Expect underdogs to have their day in Sweet 16 - NBC Sports

Expect underdogs to have their day in Sweet 16
March 27, 2014, 1:45 pm

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

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