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That proposition has typically been a sour wager for those laying the points, with Sweet 16 underdogs posting a 21-9-1 ATS record (12-19 SU with one game closing as a pick’em) the four years prior (2011-2014) – covering the spread 70 percent of the time in that span.
That has Big Dance bettors wondering how loud the underdogs will bark in Thursday and Friday’s Sweet 16 matchups. Perhaps the one thing that should most concern those looking to wager on the eight NCAA games is the size of the dog in those contests.
Looking back to 2007, Sweet 16 underdogs between +3 and +6.5 are a collective 18-11-1 ATS (13-17 SU), covering the spread 62 percent of the time in that nine-season stretch. And shortening the sample to those four tournaments mentioned above – 2011 to 2014 – those same-sized pups (+3 to +6.5) posted an 11-4 ATS count, for a 73 percent cover rate.
Taking a glance at the 2016 tournament schedule, six of the eight regional semifinals fall under that pointspread category – save for Oklahoma (-2.5) vs. Texas A&M, and Notre Dame (-1) vs. Wisconsin. Miami is getting four points from Villanova, Maryland is a 6.5-point underdog to Kansas, Duke moved from +1.5 to +3 versus Oregon, Iowa State is getting five points from Virginia, Syracuse is at +4.5 facing Gonzaga, and Indiana is a 5.5-point pup against North Carolina.
As for the Aggies and Badgers currently sitting as slim betting pups, it’s not as cut and dry as dogs between +3 and +6.5. Underdogs between +1 and +1.5 are just 3-5 SU and ATS in the Sweet 16 since 2007 while dogs between +2 and +2.5 boast a breakeven 4-4-1 ATS record, going 3-6 SU in that span.
So far, NCAA tournament betting underdogs have finished 12-36 SU and 22-25-1 ATS heading into the Sweet 16, covering at just a 47 percent clip. Those NCAA teams getting between +3 and +6.5 are a split 8-8 ATS (7-9 SU).