March Madness Final Four

Thursday Trend: Seeds to Bet on in Round of 64, Mar. 18

I can hardly even type right now the excitement of March Madness has taken over. If my wife left me, my company went under, and I went into a coma for like a month beginning in April, I wouldn’t even care because it’s March baby. We get a nice little slate with the First Four on Thursday, on Friday the real action with the Round of 64 begins, and then we get three weeks of pure action that I will be betting on. 

As a primer, remember that you don’t have to bet all 32 games in the first round. Should you? Probably not. Will you? Probably so. I have been very tempted in the past to make a bet on at least every game and I just never know if that’s a good idea or bad idea. In this Thursday Trend, I want to really focus on the Round of 64, because I think there are some good things that we can pick up in this round. The 1 seed games are going to be massive point spreads and probable blowouts and the real value could lie in the 3 and 4 seed games. Last night, I was wondering which seeds actually cover the most out of this round. I searched long and hard, and by god I finally found the answer. 

Some crazy ass dude took together the last 11 years of the NCAA Tournament, compiled the data, crunched the numbers, and put together the winning percentages of each seed based on their against the spread record. The seed that covers the most games in the Round of 64 is actually the 11 seed followed by the 12 seed. If you are even okay at counting, you know that the 11 plays the 6 seed and the 12 seed plays the 5 seed. 

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In the last 11 years, the 11 seed has a 34-25-1 record against the spread that equates to them covering at 57 percent clip. The 12 seed has a 33-25-2 record, covering at a 56 percent clip. Either way, those are pretty great numbers. These seedings make sense. The 5 or 6 seed in this case is probably expected to cover a number that is close to 10 or in the double digits and the 11 and 12 seeds are usually pretty good programs. 

Here are this year’s 11 seeds and who they are playing: 

#11 Wichita State/Drake vs #6 USC 

#11 Utah State vs Texas Tech 

#11 Syracuse vs San Diego State

#11 MSU/UCLA vs BYU 

Obviously we don’t have official spreads on two of those games because there are two First Four contests in those. But if we are being honest, I actually have Utah State winning outright and Syracuse is a three-point dog. I actually don’t love that Syracuse line but for Utah State to be getting four points against a Texas Tech team that has been incredibly inconsistent, I’ll take it. BYU is an interesting matchup too. Both MSU and UCLA are really good programs that play in much better conferences than the Big West. Outside of sticking around with Gonzaga, the Cougars have done nothing this year that overly impress me. I will take the winner of that play-in game with the points. 

Here are this year’s 12 seeds and who they are playing: 

#12 USCB vs #5 Creighton 

#12 Winthrop vs #5 Villanonva 

#12 Oregon State vs #5 Tennessee 

#12 Georgetown vs #5 Colorado 

I actually like these 12 seed games a little bit more than the 11 seed games and the percentage of the covering is just slightly worse so you will probably find more points and more value here. I love the Oregon State game. They are coming off a Pac-12 Conference Tournament championship, they had big upsets over some really good teams and are gelling. They are getting 8.5 points in this matchup and were an excellent team ATS this season with an 18-9-1 record. The other game that sticks out to me is the Georgetown matchup. Their regular season was nothing special but they got hot at the right time and won the Big East. Patrick Ewing has this team lit up and they’re getting 6.5 points with a 16-9 ATS record this year. 

Obviously with these numbers favoring the 11 and 12 seeds, the inclination is that you need to stay away from betting on 5 and 6 seeds to cover. Outside of them, the other seed to avoid is the 10 seed which covers just 44 percent of the time. 

You should know which games to place a bet on, which games to sprinkle a moneyline on, and of course which games to avoid. 

Free Play: 

We are going with some First Four action in this one. I really like the OVER in the Texas Southern/Mount St. Mary’s game. Both teams have hit the posted number of 133 in at least 4 of their last 5 games. These two teams shoot the ball a ton and their averages are greater than this total. I think this is a bad number for Vegas and I am jumping on it.

Editorial credit: Al Sermeno Photography /

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