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Auburn a Tremendously Popular Underdog Among Early Final Four Bettors

Credit:

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl.

  • Auburn (+5.5) has received 79% of the early spread bets for its Final Four game vs. Virginia (6:09 p.m. ET Saturday, CBS).
  • Historically, underdogs have not performed well against the spread this deep in the tournament and trendy dogs are no exception.
  • Lower-seeded teams generally lose in the FInal Four or championship, going just 5-24 straight up since 2005.

Choo choo! All aboard the Pearl Express. Auburn is headed to the Final Four whether you like it or not, and by the looks of it, most of you out there like it.

Though the Tigers are taking on the only No. 1 seed remaining in the tournament (Virginia), the early movers in the betting market really like Auburn plus the points. In the first ~15 hours since lines opened, 79% of spread tickets have come in on the Tigers +5.5/+5.

It hasn’t been the sharpest of betting onslaughts, however, as the majority of books have remained at the opening number of +5.5. In fact, there was recently buyback on Virginia at one key book that had moved to +5.

Historically, the Final Four and championship games have not been a good spot for underdogs. As a whole, they’re just 16-25-1 against the spread (ATS) dating back to 2005. Trendy mutts have basically performed at the same level, going 5-9 ATS, per Bet Labs.

The trendiest underdog we’ve ever tracked this deep in the tournament was Brad Stevens’ Butler squad in the 2011 championship vs. UConn. This is the year after Gordon Hayward missed at the buzzer, by the way. Butler received 59% of bets at +3, but lost in a low scoring affair, 53-41.

Once you get this deep in a tournament, Cinderella-esque stories tend to come to an end. Teams with the lower seed in the Final Four or finals are just 9-19-1 ATS and 5-24 straight up (13 times the seeds have been the same). Auburn isn’t exactly a Cinderella, but you catch my drift.

It’s highly unlikely the Tigers continue to receive this level of support, but I imagine they are still receiving the majority of spread bets by week’s end.

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