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NCAA Women's Tournament First Four Betting Predictions and Bonuses

Written by: Travis Pulver
Published March 20, 2024
10 min read
  • The NCAAW Tournament did not add the First Four games until 2022.

  • Unlike the Men's First Four, where games are played at a neutral site, games take place on the home court of four of the top 16 national seeds.

  • The 2023 Mississippi State Bulldogs (No. 11 seed) are the only First Four team to make it past the first round (lost to Notre Dame in the Round of 32).

The NCAAW Tournament will get underway Wednesday night with two First Four games: Presbyterian vs. Sacred Heart and Vanderbilt vs. Columbia. Odds posted at the top March Madness sportsbooks in the country favor Sacred Heart and Columbia. 

But come Tournament time, when it's a win-or-go-home scenario, bettors should not overlook anyone.

NCAAW Final Four Prediction

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Presbyterian vs. Sacred Heart Prediction and Odds 

  • Presbyterian qualified for the NCAAW Tournament (as Big South Champions) this season for the first time in school history.

  • Presbyterian enters the tournament red hot, winning eight of their last nine games.

  • Sacred Heart's has not lost since falling to Le Moyne 60-56 on Jan. 15 (15-game win streak).

Here is the betting line for Presbyterian vs. Sacred Heart with odds via FanDuel Sportsbook:

No. 16 Presbyterian Blue Hose (20-14)

Had you asked anyone on Feb. 7, after Presbyterian's fourth loss in a row (Gardner-Webb 86-57), if the team would make the NCAAW Tournament, they may have laughed in your face.

But after winning eight of their last nine, including the Big South Conference Tournament, the Blue Hose are going dancing.

Three players lead an offense that averages 58.4 ppg, each 10+ ppg: Tilda Sjokvist (12.4 ppg), Bryanna Brady (12.4 ppg), and Mara Neira (11.3 ppg). All three will need a solid game against a Sacred Heart defense ranked No. 4 in the country, allowing just 45.7 ppg.

Presbyterian is 17-6 in games where they scored 57+ points.

No. 16 Sacred Heart (24-9)

When Sacred Heart struggled with its non-conference schedule, the Pioneers looked like a team that wouldn't come close to making the NCAAW Tournament. But then they went 15-1 in conference play and dominated the Northeast Conference Tournament with a trio of blowout victories. 

Their path to victory and a first-round date with South Carolina will be much like it has been during conference play: play solid offense (No. 16 in the nation in scoring) and dominant defense (No. 4). 

But if Presbyterian can figure out how to take superstar sophomore guard Ny'Ceara Pryor out of the game, they could be in trouble.

Presbyterian vs. Sacred Heart Pick

Presbyterian is a solid team, but the Blue Hose needs someone to neutralize Sacred Heart's Ny'Ceara Pryor. She will not beat Presbyterian by herself, but the Pioneers are the more proven team between the two. The first half may be close, but Sacred Heart will pull away in the second half.

Presbyterian vs. Sacred How to Watch

  • Location: Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina 

  • Game Time & Date: 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Mar. 20

  • TV Network: ESPNU

  • Streaming: ESPN+ and streaming services like YouTube TV, Sling TV, and Hulu + Live TV. 

Vanderbilt vs. Columbia Prediction and Odds 

  • Vanderbilt beat Columbia on the road last season, 74-63.

  • After starting the season 2-4, Columbia went 21-2 the rest of the way to finish 23-6.

  • Vanderbilt dominated their non-conference schedule (13-1) but struggled during conference play (9-7).

Here is the betting line for Vanderbilt vs. Columbia with odds via DraftKings Sportsbook:

Vanderbilt (22-9)

Head coach Shea Ralph has the Commodores back in the postseason for the first time since the 2013-14 season. They last played in the second round of the SEC Tournament, losing to Florida in a hard-fought 62-59 battle. But they finished the regular season winning five of their last six games.

The Commodores averaged 68.5 ppg on offense this season, led by junior guard Iyana Moore (13.9 ppg). Moore, along with Jordyn Cambridge and Jordyn Oliver, leads a defense that has given up just 61.6 ppg and is stingy on the perimeter. 

Columbia (23-6)

The Lions were salty after getting snubbed on Selection Sunday and ended up being the runner-up in the WNIT (they lost to Kansas in the title game). With something to prove this year, Columbia finished the regular season as co-champions of the Ivy League, going 13-1 in conference play, with their one loss coming at the hands of Ivy League co-champion Princeton.

Columbia's offense has been more productive than Vanderbilt's this season, averaging 76 ppg. Senior guard Abbey Hsu leads the way with 20.6 ppg (No. 20 in the nation), followed by Cecelia Collins (13.7 ppg) and Kitty Henderson (11.8 ppg).

On defense, the Lions allowed 63.2 ppg but held three of their last four opponents to under 60 ppg.

Vanderbilt vs. Columbia Pick

Vanderbilt went 3-1 against common opponents, beating Georgia twice and 1-1 vs. Florida; Columbia lost to both. But both losses came in an early season tournament in the Bahamas. The Lions heading into March Madness are night and day compared to earlier in the year.

It will be a close, entertaining, and hard-fought game, but the Lions will win in the end.

Vanderbilt vs. Columbia: How to Watch

  • Location: Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Virginia 

  • Game Time & Date: 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2024

  • TV Network: ESPNU

  • Streaming: ESPN+ and streaming services like YouTube TV, Sling TV, and Hulu + Live TV.

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AUTHOR

Travis Pulver

17 Articles

Travis Pulver is a lifelong football fan, something he says comes naturally having been born in the football-crazy state of Texas. Through the years, Pulver's love of sports has extended into baseball, basketball, golf, and rugby. Life currently finds him in Indiana with his wife and two kids.

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