In a few days, we will know which 68 teams are going to the Big Dance.

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is the highlight of the college basketball season and is often referred to as March Madness because of the simultaneous games and unpredictability of the winners. As exciting as March Madness is for the basketball fan, it is also a big opportunity for bettors to make money.

Betting on March Madness is a billion dollar industry. With plenty of games to be played in such a short amount of time, the earning possibilities are almost limitless.

Basketball Types Of Betting

When we talk about March Madness betting, there are several ways to bet on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The most obvious one is to bet on the outright winner. This is the easiest because all  you have to do is pick the one team among the 68 included in the tournament which you think will win it all.

The second way to bet on March Madness is to bet on props. Now we talked about this in a previous article. Here, the bookmakers have already created bets as to which teams are going to win games, make the Final Four, etc. However, these bets are made even before the teams have been named by the selection committee. For this type of bet, you can use the historical trends and facts for reference. We will talk about those later.

The third and most exciting way to bet on March Madness is to bet on the actual tournament itself. Now we won’t know the final participants of the 2019 NCAA Men’s basketball tournament until after March 17th, so what you do now is get your printable NCAA bracket. You can get it from the NCAA website here. Once the teams are named, you can fill up the first round names and then start making your picks.  Update your bracket after every round to keep track of the remaining teams that you can bet on. You are going to do this until a national champion is crowned. But why do you have to use a bracket?

When you use a bracket, you can trace what rank the remaining teams originally came from. That’s important because while we have our own favorite teams, there are also historical facts and trends that point to some seeds doing better against the others in particular rounds. Now let these trends and facts be your guide in picking your winners.

Basketball Early Rounds

The opening stages of March Madness can be wild. It’s madness after all. But if you’re looking for upsets, don’t look at the #16 teams because no 16th seed has ever beaten a #1 seed in the history of the NCAA Tournament. Of course, you will argue that it’s bound to happen soon. But I’m not willing to bet against history on that one .

Among the lower seeded teams, the seed that is likely going to produce an upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament is the 12th seed. The #12 vs #5 matchup has always been interesting in the past decade. That’s because a 12th seed has knocked out a 5th seed in nine out of the last 10 years. Moreover, there have been at least two #12 seeds to score an upset over the 5th seed in six out of the last 10 years. That’s a pretty high probability that’s probably worth your bet too.

Now Round 2 gets more interesting. Take a look at how the seeds have performed in the second round since 2001:

Seed 2nd round record
1 59-9
2 41-22
3 40-20
4 33-21
5 22-17
6 16-22
7 15-28
8 6-34
9 3-25
10 11-14
11 11-18
12 10-19
13 3-11
14 0-8
15 1-4
16 0-0

If you want to play it safe though, 59 out of 68 times since 2001, the #1 seed has made it to the third round or the Sweet 16. On the other hand, 48 out of 68 #1 seeds have made it to the Elite 8. The semifinal round of the Final Four is where it becomes interesting as only 28 out of 68 #1 seeds have made it there.

Basketball The Final Four

We charted down how the seeds have performed in the Final Four since the 64-team format was established in 1985:

Seed Final Four Championship Game National Champions
1 56 33 21
2 26 12 5
3 16 11 4
4 13 3 1
5 6 3 0
6 3 2 1
7 3 1 1
8 5 3 1
9 1 0 0
10 1 0 0
11 4 0 0
12 0 0 0
13 0 0 0
14 0 0 0
15 0 0 0
16 0 0 0

Number One seeds are made as such for a reason. Hence, while we love to hear about Cinderella stories, it’s still safe to bet on the right number one seeds. According to the data above, the number #1 seeds still have the most success in Final Four history, although not all four #1 seeds every year have the same amount of success.

There has only been one instance, in 2008, when all four #1 seeds made the Final Four. Similarly, only five times have three #1 seeds made it to the Final Four. Also, there have only been three seasons-1980, 2006 and 2011, when no #1 seed made it to the Final Four. Again, there has to be a #1, you just have to pick the right one.

When it comes to Final Four appearances, the #1 seeds have made it 56 times. On the other hand, the 2,3 & 4 seeds have made it a combined 57 times. So as we said that you pick the right #1 seeds, don’t overlook the teams ranked 2, 3, & 4 because those are the seeds that are likely to join the #1’s in the Final Four. Another interesting fact to note that since 1991, only 14 out o136 teams that made it to the Final Four were seeded #7 or lower.

So after the two Final Four games, we get our last two teams. Now according to the data above, the Top 3 seeds have the most probability of making the title game. Of course #1 has made the most appearances, followed by #2 and then #3. On the other hand, the lowest seed to ever make the title game is #8  and there have only been three with the last being Villanova who won it all in 2008.

Moving to the title game, 21 out of the last 34 National Champions were #1 seeds. That includes nine out of the past 12 winners from 2007 to 2018. The next successful seeds in the title game are #2 and #3 who have produced 5 and 4 winners, respectively. If you’re fancy a #5 seed, well no fifth seed has ever won an NCAA title so be careful if you want to go against that piece of history. Again, the lowest seed to win an NCAA title is #8 which was VIllanova in 2008. So crazy as March Madness can be, the #1 seeds have good betting value. You just have to pick the right ones.

March Madness is one of the hardest sports events to predict. Going with the facts and the trends are always better than going with your gut feeling. So whether you are betting on the outright winner, going with the prop bets or filling up your brackets, you are now armed with these valuable information. Now you are ready to make your bets. Good luck and happy betting!

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