March Madness is finally underway, and by now you have already filled out your bracket, said a few prayers, and are ready to watch Cindy from accounting—who had her daughter fill out the bracket—win your office pool once again. March Madness can be brutal.
So, now that your bracket has (probably) already been busted, the only thing left to do is actually wager on some of the games. Here are a few tips and stats for betting college basketball over the next couple of weeks.
Don’t be afraid to take the points
The tops seeds in the NCAA tournament have not been eliminated in the first round since the tournament expanded to 64 games in 1985—they are 112-0 in that span—and have won their games by an average of over 20 points per game. The trouble is that spreads are so huge during the NCAA tournament that the top seeds have only covered roughly 52 percent of the time. So, even though 16 seeds have virtually no chance at pulling off a first round upset, they are at least a 50/50 shot to cover the spread. If you feel like a top-seed is getting overrated, don’t be afraid to take the points in any round.
A few one seeds will lose
All four top-seeds have only made the Final Four once in the tournament’s history—in 2008. However, the tournament has seen the opposite situation, where no top seeded team makes the Final Four, twice in 2006 and 2011. The odds say that at least a couple of number one seeds will be eliminated between the round of 32 and the Elite Eight. I would not advise blindly betting against top seeds, just simply keep that stat in mind during your pre-wager analysis
Some more stats
A seven, nine or ten seed has not made a Final Four appearance in the last 28 years. The rest of the top 11 seeds have at least one appearance. Kansas and Wisconsin currently have the longest streaks of making it to the round of 32 and have done so for the last six years.
Louisville is considered the favorite to win the national title and are getting 19/4 odds, while Indiana is getting 5/1, Florida 7/1/, and Gonzaga 10/1.
One final area to try and take advantage of is betting positive moneylines. Point spreads between four to seven points will usually have a moneyline of +130 and +220 and are an opportunity to get some excellent value on your wagers. Mid-range underdogs in the 9 to 12 seeds pull off upsets all the time during March Madness, and depending on the moneyline, could pay up to 2-1 on your wager. Again, I am not advising that you blindly bet mid-range underdogs, but just simply keep them in your thought process when deciding on which teams to wager on.
By George Monroy