March Madness: How Will the 12-Seed vs. 5-Seed Matchups Shake Out?

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March Madness: How Will the 12-Seed vs. 5-Seed Matchups Shake Out?
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It seems like every NCAA Tournament features at least one 12-seed knocking off the 5-seed and transforming themselves from a pretender to a Cinderella team that the public then becomes enamored with.

Nothing is more enjoyable in your college basketball betting when you not only cover the spread with an underdog, but the underdog wins the game straight-up.

Let’s take a look at the historical records of these money-making underdogs that have given us so much entertainment and excitement over the years.

How Has the 12-Seed Done against the 5-Seed?

Since 2005, there have been 64 12-seed vs. 5-seed games and the 12-seed has earned a 35-27 against the spread record, good for 57% winning bets.

Now, if the 12-seed was priced between +115 and +175 using the moneyline, their performance has been outstanding, producing an 11-6-1 straight-up record for 65% winning bets and earning a robust 24 return on investment (ROI) over the last 16 NCAA Tournaments.

These dogs have ranged between 2 and 4 points.

Breaking Down This Year’s 12-Seed vs. 5-Seed Games

So how does this year's group break down? First, Connecticut isn't losing to New Mexico State. OK, the Huskies are a single-digit favorite, at seven points. But, I think they're a far superior team and will cover.

The total is 131.5 and I'm taking the Under in that game.

Let's take a look at the other matchups.

12-Seed Richmond vs. 5-Seed Iowa

The Big Ten Champion Iowa Hawkeyes were somehow seeded at No. 5, despite having the most efficient offense in the nation and possessing the nation's-best turnover ratio at 1.74.

You might remember from my Big Ten Championship preview article that I was all over the Hawkeyes to win the tournament.

They are lined as 10.5-point favorites over the Richmond, and I do not see this being an upset win.

This matchup is on Thursday with a scheduled tip-off at 3:10 p.m. ET at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.

The Hawkeyes are 11-3 against the spread taking on opponents that are making eight or more 3-point shots per game this season.

Richmond is 5-13 against the spread when taking on an opponent that is making 45% or more of their shots this season.

No upset here. I like Iowa in this game.

12-Seed Wyoming/Indiana vs. 5-Seed St. Mary’s

The winner of the Wyoming and Indiana ‘Play-In” game takes on St. Mary’s and that might be a little more interesting.

The fifth-seeded Gaels had a successful season and got a win against top-ranked Gonzaga. However, if Iowa took on St. Mary’s, the Hawkeyes would be installed as at least a 7-point favorite.

Wyoming is a slight 4-point underdog to Indiana and the game is scheduled to tip-off Tuesday at 9:10 p.m. ET.

I like Wyoming in this spot. It is 13-3 against the spread when facing teams averaging six or fewer steals per game on the season in games over the past three seasons.

The Cowboys are also 27-10-2 against the spread in games played in the second half of the season (after game number 15) and taking on an opponent who is averaging 14 or fewer forced turnovers per game in each of the past three seasons.

I like Wyoming to beat Indiana and then to upset St. Mary’s.

12-Seed UAB vs. 5-Seed Houston

Houston takes on the UAB Blazers Thursday at 9:20 p.m. ET at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The Blazers find themselves priced as 8-point underdogs.

The Blazers are 9-1 against the spread in road games facing an opponent that is outscoring their opposition by eight or more points per game in games played over the past three seasons. They are also 10-3 against the spread when taking on an opponent making an average of eight or more 3-point shots per game this season.

Supporting the potential upset is the fact that the Blazers are 8-1 using the moneyline and taking on a foe that is shooting 45% or better on the season in the second half of the season (after game number 15) in each of the last two seasons.

I am leaning toward UAB.

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John Ryan

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