March Madness: Final Four Trends

OddsShark.com will once again be providing complete coverage of March Madness, so keep checking back for updates. In the meantime, head over to the college basketball odds page for lines and totals for today's games and updated odds to win the 2015 NCAA Tournament, or use the College Basketball Database to get a head start on your research for this year's Big Dance.

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Bigger isn’t always better than smaller, but higher is almost always better than lower when it comes to betting on the Final Four and that trend continued at the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

In 14 games since 2005 (excluding games where both teams had the same seed), the higher-ranked teams are 13-1 SU. At the betting window they were almost as dominant, riding a 11-2-1 ATS mark in that NCAA Tournament odds action.

Last year, the Final Four saw Louisville favored twice against lower seeds, failing to cover against Wichita State but covering a 4-point spread against Michigan in the national final. The other game pitted Michigan vs Syracuse, both 4 seeds.

“The bracket is full of upsets and underdogs and Cinderella wannabes, but when it comes down to crunch time in the later rounds, the higher seeds take care of business,” said Mark Presley, the main basketball handicapper at OddsShark.com.

“Everybody loves an underdog, but history shows that Final Four underdogs don’t love them back.”

The national championship game has witnessed a similar trend in the past decade, although not as pronounced. In the final game, the higher-seeded team is 8-2 SU and ATS. Favorites are on a 7-2-1 ATS run in the past 10 title games. Two years ago, Kentucky beat Kansas, but the game was a push on the closing lines at 67-59 on a 6-point number.

Three of the last four national title games all went under the total, in part because defensive-minded mid-major Butler defied the odds to play in two of those games. The latter game was a 53-41 snoozer that plunged UNDER the total by nearly 40 points. A year ago, Louisville and Michigan soared OVER the number.

In fact, betting UNDER in the Final Four has been a very profitable way to wager on March Madness totals. Since 2005, the UNDER has prevailed at an 11-5-1 clip in 17 games.

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