Howard vs. Wagner Prediction, Odds and Key Players for NCAA Tournament First Four (Back the Seahawks)

College basketball betting preview, prediction and best bet for Howard-Wagner.

Nov 28, 2023; Providence, Rhode Island, USA; Wagner Seahawks guard Zaire Williams (12) dribbles the ball up the court against Providence.
Nov 28, 2023; Providence, Rhode Island, USA; Wagner Seahawks guard Zaire Williams (12) dribbles the ball up the court against Providence. / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Howard is back in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year and will open the event Tuesday evening in the First Four. The Bison got past Norfolk State and Delaware State in close games to capture the MEAC title and are now short favorites in Dayton against fellow No. 16 seed Wagner. 

The Seahawks, dancing at the Division I level for the first time since 2003, used a suffocating defense to capture the NEC championship. Who advances to the 64-team bracket to face No. 1 North Carolina? Here’s the betting breakdown of the First Four matchup with a best bet. 

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Howard vs. Wagner Odds, Spread and Total

Howard vs. Wagner Betting Trends

  • Howard is 12-18-2 ATS this season
  • Wagner is 14-15 ATS this season
  • Howard is 7-11-1 ATS as a favorite this season
  • Wagner is 9-7 ATS as an underdog this season
  • The OVER is 19-12-1 in Howard games this season
  • The OVER is 10-19 in Wagner games this season

Howard vs. Wagner How to Watch

  • Date: Tuesday, March 19
  • Game time: 6:40 p.m. EST
  • Venue: UD Arena
  • How to watch (TV): truTV
  • Howard record: 18-16
  • Wagner record: 16-15

Howard vs. Wagner Key Players to Watch


Bryce Harris: Howard’s leading scorer and rebounder, Harris averages 16.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while shooting 55.3% from the field. Harris combined for 60 points over three MEAC Tournament games and has three double-doubles over his last eight contests. 


Tahron Allen: The junior guard has been a consistent contributor for the Seahawks this season. He averages 10.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game but upped his scoring when Wagner needed it most. Allen scored 22 points in two of three NEC Tournament games, including Tuesday’s 54-47 victory over Merrimack. 

Howard vs. Wagner Prediction and Pick 

There’s little to write home about on the offensive side of the ball for Wagner. However, the Seahawks' defense has held four consecutive opponents to under 60 points and led the way to an NEC Tournament title. 

Howard’s offense is a top-20 team in the country in 3-point shooting and scores over 32% of its points from beyond the arc. However, Wagner’s defense is tough on the perimeter. The Seahawks are No. 10 in the nation against triples, according to KenPom. Wagner’s defense is No. 70 in effective field goal percentage and can take advantage of a Howard offense that is sloppy with the ball. 

Howard is No. 354 in KenPom in turnover percentage, the worst of any team in the NCAA Tournament field. Wagner’s offense is at least protective of the rock (No. 2 in the NEC in turnovers) and can crash the glass with success (No. 2 in the NEC in offensive rebounding percentage). They’ll face an equally abysmal Howard defense (No. 334 in efficiency) that struggles to limit second-chance opportunities. Defense gets you through the bracket. In a low-scoring rockfight, grab the points with Wagner. 

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.