Last week in this space we examined some of the most historically profitable betting trends during the round of 32 (or the 3rd round as it’s somewhat confusingly referred to). We discussed how favorites, and specifically favorites of at least 5.5 points, had fared extremely well during the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. That trend continued in this season’s tournament with favorites posing a 10-6 ATS record and favorites of 5.5+ posting a 7-3 ATS record.
While favorites rule the opening weekend of the tournament, history indicates that underdogs will dominate the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. Although our overall sample size is reduced somewhat with the number of remaining teams cut in half, we decided to once again utilize our Bet Labs software to see where the value lies this weekend.
In fact, since 2005 underdogs have posted a 61-46 ATS record (+12.18 units, 1.4% ROI) during the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. When we focus on underdogs of at least 3-points our units earned remains essentially unchanged, however, with fewer overall system matches we’re able to increase our return on investment by more than 5%.
While it has been consistent profitable to bet underdogs of 3+ points during the second weekend of the NCAA tournament, we thought it would be interesting to layer a variety of different filters to see how we could improve our ROI even further. The table below, which uses line data from Pinnacle, shows how underdogs of 3+ points have fared when layering on the following filters.
|Filter||ATS Record||Units Earned||ROI|
|Opp ATS Win % > 50%||44-20||+22.01||34.4%|
|Previous Game ATS Margin 0-10||30-9||+19.62||50.3%|
|Seed of 4 or higher||38-20||+16.31||28.1%|
|ATS Win % <55%||28-13||+13.74||33.5%|
|Opp Last Win 1-7 Points||20-6||+13.13||50.5%|
|Opponent Winning % > 75%||42-28||+12.24||17.5%|
|Following Win of 4 or less||19-8||+10.27||38%|
|Start Time; 7PM ET or Later||29-19||+8.78||18.3%|
|Def Allows <65.5 PPG||20-12||+6.9||21.6%|
We often preach the importance of buying on bad news and selling on good, so perhaps some of these results should not be too surprising. In terms of units earned, the most profitable system we examined were when underdogs of 3+ faced off against an opponent with an ATS winning percentage of at least 50% (44-20 ATS, +22.01 units).
This system has five current game matches including Dayton (+3 vs. Stanford), UCLA (+4.5 vs. Florida), Baylor (+3 vs. Wisconsin), San Diego State (+6.5 vs. Arizona) and Kentucky (+5 vs. Louisville). None of these teams have higher than a 4-seed, which provides additional historical value.
We’ve also observed value to 3+ underdogs in games with low totals. In games in which the over/under has been less than 138, underdogs of 3+ points have posted a 29-12 ATS record with a staggering 38.4% return on investment. This falls in line with our observation that large underdogs are typically undervalued in low-scoring games.
Had you ever wondered if teams are affected after pulling out a narrow victory? Many analysts will claim that it’s good for teams to be tested early with last-second wins, however, when underdogs of 3+ points face a team that won their previous game by 7 points or fewer, those dogs have posted a 20-6 ATS record during the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. Stanford barely pulled out a 60-57 upset over 2nd-seeded Kansas last round, which gives further indication that Dayton may offer college basketball bettors additional value.
We will continue to post new content to the blog throughout the week, but make sure to check out March Madness Central for all of the latest odds, public betting percentages, plus our unique Bracket Simulator.