The argument against March Madness betting trends is that the teams change year over year and their opponents are almost always new teams from new conferences.
But try as you might to ignore the trends, there are some facts and patterns that seem to come back each March at tournament time. Here’s a look at some of them.
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12 Seeds Remain Dangerous
It seems like the selection committee drops fading teams to the 5 hole each year while installing hot-shot mid-majors as 12 seeds. The result has become somewhat predictable with 12s dominating the point spread against their higher-seeded rivals.
The 12s are 10-5-1 ATS vs 5 seeds in the past four seasons and 2007 was the only year that 5 seeds swept the 12 seeds.
This year, Buffalo, Wyoming, Stephen F. Austin, and Wofford bare their underdog teeth as 12 seeds.
Which Teams are Most Profitable?
The top money-making teams are all back in 2015.
Butler is 19-7 ATS, while West Virginia has been awesome at 14-5 ATS. Wisconsin, at 24-14-1 ATS, is the best among the ‘usual suspects’ who seem to make the bracket every season.
VCU had cashed nine straight March Madness games starting in 2000, but lost two in a row recently to sit at 12-3 ATS. And Xavier sits at 19-6-2 ATS, a tremendous mark for bettors.
Try and Try Again
Belmont and Valpo head back to the bracket in 2015 and both are looking to break winless skids dating to 2000.
The Bruins are 0-6, while the Crusaders are 0-4. And they haven’t been any good at the sportsbook window either at a combined 1-9 ATS.
Big Hype, No Cash
ACC rivals UNC and Duke are tied for third since 2000 with 34 wins a piece, the most in college basketball. Kansas leads the way with 38 Madness victories, followed by Michigan State with 36.
But the Tar Heels have been a much better bet at 25-18-1 ATS, while Duke is 20-26-1 ATS (including 2-6 ATS in their past eight games overall).
Seed Trends – 1 vs 16
Top seeds just 2-6 ATS past two Marches and 4-8 ATS over past three vs No. 16s. Duke has failed to cover three straight Round of 64 games and Villanova is just 2-6 ATS in the Round of 64 since 2006.
Kentucky is 8-1-2 ATS past 11 tournament games while Wisconsin is 7-1-1 ATS past nine tournament games. See 1 vs 16 history
Seed Trends – 2 vs 15
All four matchups played UNDER in 2014, all four played OVER in 2013. And before you pencil in all four No. 2 seeds to advance, consider this: the 15 seeds have won outright three times in the past three seasons (Florida Gulf Coast, Lehigh, Norfolk State).
Is Kansas in jeopardy here as a 2 seed? They failed to cover last season against No. 15 Eastern Kentucky and lost to Hampton in 2001. They have been slumping and just 1-4 ATS in their past five Round of 64 games. See 2 vs 15 history
Seed Trends – 3 vs 14
Three seeds are 19-11 ATS vs 14s since 2007. And while this is a longshot for your bracket, Mercer upset Duke last year and Harvard took out New Mexico in 2013, so there is precedent.
UAB is a 14 seed with an underdog trend at the moment – they face a tough task in Iowa State. And Notre Dame has struggled in the tournament; they are seeded third against Northeastern at No. 14. See 3 vs 14 history
Seed Trends – 4 vs 13
4 seeds are 8-4 ATS past three seasons vs 13s. Louisville is a 4 seed that was upset in the same position by Morehead State, while La Salle and Ohio pulled the same stunt as No. 13s in 2012 and 2013.
An upset of a 4 seed has happened at least once in 11 of past 14 seasons, so buyer beware. See 4 vs 13 history
Seed Trends – 5 vs 12
12s are 10-5-1 ATS vs 5 seeds past four seasons. 2007 was the only year that 5 seeds swept the 12 seeds.
In the past two Marches, 5 seeds managed to win just twice in the eight games. Utah was upset as a 5 seed in 2009 and finds itself in the same spot this week against Stephen F. Austin.
Wyoming is another 12 seed riding an upset run lately (won outright four of five games as underdogs in March), they face Northern Iowa. See 5 vs 12 history
Seed Trends – 6 vs 11
11 seeds have made noise in recent tournaments and they have split 10 wins apiece with 6 seeds over the past five seasons. Butler is a rare case of a 6 seed being an underdog to an 11 seed (+1.5 vs Texas). That scenario happened last year as well when Tennessee took out UMass. See 6 vs 11 history
Seed Trends – 7 vs 10
No. 10 seeds had been money makers recently, going 11-5 ATS and 9-7 SU in the four NCAA Tournaments from 2009 through 2012. However, the No. 7 seeds have rebounded over the past two years, winning six of eight games and going 5-2-1 ATS at the payout window. See 7 vs 10 history
Seed Trends – 8 vs 9
8 seeds are 11-5 ATS vs 9s past four Madnesses and at least one No. 9 seems a lock to advance if history repeats itself. Purdue has won 12 straight Round of 64 games and is 9-3 ATS in those games. They face Cincinnati. See 8 vs 9 history