The No. 3 Xavier Musketeers (25-9) take on the No. 14 Kennesaw State Owls (26-8) at 12:40 p.m. ET on Friday, March 17 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Xavier is a strong favorite and on the moneyline over the first-time dancers in Midwest Region odds. Sportsbooks set the over/under at points. In this article, we break down everything you need to know before placing a bet on Xavier March Madness odds, including team matchups, key metrics, and the best available college basketball odds.
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Xavier vs. Kennesaw State betting odds
Click on odds in the table below to bet on Xavier March Madness odds vs. Kennesaw State. Toggle between point spread, money line, and point total using the dropdown menu.
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Xavier vs. Kennesaw State player props
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Xavier March Madness Futures
Why Xavier can cover the spread
The Big East runners-up hang their hat on a high-scoring offense that ranks ninth by KenPom and 15th in efficiency. Against a first-time tournament team like Kennesaw State, which ranks outside the top 100 in KenPom defensive rating, ShotQuality, and efficiency, the Musketeers may challenge for the most points scored in the first round.
TheLines college basketball writer Eli Hershkovich outlined how underdogs aren’t getting the points they used to. Even with shaved spreads coming into 2023, Xavier finds themselves as comfortable favorites. That number grew from opening at -10.5, a strong indication that this is simply a mismatch.
Instead of banking on one star – which come tourney time can backfire – Xavier rosters five double-digit scorers. Three average at least 15 points per game. Their backcourt duo of Colby Jones and Souley Boum complement athletic forward Zach Freemantle to create a tough matchup for any team.
For Xavier to not win this game handily (or at all), the Musketeers would really have to be caught sleeping at the wheel.
Why Kennesaw State can cover the spread
All of that said, March is the time for unabated Madness. Kennesaw State is KenPom’s sixth-lowest rated team to make the NCAA tournament this year despite winning the ASUN regular season and tournament. They lack the scoring prowess of Xavier. Junior guard Chris Youngblood leads the way in scoring (14.7 points per game).
Against teams in the field of 68, the Owls went 0-2 with an average deficit of 24 points (34 points to San Diego State, 14 to Indiana). You’ll be taking their best number at , but more than anything that’s a flier. Perhaps Kennesaw State plays their best game of the season, inspired by their berth.
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Barring a serious collapse by Xavier, there’s no way I can recommend taking Kennesaw State on the point spread. According to their moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, the Musketeers have an 88.2% implied win rate with nearly 82 expected points scored. Given Kennesaw State’s 153rd adjusted offensive rating (KenPom) and lack of significant scorers, this feels like a background game on the multi-screen setup.