline in East Region odds. The over/under is set at points. In this article, we break down everything you need to know before placing a bet on Louisiana March Madness odds, including team matchups, key metrics, and the best available college basketball odds.

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Louisiana vs. Tennessee betting odds

Click on odds in the table below to bet on Louisiana March Madness odds vs. Tennessee. Toggle between point spread, money line, and point total using the dropdown menu.

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Louisiana vs. Tennessee player props

Search for Louisiana basketball player props in the search tool below. Instantly compare lines from dozens of books to ensure you get the best number. College basketball player prop betting is only available in CT, DC, IA, IL, IN, LA, MD, NJ, OH, WA, WV, and WY. However, CT, IA, IL, and NJ do not allow you to bet player props for players on in-state teams.  

This table will populate once sportsbooks open player props for this game. You can also use our Prop Finder Tool.

Louisiana March Madness Futures

Why Louisiana can cover the spread

When opportunity comes knocking, you best answer the door. In this case, Tennessee is without their primary ball handling guard, Zakai Zeigler, who suffered a torn ACL just last week. The injury doesn’t open the door entirely, but cracks it enough for ULL to make things interesting.

Per KenPom, the Ragin’ Cajuns are the weakest 13 seed in the tournament, meaning they’ll need some fortunate bounces to go their way. Fortunately for them, they rank in the top 10% in terms of luck rating this year (35th). Shooting efficiency is the name of the game for Louisiana, who also ranks inside the top 10% in field goal percentage and three-point percentage.

However, they also turn the ball over at a high clip (12.2 per game) and rely too heavily at times on inside shots. But if they can get Tennessee – No. 2 in KenPom’s adjusted defensive rating – into a low-scoring affair, a double-digit gap might just be too much.

They don’t have to win, just keep the game within reason.

Why Tennessee can cover the spread

Despite not having Zeigler, Tennessee is one of the most highly-rated teams in the tournament, per KenPom (No. 5 overall, No. 2 defense). Should Tennessee have an off-shooting night, they’re elite enough defensively to survive a rock fight. In the tournament, defense travels.

While they hang their hat on defense, the Vols still rank inside the top 20% in both offensive efficiency and three-point rate. The Vols bring a balanced scoring attack between guards Santiago Vescovi (10.7 points per game) and Josiah-Jordan James (10.2). They’ve had some extremely unfortunate luck (324th in KenPom luck rating), exacerbated by Zeigler’s injury. But as mentioned, Louisiana is the lowest-rated KenPom 13-seed the tournament offers.

“I feel pretty good about Tennessee. I think Louisiana has a really tough matchup here. I just feel like they’re running into exactly the type of team they were hoping to avoid,” said Justin Perri on the Outside Shots podcast with Eli Hershkovich.

This Tennessee team has notable wins over Alabama, Texas, and Kansas, albeit those game at home. Regardless, it’s a battle-tested and experienced group that should be able to withstand Zeigler’s absence against a weaker first-round opponent handily.

Final thoughts

It’s fun to sit back and pick Louisiana just because of the injuries to Tennessee. But overall, the Vols are an elite group rated by KenPom more highly than any team in the East Region and that includes Purdue.

The game presents a lower total thanks to methodical play by Louisiana and lockdown defense by Tennessee. With lower point totals come lower expected variation. When there’s lower expected variation, favorites tend to be the correct side.

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Written by
Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

View all posts by Brett Gibbons