Ja Morant, Murray State Trendiest Double-Digit Seed in Recent NCAA Tournament History
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ja Morant
- Following its win over Marquette, 12-seed Murray State is now an even trendier underdog.
- Since 2005, only one team in Murray State's current position has received as many bets as the Racers are currently getting.
Murray State pulled off the 12-5 upset of Marquette on Thursday — one of three 12-seeds to win straight-up in the first round — and advanced to today’s Round of 32.
But while seven seed spots may have differentiated Murray State from Marquette, only three points separated them in the betting market by tip-off. Even the moneyline hovered around just +135/+140 throughout the day, so clearly oddsmakers were high on the Racers’ chances heading into the game.
The betting public, however, was apparently even higher, as Murray State attracted 56% of bets despite the short spread. According to Bet Labs, only three 12-seeds at +3 or shorter have received a higher percentage of bets in the first round since 2005.
While favorites and higher seeds are usually things that tend to attract public bettors, so too are big names, and if you haven’t heard yet, Murray State has one of those.
Ja Morant — who dropped 17 points to go along with 16 assists and 11 boards against Marquette — is seen as a top-three pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. He averaged 24.6 points per game during the regular season and led all NCAA Division I players with 10.0 assists per game.
So what happens when an already trendy dog blows out its first opponent by almost 20 points?
It gets trendier, apparently.
Early openers for Murray State’s matchup with 4-seed Florida State were in the +6 range, but 63% of bets and 70% of money behind the Racers have brought that spread down to +4.5, marking the eighth time since 2005 that a 12-seed has been listed shorter than +5 against a 4-seed in the Round of 32.
Overall, there have been 39 double-digit seeds at +5 or shorter against a single-digit seeded opponent past the Round of 64 since ’05. Only 10 have received the majority of bets. Of those 10, only one has eclipsed the 63% mark that Murray State is currently holding (2010 Cornell +4.5 vs. Wisconsin, won 87-69).
Our power ratings set this game at FSU -7.5, but with still plenty of time left until tip-off, the question of which way the line moves from here is still up in the air. Stay up to date with every line move and market percentage change using The Action Network App.