2015 NCAA Tournament: Most Profitable Seeds

For most basketball fans, March Madness is all about filling out brackets with very limited interest in betting individual games. However, we have found a number of historically profitable trends that bettors can utilize to build their bankroll during the NCAA Tournament.

Fans and analysts alike love to talk about trendy upset picks like the 12-seed over the 5-seed, but we wanted to determine whether certain seeds were actually undervalued by bettors or whether this was merely a creation of the media.

Using our Bet Labs software, we were able to isolate all Round of 64 games (which is now confusingly referred to as the second round) to determine which seeds have been the most profitable for bettors.

Since underdogs have been historically undervalued, we were curious whether lower seeds (9-16) would prove to be more profitable than high seeds (1-8). The following table displays the ATS for every seed during the Round of 64:

Seed ATS Record Units Won ROI
1 20-20 -0.74 -1.9%
2 18-20 -2.90 -7.6%
3 24-16 +6.43 16.1%
4 22-17 +4.02 10.3%
5 17-22 -6.00 -15.4%
6 18-21 -3.79 -9.7%
7 22-17 +3.98 10.2%
8 20-17 +2.10 5.7%
9 17-20 -4.06 -11%
10 17-22 -5.70 -14.6%
11 21-18 +1.67 4.3%
12 22-17 +3.68 9.4%
13 17-22 -5.82 -14.9%
14 16-24 -8.84 -22.1%
15 20-18 +0.95 2.5%
16 20-20 -1.08 -2.7%

Overall, high seeds have outperformed low seeds in the second round of the NCAA Tournament with 1-8 seeds boasting a 161-150 ATS record (+3.09 units won). It’s also interesting to see that constant hype about 12-seeds are validated, as they have posted a 22-17 ATS record since 2005. That makes them the fourth most profitable seed for Round of 64 bettors, trailing only 3-seeds (24-16 ATS, +6.43 units), 4-seeds (22-17, +4.02 units) and 7-seeds (22-17, +3.98 units).

Knowing that 3-seeds have been historically undervalued, bettors may want to monitor the following teams on our free College Basketball odds page:

  1. Baylor (-8.5) vs. Georgia State
  2. Notre Dame (-12.5) vs. Northeastern
  3. Iowa State (-13.5) vs. UAB
  4. Oklahoma (-12.5) vs. Albany

Knowing which seeds were the most profitable during the Round of 64, we wanted to know whether these trends held up as the tournament advances to the later rounds. The table below displays the top performing seeds overall:

Seed ATS Record Units Won ROI
1 82-82 -3.98 -2.4%
2 57-70 -15.80 -12.4%
3 62-52 +6.51 5.7%
4 54-49 +2.71 2.6%
5 41-39 -0.32 -0.4%
6 35-37 -3.52 -4.9%
7 42-33 +6.79 9.0%
8 32-33 -2.59 -4.0%
9 28-30 -3.70 -6.4%
10 29-32 -4.27 -7.0%
11 39-34 +2.69 3.7%
12 39-31 +5.91 8.4%
13 23-30 -8.11 -15.3%
14 17-30 -13.92 -29.6%
15 22-20 +0.94 2.2%
16 20-20 -1.08 -2.7%

It’s noteworthy that 7-seeds, 3-seeds and 12-seeds continue to be profitable in later rounds, while 2-seeds and 14-seeds are leaps and bounds worse than any other seed. It’s also intriguing that our database features 70 past matches featuring the 12-seed but only 65 past matches featuring the 8-seed.

Want to recreate our analysis or build your own college basketball systems? Try a 6-day trial of Bet Labs and start winning today.

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David Solar

David Solar has been the Content Manager at Sports Insights for over four years. He specializes in sports betting analytics and has created several popular data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

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