March Madness 2014: Round of 32 Betting Trends

And then there were 32. After just two days of action (play-in games not included), the field has already been cut in half from the initial field of 64 teams — 68 if you want to get technical. But how can college basketball bettors profit during the first weekend of March Madness? Using our Bet Labs software, we were able to analyze some of the most historically profitable betting trends for the round of 32 and determine where the value lies.

During the regular season, underdogs are typically undervalued and the public typically avoids betting dogs like the plague. However, during the NCAA Tournament the public undergoes a dramatic transformation and often pounds these customarily unpopular teams.

The most logical explanation is that not only are bettors accustomed to seeing shocking upsets during March Madness, but also that they consider the remaining teams to all have superior talent and would rather just take the points when two elite teams face off. Perhaps this change in philosophy explains the success of favorites during the tournament.

Criteria
ATS Record
Units Won
ROI
All Favorites 76-64 +8.2 5.9%
Favorites of 5.5+ 44-33 +8.52 11.1%
All Teams <40% 45-34 +8.73 11%
Favs <40% 9-5 +3.45 24.7%

As you can see in the table below it’s been very profitable to bet on favorites during the round of 32 — especially favorites of at least 5.5+ points. It’s also been profitable to bet against the public at the 40% level, although it’s fairly uncommon to see a favorite receiving less than 40% of spread bets.

The table below features various profitable betting trends during the round of 32.

Criteria
ATS Record
Units Won
ROI
75%+ Winning Percentage 83-70 +8.51 5.6%
All 12 Seeds 11-4 +6.41 42.7%
All 3 Seeds 19-12 +5.96 19.2%
All SEC Teams 15-9 +5.34 22.2%
All A-10 Teams 9-4 +4.52 34.8%

It’s interesting to note that 12-seeds, who are one of the trendier upset picks for many bettors during the first round of the tournament, have actually been the best seed to bet on during the round of 32. With opening round victories by two 12-seeds, North Dakota State (+3 vs. San Diego State), Harvard (+7.5 vs. Michigan State) and Stephen F. Austin (+8.5 vs. UCLA) may offer value to bettors on Saturday.

On the flip side, 8-seeds (6-12, -6.27 units) have actually been the worst seed to bet on. Similarly, SEC teams have been the most profitable conference to bet on during this round, while the frequently praised Big East (20-24, -5.02 units) and ACC (13-17, -4.64 units) have been the worst conferences to bet on.

Regarding totals, we have found that unders have been historically undervalued and that trend has been magnified this season with the introduction of new hand-checking rules. However, this trend is turned on its head during March Madness with all overs posting a 76-65 ATS record (+7.32 units, 5.2% ROI). When we narrow our focus to examine the over in games with a total of at least 133, our return on investment nearly doubles to 10.3% (53-41, +9.65 units).

Bettors can create their own NCAA Tournament betting systems by visiting our free College Basketball Bet Labs preview, which is available at our Bracket Central. Have any questions about how to build your bankroll during March Madness? Make sure to utilize our Live Chat function to speak directly with a Sports Information Specialist.

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