NCAA TOURNAMENT FANTASY CHALLENGE

Three Las Vegas Review-Journal sports department members and three professional handicappers have been given $2,000 fantasy bankrolls to bet during the NCAA Tournament — two picks per day of either sides, totals or one of each. Below are their bets for today, with a brief explanation of their picks:

Adam Hill, Review-Journal

Bankroll: $2,169 Sunday: Lost $550 Today: Betting $715

Today’s plays

Bet 1: $440 on Michigan State +1 over Butler

Comment: Spartans coach Tom Izzo has had nearly a week to prepare for a Butler team that is actually pretty limited on the offensive end.

Bet 2: $275 on Butler-Michigan State under 126
Comment: The Bulldogs have gotten to this point with solid defense, and the Spartans will have no problem playing a slow game.

Mal Van Valkenburg, Review-Journal

Bankroll: $960 Sunday: Lost $20 Today: Betting $484

Today’s plays

Bet 1: $242 on Butler -1 over Michigan State

Comment: The Spartans have had to hang on in every game of the tournament. They will meet their defensive match with the Bulldogs, who are no Cinderella.

Bet 2: $242 on Butler-Michigan State under 126
Comment: The Bulldogs haven’t allowed an opponent to score 60 points in the tournament. This game could get bogged down into a defensive slugfest.

Matt Youmans, Review-Journal

Bankroll: $1,952 Sunday: Lost $264 Today: Betting $440

Today’s plays

Bet 1: $220 on Butler -1 over Michigan State

Comment: Betting against Tom Izzo is tough, but Gordon Hayward and the Bulldogs showed a lot by knocking off Syracuse and Kansas State.

Bet 2: $220 on Duke -2½ over West Virginia

Comment: Duke’s defense, shooters and size should be enough to overcome Da’Sean Butler and the physical Mountaineers.

John Kelly, EOG.com

Bankroll: $3,838 Sunday: Lost $50 Today: Betting $1,320

Today’s plays

Bet 1: $880 on Butler -1 over Michigan State

Comment: Hate to bet against Tom Izzo’s 35-11 tournament record, but Butler’s Brad Stevens is a rising star. Butler has yet to allow 60 points in the tourney.

Bet 2: $440 on Duke -2½ over West Virginia

Comment: Duke’s backcourt of Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer should deliver an outstanding performance against a WVU team missing its starting point guard.

Bruce Marshall, The Gold Sheet

Bankroll: $2,417 Sunday: Won $75 Today: Betting $880

Today’s plays

Bet 1: $440 on Butler-Michigan State under 126

Comment: Butler is in no hurry to push the pace and is quite comfortable playing a Big Ten-style game.

Bet 2: $440 on Duke -2½ over West Virginia

Comment: Duke can get physical with WVU inside because it has plenty of fouls to use with Brian Zoubek and the Plumlees. Duke’s shooters can be lethal.

Paul Stone, VegasSportsAuthority.com

Bankroll: $510 Sunday: Lost $440 Today: Betting $231

Today’s plays

Bet 1: $121 on Butler -1 over Michigan State

Comment: It’s tough to fade Tom Izzo in the tournament, but the Bulldogs are playing at a high level. In its backyard, Butler advances to the national final.

Bet 2: $110 on Duke-West Virginia under 131

Comment: West Virginia’s perimeter defense should keep Duke’s shooters from raining 3s. The Mountaineers’ best chance is to turn the game into a grind.

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