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2022 March Madness Odds: 15 Seeds Are Most Profitable ATS Underdog Seed in Round of 64

2022 March Madness Odds: 15 Seeds Are Most Profitable ATS Underdog Seed in Round of 64 article feature image
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Since 1985, when the NCAA Tournament bracket was expanded to 64 teams, the 15 seed has been the most profitable under-seeded team against the spread (ATS).

That’s right, 15 seeds are more historically profitable than 11 or 12 seeds — the classically favored underdogs during the Round of 64.

15 seeds are even more profitable than 9 seeds, which are commonly favored in brackets.

No. 15 seeds have gone 76-65-3 (53.9%) against the spread since 1985. No. 12 seeds facing off against No. 5 seeds aren’t far behind at 75-65-4 ATS (53.6%). Yet, for a second place underdog, they tend to receive more of the luster in public discourse.

For reference, the next best underdog seeds ATS since 1985 are No. 9 seeds (74-66-4, 52.9%) and No. 11 seeds (72-69-3, 51.1%). Overall, No. 15 seeds are the second-best ATS team out of all seeds in the tournament. No. 7 seeds are 55.7%.

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There have been some classic, straight-up 15 seed over 2 seed upsets, too.

In fact, six of the eight biggest upsets based on point spreads were by 15 seeds over 2 seeds. The bolded teams below were No. 15 seeds.

  • 2012: Norfolk State, +21 vs. Missouri 
  • 2018: UMBC, +20.5 vs. Virginia
  • 1997 Coppin St, +18.5 vs. South Carolina 
  • 1993 Santa Clara, +18.5 vs, Arizona 
  • 2001 Hampton, +17.5 vs. Iowa St 
  • 1986 Arkansas-Little Rock, +17 vs. Notre Dame
  • 2016 Middle Tenn St, +16.5 vs. Michigan St 
  • 2021 Oral Roberts, +15 vs. Ohio St 

That list doesn’t include Lehigh, which took down Duke as a No. 15 seed on the backs of future NBA All-Star CJ McCollum.

It also doesn’t include Florida Gulf Coast’s dismantling of Georgetown in 2013. That win also included one of the most memorable dunks of the tournament over the last decade.

The No. 15 seeds set to face off on Thursday and Friday are:

  • Saint Peter’s (+18.5) vs. Kentucky
  • Jacksonville State (+15.5) vs. Auburn
  • Delaware (+15.5) vs. Villanova
  • Cal State Fullerton (+18.5) vs. Duke
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