Trends Say Bet These 1st-Round Upsets & Tournament Favorite

Trends Say Bet These 1st-Round Upsets & Tournament Favorite

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March Madness betting is here and it’s the biggest stage a sports bettor can experience, with plenty of bets in every region. This tournament is electric, fun, entertaining and suspenseful.

There are plenty of trends to decide futures and how specific matchups will go. Let’s take a deep dive into the Madness of March.

Who Should You Bet to Win it All?

Let’s look at all the champions from 1999-2018. Nineteen of the last 20 champions were in the top 20 in both offense and defense efficiency. If you are a team that does not play both sides of the ball, you are not holding up the trophy.

This is why I love this tournament. The teams that are strong in all categories win the tournament. It is a complete deep team all around effort. Eight teams this season qualify under this category: Virginia (+600 with PointsBet), Gonzaga (+600), Duke (+250), North Carolina (+750), Kentucky (+1400), Michigan (+2000), Michigan State (+1350) and Houston (+5000).

Quickly looking at these eight teams, it is probably safe to eliminate Houston and Virginia. Virginia simply just does not perform well in this tournament over the years. Its defense typically does not translate to a strength in March during high energy, bright-light games. The Cavaliers usually do not have the raw athleticism other blue blood teams have.

Houston is Houston. This is a very solid team but struggled a bit down the stretch. It’s highly unlikely a 3 seed wins it all. That leaves us with Gonzaga, Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan and Michigan State.

Breaking Down the 6 Hopefuls

When dissecting these teams, there are keys to find which one will win it all:

  • The last 30 champions have more assists than turnover.
  • All but one of the last 25 years, the team’s coach with Sweet 16 experience
  • All but one 1 of last 25 champs had three wins over top-10 RPI teams
  • The last 15 champs were all top-30 defensive efficiency

This only eliminates Houston of the original eight. However, the difference maker here is offensive rebounding. The last 20 years, the champion has almost always been in the top 20 in offensive rebounding. Every champion had elite NBA talent/lottery picks on the team.

This leaves us with Duke and Kentucky.

The Road to the Title

Duke will likely need to beat Michigan State and Gonzaga or Michigan to get to the championship.

Kentucky would likely have to beat a sneaky Wofford or Seton Hall in the second round, a very good conference champion Iowa State team AND North Carolina to even get to the Final Four. Tough draw.

If the Wildcats get that far, they could face Tennessee or Virginia in the Final Four. Not the easiest path by any means, and I do not think they get past North Carolina.

That leaves us with Duke cutting down the nets. Bet Duke is +250 to win it all with PointsBet.

First-Round NCAA Tournament Betting Trends

Now let’s look into the first round and possible upsets. The key ingredients for a double-digit seed to pull a first-round upset: limit turnovers, play both sides of the ball, force turnovers and defend the 3. With these metrics, historically just over 20 percent of these teams pull the upset as a double-digit seed.

This season, 18 teams qualify under this criteria. Based off prior data, we can expect three or four teams to pull the upset as double-digit dogs. Now let’s look at the lines that suggest a strong shot at an upset. These are essentially spreads that make you scratch your head.

Best Upset Bets in First-Round

The best chances for a double-digit seed to score an upset are Yale, New Mexico State, Northeastern, Murray State, Saint Mary’s, Liberty and UC Irvine.

The top three plays would be 13 seeds UC Irvine and Northeastern, and 12 seed Murray State. UC Irvine is at +165 vs. Kansas State , Murray State is +150 vs. Marquette , and Northeastern is +240 with BetAmerica .

A strategy you can do with this is as follows. Murray State and Northeastern both late Thursday afternoon ET. Bet both on the moneyline and hope one hits.

UC Irvine plays Friday at 2pm ET. I do not typically recommend chasing by any means, but to chase winning one bet on these three teams is a good bet. If you lose the first two, not a terrible idea to unload on UC Irvine.

I personally prefer taking these teams against the spread and I can definitely see two of the three covering. If you add Liberty at +240 with 888Sport to the mix , going 2-2 is a good bet to win some big underdog money.

Always look at double-digit seeds that have small spreads within 6-7 points. This is typically a great bet and a valuable gem over the years.

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