Butler (10) vs. Arkansas (7) Odds: March Madness Prediction

Payton Matthews | Updated Mar 13, 2018

daryl macon arkansas

Arkansas is making its 32nd Big Dance appearance but only third this decade.

Butler
19-12
AT
March 16, 2018, 3:10 PM ET
Little Caesars Arena
Arkansas
21-10
Pointspread -2 -110
Moneyline -135
Over / Under o +149.5

64%

Betting Action

36%

Pointspread +2 -110
Moneyline +115
Over / Under u +149.5

64%

Betting Action

36%

If this past decade is any indication, expect a close game Friday afternoon from the East Region in Detroit as 10th-seeded Butler of the Big East takes on No. 7 Arkansas of the SEC in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Tournament Odds and Betting Analysis

The No. 7 seeds have dominated against the No. 10 of late, winning three of the four matchups in four of the past five years in the Big Dance. No. 10 seeds have won three of four just four times in tournament history. However, this decade no first-round matchup has had more games decided by single digits than the 7-10 matchup (24 of them).

Butler has been a mid-major power this decade, reaching back-to-back national title games in 2010-11 (both losses) under former coach Brad Stevens, now running the Boston Celtics. It’s the 16th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance for the Bulldogs and fourth straight. It beat Winthrop and Middle Tennessee last year before losing to eventual national champion North Carolina in the regional semifinal. Butler has a 23-15 record in the Big Dance. The last time it was one-and-done was 2009.

In 2017, the Razorbacks were a No. 8 seed and edged Seton Hall in the first round before losing to North Carolina in Round 2. So, these schools have the Tar Heels from last season in common.

The winner faces either No. 2 Purdue or No. 15 Cal State Fullerton on Sunday – Butler would love another shot at big-brother in-state rival Purdue (they played in December). The Bulldogs are taking a sizable lean on the spread for this game so far.

Butler Bulldogs

Butler (20-13) lost highly-regarded coach Chris Holtmann to Ohio State this summer and replaced him with LaVall Jordan, who had been the coach at Milwaukee of the Horizon League and was a Butler alum and former Bulldogs assistant. The school finished tied for sixth in the Big East regular-season standings and enters having lost three of its final four games. Senior forward Kelan Martin is the star, averaging 20.8 points and 6.2 rebounds.  He was one of three unanimous All-Big East first-team selections. Butler was the first team to beat then-No. 1 Villanova this season back on Dec. 30, but that’s the Bulldogs’ only victory against a ranked team. Butler hasn’t played Arkansas since Jan. 2, 1931.

Arkansas Razorbacks

The Razorbacks (23-11) finished tied for fourth in the SEC standings and won eight of their final 11 games. Overall, the Hogs were 8-8 against 2018 NCAA Tournament teams, with the victories by an average of 10 points – this is a very different club at home. By comparison, Butler was 5-10 vs. foes that made the Big Dance. Coach Mike Anderson has an excellent backcourt in seniors Jaylen Barford (18.0 ppg), first-team All-SEC, and Daryl Macon (16.9). He also has a terrific freshman big man in Daniel Gafford, who is averaging 11.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. He’ll likely be an NBA lottery pick at some point. The team enters the Big Dance a bit shorthanded as forward Dustin Thomas was dismissed right before the SEC Tournament. He started 17 games and averaged 5.0 points and 4.1 rebounds.

Bulldogs vs. Razorbacks March Madness Predictions

SportsInteraction