This Profitable Betting System Has Matches in Six Sunday Tourney Games
Feb 20, 2018; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Miles Bridges (22) reacts during the first half of a game at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Sign up for The Action Network’s daily newsletter to have the best sports betting insight and analysis delivered to your inbox.
Villanova (-11.5), Duke (-9.5), Kentucky (-5.5) — big favorites on Saturday in the Round of 32 — all won and covered as public sides. Is this the exception or rule during the first weekend of March Madness?
Using the Bet Labs software, I answered that question and identified a profitable betting trend involving six games on Sunday’s slate.
During the regular season, casual bettors like wagering on favorites. However, during the NCAA Tournament the public starts taking underdogs, especially in later rounds. Squares expect upsets, because its March Madness, and they consider most of the remaining teams to be of equal talent. So, when elite teams meet, recreational gamblers like to take the points in what they expect to be a competitive game.
Oddsmakers anticipate this action and will shade the line toward the underdog. That means contrarian bettors can get favorites, the better team, at a discounted price. Since 2005 in the round of 32, favorites have gone 111-93-4 (54.4%) ATS. Big favorites and the unpopular chalk have performed even better.
Favorites of five or more points have gone 71-52-1 (57.7%) ATS and though it is a small sample, unpopular favorites, teams getting less than 50% of spread tickets, have covered 65.5% of the time (36-19-1 ATS).
Here are the games that match these trends for Sunday.
Michigan State (-9) vs. Syracuse: Cuse struggles to score, averaging 67.0 points per game and ranking 323rd in the nation in effective field goal percentage. The Orange will have a hard time keeping it close against a Spartans squad that ranks top-10 in offensive efficiency per KenPom.com.
Kansas State (-10) vs. UMBC: The Retrievers are the ultimate Cinderella but UMBC isn’t likely to make a run to the Sweet 16. Since 2005, double-digits underdogs in the Round of 32 have gone 1-24 straight-up (10-15 ATS).
North Carolina (-6) vs. Texas A&M: During his career at North Carolina, head coach Roy Williams is 17-0 straight-up and 12-4-1 ATS when playing an NCAA Tournament game in the state of North Carolina.
Cincinnati (-8) vs. Nevada: A majority of spread tickets are on Nevada, yet the line has moved from Cincinnati -7 to -8. This called reverse line movement and is an indication of sharp money on the Bearcats.
West Virginia (-12.5) vs. Marshall: The Mountaineers opened as -825 moneyline favorites, an 89.2% implied probability of winning. According to our bracket simulator, WVU has a 91.2% chance to beat Marshall and advance to the Sweet 16.
Xavier (-5.5) vs. Florida State: Xavier scored 102 points against Texas Southern in the first round. Teams that scored 100 or more points in the NCAA tournament have gone 17-3 straight-up and 14-5-1 ATS in their next game since 2005.
Top photo: Michigan State’s Miles Bridges; credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports