68 need-to-know betting notes for 68 NCAA Tournament teams

As we do each and every year within this column, let’s begin with the basics: A 16-seed has never defeated a 1-seed, only eight 15-seeds have found success against 2-seeds (Middle Tennessee upset No. 2 Michigan State last year), no team seeded 13th or lower has ever advanced to the Elite Eight and only three teams seeded 11th or lower have ever reached the Final Four.

Additionally, no team seeded ninth or lower has ever won the NCAA tournament, with eighth-seeded Villanova (1985) still standing as the biggest shocker in college basketball history to win the Dance.

Now that you’ve officially completed March Madness 101, it’s time to commence your 200-level courses.

1 SEEDS

Villanova Wildcats (31-3 SU, 18-15 ATS, 11-22 O/U): Since the commencement of the 2015-2016 regular season, the UNDER is 43-26-1 (.623) in all lined games featuring Villanova. Additionally, the Wildcats enter March Madness having watched the UNDER cash in 16 of their last 22 contests (.727).

Kansas Jayhawks (28-4 SU, 11-18-1 ATS, 14-16 O/U): Lasted all of 40 minutes in the Big 12 tournament before falling 85-82 vs. TCU as a 9-point favorite. Take note that over the last six years, the UNDER is 5-1 in first-round March Madness games played by the Jayhawks.

North Carolina Tar Heels (27-7 SU, 16-14-2 ATS, 12-19-1 O/U): This is the seventh time the Tar Heels have earned a No. 1 seed under head coach Roy Williams. Of the previous six instances, two resulted in National Championship victories, one resulted in a National Championship defeat, one resulted in a Final Four appearance and the remaining two resulted in trips to the Elite Eight. In addition, be advised that the UNDER is 9-3-1 in UNC’s last 13 outings.

Gonzaga Bulldogs (32-1 SU, 22-7-1 ATS, 15-15 O/U): Over the last seven years, the Bulldogs are 5-2 ATS during the first round of March Madness (UNDER is 4-3 during that stretch).

2 SEEDS

Kentucky Wildcats (29-5 SU, 18-16 ATS, 17-17 O/U): Head coach John Calipari has his Wildcats peaking at just the right time, as Kentucky enters March Madness riding an 11-game winning streak (6-5 ATS). From a totals perspective, be advised that the UNDER has cashed in eight of the Wildcats’ last ten outings.

Arizona Wildcats (30-4 SU, 18-14-2 ATS, 16-17-1 O/U): Sean Miller’s Wildcats storm into the tournament having won nine of their last ten outings, which includes four straight point spread covers and three straight OVERS. Additionally, this program should be plenty motivated to deliver a first-round knockout after falling 65-55 to Wichita State as a 6-seed in last year’s opening round.

Duke Blue Devils (27-8 SU, 15-18-1 ATS, 16-17-1 O/U): Forget everything you thought you knew about this squad prior to last week because Mike Krzyzewski’s program just became the first team in ACC history to win the conference tournament with four victories in four days. The Blue Devils are finally healthy, playing fundamentally sound basketball and enter the Madness having covered the number in four straight matchups. Watch out.

Louisville Cardinals (24-8 SU, 17-12-1 ATS, 14-15-1 O/U): The UNDER is 7-1 in the Cardinals’ last eight opening-round matchups of the NCAA tournament.

3 SEEDS

Oregon Ducks (29-5 SU, 19-14 ATS, 15-18 O/U): Forward Chris Boucher (11.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.5 blocks) is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL in Friday night’s win over California. Oregon has covered the number just twice in its last six outings, but has seen the OVER cash in four of its last five contests.

Florida State Seminoles (25-8 SU, 17-12-2 ATS, 15-15-1 O/U): This is Florida State’s first trip to the Dance since 2012, so motivation and excitement shouldn’t be an issue. However, the Seminoles are just 1-5 ATS over the school’s last six tournament matchups, with the UNDER cashing at the highly profitable record of 5-1 during that same stretch.

UCLA Bruins (29-4 SU, 16-17 ATS, 15-16-2 O/U): Squeaked by USC in the Pac-12 tournament 76-74 despite closing as a 10-point favorite before getting rocked by Arizona 86-75 as a 2.5-point favorite. However, if this team gets hot from deep, look out (40.5% 3-point percentage, eighth in NCAA). Take note that the UNDER has cashed in eight of UCLA’s last ten contests.

Baylor Bears (25-7 SU, 14-13 ATS, 10-16-1 O/U): One-and-done in the Big 12 tournament thanks to a 70-64 loss vs. Kansas State as a 4.5-point favorite, one-and-done in the NCAA tournament last season (79-75 loss vs. Yale as 5.5-point favorite) as well as two years ago (57-56 loss vs. Georgia State as 9.5-point favorite). Exercise extreme caution here.

4 SEEDS

Butler Bulldogs (23-8 SU, 17-12 ATS, 14-13-2 O/U): The Bulldogs have appeared in a minimum of two March Madness games in each of the program’s last five trips to the Dance. And during those five aforementioned trips, Butler has gone an astounding 14-2-2 ATS.

Florida Gators (24-8 SU, 17-13 ATS, 14-16 O/U): A nine-game winning streak from January 25 to February 21 quickly turned into three losses in four outings culminating with a one-and-done conference tournament appearance for the Gators. However, since this is Florida’s first trip to the Dance in three years, expect the Gators to show at least a semblance of pop in the opening rounds.

West Virginia Mountaineers (26-8 SU, 13-15-1 ATS, 16-12-1 O/U): The Mountaineers enter the tournament having covered the point spread just once over the team’s last eight games. Additionally, the UNDER is a perfect 4-0 in West Virginia’s last four March Madness showdowns.

Purdue Boilermakers (25-7 SU, 17-10-2 ATS, 16-12-1 O/U): Had won eight of nine games entering the Big Ten tournament, but bowed out immediately courtesy of a 74-70 overtime loss vs. Michigan as a 2.5-point favorite. The Boilermakers haven’t won a Madness matchup since March of 2012 (72-69 vs. Saint Mary’s), going 0-3 SU and 2-1 ATS since that victory.

5 SEEDS

Note: A 12-seed has defeated a 5-seed in every tournament from 2001-2016, with the exception of 2007.

Virginia Cavaliers (22-10 SU, 18-12 ATS, 10-19-1 O/U): When you think Virginia, you think UNDER. That’s because the Cavaliers execute one of the slowest tempos in the country, as evidenced by the fact that the program ranked just 296th in total field goal attempts this season. As for those UNDERS, note that the UNDER hit in six straight Virginia games to conclude the regular season, with just two OVERS cashing over the team’s final 14 contests.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (24-9 SU, 19-12 ATS, 18-13 O/U): The Gophers covered the number in eight of their final 11 contests entering the NCAA tournament and have seen the OVER cash in 11 of the program’s last 14 outings.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (25-9 SU, 18-9-1 ATS, 14-13-1 O/U): How’s this for a disciplined, focused program: Notre Dame finished the 2016-2017 regular season ranked first in the country in turnovers per game (9.4) and fifth in personal fouls per game (14.9). Not only that, but no team in all the land is more effective from the free throw line than Notre Dame (79.9%, first in NCAA). Additionally, the Irish transformed a four-game losing streak in late January into an 8-2 SU mark over the school’s final ten games entering the Madness.

Iowa State Cyclones (23-10 SU, 18-12 ATS, 18-12 O/U): Claimed the Big 12 tournament title for the third time in four years with an 80-74 win and cover over West Virginia. Speaking of covers, the Cyclones have covered the number in eight of their last ten outings and enter the tournament having witnessed the OVER cashing in nine straight contests.

6 SEEDS

SMU Mustangs (30-4 SU, 22-6-1 ATS, 16-12-1 O/U): The Mustangs have failed to cover the number in only four of the school’s last 23 contests. Additionally, the OVER has cashed in seven of SMU’s last eight matchups, with that lone dissenter being ruled a push in the AAC championship game against Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Bearcats (29-5 SU, 16-14-1 ATS, 15-16 O/U): Had emerged victorious in 22 of 24 matchups prior to Sunday’s 71-56 defeat in the AAC title game suffered at the hands of SMU. One-and-done in three of their last four trips to the Dance, with no Sweet 16 appearances since the 2011-2012 campaign.

Maryland Terrapins (24-8 SU, 15-12-3 ATS, 14-15-1 O/U): Maryland is just 1-5 ATS over its last six NCAA tournament games and 4-11 ATS over its last 15 showdowns with Big East opposition (vs. Xavier in first round).

Creighton Bluejays  (25-9 SU, 19-13 ATS, 13-19 O/U): The Bluejays are an abysmal 1-8-1 ATS over their last ten NCAA tournament showdowns, but have seen the UNDER cash in six of the school’s last seven outings.

7 SEEDS

Saint Mary’s Gaels (28-4 SU, 16-11-2 ATS, 12-17 O/U): The Gaels are a rock-solid 13-4-1 ATS over their last 18 out-of-conference matchups and 5-1-1 ATS over the program’s last seven games overall. In addition, take note that the UNDER is 5-0 in the Gaels’ previous five NCAA tournament games and 4-1 in the program’s last five non-conference showdowns.

South Carolina Gamecocks (22-10 SU, 11-16-2 ATS, 11-17-1 O/U): The Gamecocks failed to cover the spread in nine of the team’s final ten games entering the NCAA tournament. However, be advised that this is South Carolina’s first trip to the Dance since March of 2004 (59-43 loss vs. Memphis), so motivation and focus should not be an issue.

Michigan Wolverines (24-11 SU, 16-16 ATS, 19-12-1 O/U): Without question the most fascinating story entering the Madness, as the Wolverines went from having their team plane skid off the runway in Ypsilanti, Michigan during an aborted takeoff last Wednesday to winning the school’s first Big Ten tournament championship (4-0 SU, 4-0 ATS) as the lowest seed (No. 8) to win the postseason tournament in conference history. But can the Wolverines keep the magic flowing for another week?

Dayton Flyers (24-7 SU, 19-10 ATS, 17-12 O/U): The Flyers enter the tournament having covered the point spread in 14 of the school’s last 20 games overall. Additionally, the OVER has cashed in 11 of Dayton’s last 12 contests overall.

8 SEEDS

Wisconsin Badgers (25-9 SU, 15-16 ATS, 12-16-3 O/U): Covered the number only four times over their final 12 games of the season and enter the tournament having dropped six of their last ten matchups overall. Not exactly the form you’re looking for come Dance time.

Miami Hurricanes (21-11 SU, 11-19 ATS, 9-20-1 O/U): The Hurricanes roll into the Dance having dropped three of their last four games and are an alarming 1-4 ATS over their last five tourney showdowns. However, be advised that the UNDER has cashed in six straight Miami matchups and is 5-0-1 in the Hurricanes’ last six neutral site contests.

Arkansas Razorbacks (25-9 SU, 17-15 ATS, 16-16 O/U): Arkansas is dancing for just the second time since the 2008-2009 campaign and enters the tournament having won eight of its previous ten outings. Be advised that the UNDER has cashed in five of the Razorbacks’ last six contests.  One-and-done is likely the upside for this squad, as a second-round matchup with top-seeded North Carolina is likely on the horizon.

Northwestern Wildcats (23-11 SU, 19-12 ATS, 11-18-2 O/U): FINALLY! For the first time in school history, Northwestern is dancing! And not only that, the Wildcats are 5-1 ATS over their last six non-conference showdowns. Also note that the UNDER is 10-4 in the Wildcats’ last 14 neutral site matchups. However, be advised that Northwestern’s first-round opponent is a Vanderbilt squad that has covered the number in eight of its last nine games.

9 SEEDS

Vanderbilt Commodores (19-15 SU, 20-12 ATS, 13-18-1 O/U): The UNDER has cashed in each of Vanderbilt’s last three outings as well as in seven of the Commodores’ last eight games overall. Vandy enters the tourney streaking having covered the number in eight of its last nine matchups, but be advised that this squad is 1-5 ATS over its last six March Madness games and 1-6 ATS over its last seven encounters with Big Ten opposition.

Seton Hall Pirates (21-11 SU, 14-16-1 ATS, 14-17 O/U): Get this: Seton Hall is a highly profitable 19-7 ATS over its last 26 games as an underdog and 40-19 ATS over its last 59 outings as an underdog of 0.5-6.5 points. The Pirates opened up offshore as 1-point underdogs for their opening round matchup against Arkansas.

Michigan State Spartans (19-14 SU, 17-15 ATS, 15-17 O/U): Sparty is just 3-8 ATS over its last 11 neutral site games and enters the tournament having dropped three of its last four outings. However, it’s worth noting that the OVER is 21-7 in the last 28 games in which Michigan State has been listed as an underdog. It’s always a risk to discount or discredit Spartans head coach Tom Izzo, who has guided Michigan State to at least two tournament wins in four of the last five seasons.

Virginia Tech Hokies (22-10 SU, 16-11-1 ATS, 14-14 O/U): Virginia Tech enters March Madness having gone 8-1-1 ATS over its last ten matchups and 6-1 ATS over the program’s last seven neutral site games. Additionally, pay close attention to the total in this showdown (vs. Wisconsin), as the UNDER is 5-1 in the Hokies’ last six non-conference outings and 9-1-1 in the Badgers’ last 11 neutral site games.

10 SEEDS

Oklahoma State Cowboys (20-12 SU, 16-10-1 ATS, 15-11-1 O/U): The Cowboys had the unfortunate pleasure of drawing white-hot Michigan in the opening round, which isn’t exactly a cause for celebration for a program that enters the NCAA tournament having lost three straight games. Additionally, note that Okie State is 0-4 ATS over its last four tourney games and 1-4-1 ATS over its last six showdowns with Big Ten opposition.

Wichita State Shockers (30-4 SU, 18-12-1 ATS, 17-14 O/U): Snubbed! How on Earth does a 30-win Wichita State team find itself as a No. 10 seed in this tournament? The Shockers enter March Madness on a 15-game winning streak in which the program has covered the number in seven of its last eight outings. No surprises here, however, as 10-seed Wichita State opens as a 6.5-point favorite over 7-seed Dayton.

Marquette Golden Eagles (19-12 SU, 16-15 ATS, 16-15 O/U): The Golden Eagles have covered the number just once over their last five NCAA tournament outings, but have seen the OVER cash in seven of the program’s last eight neutral site games.

VCU Rams (26-8 SU, 12-17-1 ATS, 17-13 O/U): VCU enters the tourney having covered the number just twice over its last seven outings, but take note, Rams fans, that this squad is a ridiculous 13-2 ATS over its last 15 NCAA tournament games when listed as an underdog. On Sunday evening VCU opened as a 4.5-point underdog vs. Saint Mary’s.

11 SEEDS

Xavier Musketeers (21-13 SU, 15-18 ATS, 15-18 O/U): From February 8 until March 1, Xavier found a way to go 0-7 against the spread. But since that 11-point loss vs. Marquette at the beginning of the month, the Musketeers have covered the number in four straight outings with the UNDER cashing every time as well. Take note that Xavier is 13-3 ATS over its last 16 outings against Big Ten opposition.

Rhode Island Rams (24-9 SU, 18-14 ATS, 16-16 O/U): The Rams enter the tournament on a white-hot tear having won eight straight matchups while covering the spread in six of their last seven outings. However, be advised that Rhode Island is just 4-17-2 ATS over its last 23 games as an underdog. The upside here is that the Rams’ first-round opponent, Creighton, has covered the spread in just one of its last ten NCAA tournament outings.

[PLAY-IN TEAM] Providence Friars (20-12 SU, 20-12 ATS, 14-16-2 O/U): Concluded the regular season having covered the spread in 11 of their final 13 matchups, but quickly bowed-out of the Big East tournament with a 70-58 loss to Creighton as a 2-point underdog. Take note that the Friars are 13-3 ATS as an underdog over their last 16 neutral site matchups.

[PLAY-IN TEAM] USC Trojans (24-9 SU, 16-16 ATS, 15-16-1 O/U): The UNDER has cashed in four straight USC games, but be advised that the Trojans are an alarming 2-9 ATS over their last 11 showdowns against teams that feature a winning percentage of .600 or higher.

[PLAY-IN TEAM] Kansas State Wildcats (20-13 SU, 15-12-2 ATS, 13-16 O/U): The Wildcats have covered the number in four straight outings and have seen the UNDER go 46-22-1 over the program’s last 69 non-conference games. However, be advised that Kansas State has covered the spread just once over its last five NCAA tournament matchups.

[PLAY-IN TEAM] Wake Forest Demon Deacons (19-13 SU, 16-14 ATS, 21-8-1 O/U): The OVER has cashed in 15 of the Demon Deacons’ last 17 matchups. Additionally, Wake Forest is 5-0 ATS over its last five games against Big 12 opposition.

12 SEEDS

Nevada Wolf Pack (28-6 SU, 23-10-1 ATS, 18-14-2 O/U): A big round of applause for head coach Eric Musselman, who transformed Nevada from a 9-22 doormat in 2014-2015 to a 24-win club in his first year on the job to tournament-bound for the first time since 2007 thanks to a 28-6 mark during the 2016-2017 campaign. Not only that, but the Wolf Pack enter the Dance absolutely on fire thanks to nine straight wins and covers that featured six OVERS in the team’s last seven outings.

Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (30-4 SU, 23-10 ATS, 13-20 O/U): Do not, REPEAT, do not overlook these guys. Despite earning a 12-seed with an opening-round date against 5-seed Minnesota, the early money came gushing on the Blue Raiders, with the line moving from Golden Gophers -1.5 all the way to Middle Tennessee -1 in just a matter of hours. And for good reason, too, as the Blue Raiders enter the tournament having won 20 of their last 21 outings with eight ATS covers over the program’s last ten contests.

UNC-Wilmington Seahawks (29-5 SU, 14-15-1 ATS, 16-14 O/U): The Seahawks went from 2006-2015 without earning a berth in the NCAA tournament, but broke through last season and earned a hard-fought, first-round cover against Duke (+10) in the form of a 93-85 defeat. Be advised that the OVER is a perfect 10-0 over UNCW’s last ten games played in the month of March.

Princeton Tigers (23-6 SU, 12-10-1 ATS, 9-13-1 O/U): The Tigers roll into the Dance riding a 19-game winning streak that dates back to December 22 and at one point featured a stretch of 11 UNDERS in 12 games. That’s important to note as Princeton loves to slow the pace and rarely turns the ball over. There’s a reason a smidgeon of early money has come in backing the Tigers over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish: This program has the discipline and the goods from deep to engineer a first-round shocker.

13 SEEDS

Bucknell Bison (26-8 SU, 7-1 ATS, 5-2-1 O/U): Winners of six straight contests entering March Madness, the Bison return to the Dance for the first time since a one-and-done effort vs. Butler back in March of 2013. And while there is certainly upset potential with a team that shot an astounding 54.6% from two-point range this season, be advised that first-round opponent West Virginia is an impressive 19-7 ATS over its last 26 tournament matchups.

East Tennessee State Buccaneers (27-7 SU, 17-13-1 ATS, 15-15-1 O/U): Combine a highly aggressive and opportunistic defense (think blocks, steals) with an overall squad that has won nine of its last 10 games and you get an East Tennessee program that is 5-1 ATS over its last six neutral site matchups. Additionally, note that the Buccaneers are an impressive 28-12 ATS over their last 40 contests played in the month of March.

Vermont Catamounts (29-5 SU, 4-4 ATS, 2-6 O/U): They’re riding the nation’s longest winning streak at 21 straight victories, which dates back to a December 21 loss at Butler. Take note that the UNDER is a perfect 6-0 in Vermont’s last six NCAA tournament outings.

Winthrop Eagles (26-6 SU, 3-4-1 ATS, 6-2 O/U): The Eagles held the opposition to under 47% effective shooting this past season and has seen the UNDER cash 26 times in the school’s last 32 games played on a neutral court.

14 SEEDS

New Mexico State Aggies (28-5 SU, 3-2 ATS, 2-3 O/U): The good news here is that the Aggies have found their way into the Dance for the seventh time since the 2006-2007 campaign. The bad news is that New Mexico State is 0-6 straight-up and 2-4 ATS in those six matchups. The interesting news, however, is that the UNDER is a highly profitable 5-1 in those aforementioned six showdowns.

Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (26-7 SU, 4-0 ATS, 1-3 O/U): Dunk City is back! The team that captivated a nation in March of 2013 is dancing once again, which is good news for backers, as Florida Gulf Coast is 5-0 ATS over its last five tournament outings, with the OVER cashing in four of those contests.

Kent State Golden Flashes (22-13 SU, 16-13-2 ATS, 14-17 O/U): There are two streaks you need to pay attention to when it comes to Kent State: First, the Golden Flashes have covered the number in four straight outings as well as eight of their last nine games overall. Second, the UNDER has cashed in eight of Kent State’s last nine matchups.

Iona Gaels (22-12 SU, 14-16-2 ATS, 19-13 O/U): The OVER has hit in nine of Iona’s last 12 games thanks to a combination of up-tempo offense and defensive indifference. Be advised that Iona has hung 70 or more points on the scoreboard in 11 straight outings.

15 SEEDS

Northern Kentucky Norse (24-10 SU, 20-9-1 ATS, 13-17 O/U): They’re 10-5 ATS over their last 15 games against teams with a winning record, but in all likelihood it’s a one-and-done for the first team set to face the Kentucky Wildcats. However, take note that the OVER has cashed in six of Northern Kentucky’s last seven matchups.

Troy Trojans (22-14 SU, 20-12 ATS, 19-13 O/U): The Trojans have covered the number in four straight outings while watching the UNDER cash in seven of the program’s last nine games. In addition, motivation will be at an all-time high considering this is the school’s first tourney appearance this millennium. Also worth noting is the fact that Troy’s first-round opponent, Duke, is just 1-4 ATS over the last five years in the first round of March Madness.

Jacksonville State Gamecocks (20-14 SU, 17-12 ATS, 9-20 O/U): The UNDER has cashed in 16 of Jacksonville State’s last 18 games.

North Dakota Fighting Hawks (22-9 SU, 17-9-2 ATS, 15-12-1 O/U): The Fighting Hawks are 7-1 ATS over their last eight games when listed as an underdog. Additionally, North Dakota’s first-round opponent, Arizona, is 0-3 ATS over the last three years during the first round of March Madness.

16 SEEDS

Texas Southern Tigers (23-11 SU, 2-6 ATS, 5-3 O/U): This is Texas Southern’s third trip to the Dance since 2014, but be advised that the Tigers went 0-3 ATS during Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament play prior to landing a 16-seed. In addition, take note that the Tigers are 4-12 ATS over the program’s last 16 games when coming off a win over a conference rival.

South Dakota State Jackrabbits (18-16 SU, 14-16-1 ATS, 19-12 O/U): South Dakota State heads to the Dance having covered the number in six of its last seven outings. However, pay particular attention to the total in this game, as the OVER is 22-8 in the Jackrabbits’ last 30 games when listed as an underdog and 18-7 in South Dakota State’s last 25 non-conference matchups.

[PLAY-IN TEAM] UC Davis Aggies (22-12 SU, 17-12-1 ATS, 12-17-1 O/U): UC Davis is in the tournament for the first time in school history, so emotions should be running high for this one, even if it is a play-in game. The Aggies are 8-1 ATS over their last nine games played on a Wednesday, while the UNDER is 6-1 in UC Davis’ last seven Wednesday outings.

[PLAY-IN TEAM] North Carolina Central Eagles (25-8 SU, 6-0 ATS, 1-5 O/U): The Eagles are 8-2 ATS over their last ten non-conference matchups while the UNDER is 8-1 in NC Central’s last nine contests played on a neutral court.

[PLAY-IN TEAM] New Orleans Privateers (20-11 SU, 2-1 ATS, 1-1-1 O/U): The Privateers are 29-13 ATS over their last 42 games played on a neutral court, while the OVER is 12-3 in the school’s last 15 outings played in the month of March.

[PLAY-IN TEAM] Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers (19-15 SU, 3-3 ATS, 3-3 O/U): Opened the season 1-11, closed the season 17-4. That’s nonconference life as a low-major program. Be advised that the UNDER is 5-1 in the Mountaineers’ last six games when listed as an underdog and 11-2 in the school’s last 13 outings when lined between 130 and 139.5.


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