If you are picking bracket winners in the Sweet 16, recent history tells you to take the higher seeds.
If you are betting bracket games in the Sweet 16, recent history tells you to bet the underdogs, according to the NCAA basketball database at OddsShark.com, which provides daily odds to NBCSports.com.
Higher-seeded teams went 5-3 last year and 6-2 the year before that in the round of 16. That two-year total of 11-5 SU contrasts starkly with the 12-4 ATS streak enjoyed by underdogs in those same 16 games.
Include the 2011 tournament and underdogs are on a 17-7 ATS spree at the betting window.
Only one of the top seeds is gone as Florida, Arizona and Virginia remain. Not that bettors should be flocking to bet on the No. 1 seeds based on recent history. After their 0-3 ATS record in 2013, top seeds are mired in a 2-8 ATS funk over the past three Sweet 16 rounds.
Virginia is a rare underdog against No. 4 Michigan State. Since 1996, a top seed was a dog to a fourth seed just once. In that case, No. 4 Louisville prevailed against Washington back in 2005.
And top seeds should be very careful with No. 4 seeds, after losing two of three games to them in 2013 at this stage.
In the Midwest, state rivals Louisville (seeded fourth) face dangerous 8-seed Kentucky. There have been just three games involving 8 seeds vs 4 seeds and the lower seeds won all three.
Also in the Midwest, No. 2 Michigan faces No. 11 Tennessee. This matchup has occurred five times since 2002 and the No. 2 seeds are 5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS in those games.
In the West, an intriguing matchup of No. 6 Baylor and No. 2 Wisconsin is made more interesting by these trends: No. 2 seeds are 8-1 SU since 2002 vs 6 seeds, but the lower seeds have been money in the bank for bettors at 7-2 ATS.
The biggest favorite this week is Arizona at -7.5 against San Diego State, according to the March Madness odds menu.
South Region trends (odds in brackets courtesy of Bovada)
Florida 1 (-5) vs UCLA 4 (137)
Gators 3-0 SU and ATS vs Bruins in Madness since 2006 (all games OVER)
UCLA 4-1 SU and ATS past five games as underdogs
UCLA 1-7 ATS in Sweet 16 since 1997
Florida won six straight Sweet 16 games (4-2 ATS)
Dayton 11 (+3) vs Stanford 10 (133)
Just second time for 11 vs 10 matchup since 1996 (No. 11 VCU beat FSU in 2011)
Dayton 6-1 ATS past seven games
Dayton 8-3 ATS in 11 games as dog this season
Stanford 10-2 SU past dozen games as favorites
East Region trends
Michigan State 4 vs Virginia 1
Michigan State 6-1 ATS past seven games
Michigan State has played four straight UNDERs in Sweet 16 play
Spartans just 3-7 SU vs 1 seeds since 1996
Virginia 18-1 SU past 19 games overall
Iowa State (-1.5) 3 vs Connecticut 7 (146.5)
Iowa State won and covered six straight games
UNDER is 13-3 past 16 UConn games (but two OVERs in tournament)
UConn 7-2 ATS past nine tournament games
Iowa State 6-2 ATS past eight tournament games
West Region trends
Arizona 1 vs San Diego State 4
Arizona is 7-1 ATS past eight tournament games
Last year, No. 4 seeds went 2-1 SU against top seeds
UNDER is 6-0-1 in seven meetings of these teams since 2005
San Diego State 3-1 ATS vs Arizona since 2009 in preseason tournaments
Baylor 6 vs Wisconsin 2
Baylor is 10-3-1 ATS past 14 games overall
Wisconsin 1-4 SU past five trips to Sweet 16
Wisconsin 7-2 ATS past nine tournament games
2 seeds are 8-1 SU since 2002 vs 6 seeds
Midwest region trends
Kentucky 8 vs Louisville 4
Kentucky is 8-2-1 ATS past 11 games vs Louisville
11 of past 14 meetings played UNDER the total
Wildcats on 5-0 ATS run after an 0-5 ATS run
Louisville is 6-1 ATS past seven games
Louisville is 14-1 SU past 15 games as favorites
Kentucky on 7-0 SU, 6-0-1 ATS run in tournament games
Louisville is 6-1 ATS in Sweet 16 since 1997
Tennessee 11 vs Michigan 2
2 seeds are 5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS since 11 seeds since 2002
Michigan 9-1 SU past 10 games
Tennessee is 7-1 ATS past eight games overall
Michigan is 7-1 ATS past eight tournament games