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March Madness: Sweet 16 Betting Trends

The underdogs have gone 21-10-1 ATS since 2011 in the Sweet Sixteen as we take a look at the betting trends for the regional semifinals of the 2015 NCAA Tournament, which take place on Thursday and Friday this week.

And the biggest underdog in the Sweet Sixteen this year is West Virginia, who sat as 13-point dogs against top-seeded Kentucky early in the week. The Mountaineers are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games and 4-1 ATS in the Sweet Sixteen, while the Wildcats enter Thursday's matchup on a run of 8-2-1 ATS in their past 11 games as double-digit favorites.

Kentucky is also 10-2 SU and 9-3 ATS in the Sweet Sixteen since 1996.

Elsewhere, Duke is 6-1 ATS in its past seven games heading into its Sweet Sixteen matchup with No. 5 Utah this week, with the top-seeded Blue Devils also just 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven games against No 5 seeds since 1996.

The UNDER has gone 15-2-1 in the last 18 games in which Utah was an underdog; early in the week they sat at +5 against Duke.

And North Carolina will be up against another top seed, Wisconsin, when it hits the floor in the Sweet Sixteen this week, with the No. 4 Tar Heels 9-0 SU and 6-3 ATS in their last nine Sweet Sixteen contests since 1996.

North Carolina, however, is 0-5 both SU and ATS in its last five games as an underdog at the NCAA Tournament, with Wisconsin set as a 5.5-point favorite early in the week.

March Madness: Sweet 16 Trends List

Underdogs are 21-10-1 ATS since 2011 in the Sweet 16
Last year the OVER went 6-2 (18-14 since 2011)
Higher seeds are 16-8 SU the past three seasons

Wichita State (7) vs Notre Dame (3)
WSU lost just twice since Christmas Day
WSU 14-3 ATS since 2010 as fave of 1-3 points
Notre Dame 6-2 ATS past eight as underdogs
Notre Dame 0-8 ATS past eight Madness games
WSU 7-2 ATS past nine Madness games
Past two 3 vs 7 matchups won by 7s (UConn 2014, Florida 2012)

North Carolina (4) vs Wisconsin (1)
4 seeds won 3 of past 5 matchups vs top seeds (but 1s are 22-8 SU since 1996)
Badgers 0-2 SU, 2-0 ATS vs UNC since 2001
Badgers 5-2 ATS in Sweet 16 since 2000
North Carolina is 9-0 SU, 6-3 ATS in Sweet 16 since 1996
UNC 0-5 SU and ATS as Madness underdog since 2000

West Virginia (5) vs Kentucky (1)
5 seeds just 6-19 SU vs top seeds since 1996, but 2-1 past three times
West Virginia beat top-seeded Kentucky in 2010
West Virginia 7-2 ATS past nine games, 4-1 ATS in Sweet 16 round
West Virginia just fourth time since 2004 as underdog of 13 or more
Kentucky 8-2-1 ATS past 11 as double-digit favorite
Kentucky is 10-2 SU, 9-3 ATS in Sweet 16 since 1996
West Virginia 9-2 ATS as Madness underdog

Xavier (6) vs Arizona (2)
2 seed 14-2 SU vs 6 seeds, but 6s are 5-2 ATS past seven
Xavier 20-3-1 ATS past 24 Madness games
Xavier 5-0 ATS in Sweet 16
Arizona is 9-1-1 favoring the OVER in Sweet 16 since 1996
Xavier 12-1 ATS as Madness underdog since 2003
Biggest spread facing Xavier since Feb. 2005
Arizona 11-3 ATS past 14 as double-digit favorite

UCLA (11) vs Gonzaga (2)
2 seeds 7-0 SU, 4-2-1 ATS vs 11 seeds since 1996
UCLA 12-3 ATS past 15 games overall
UCLA played 11 straight UNDERs as underdog
UCLA covered six in a row as underdog
Gonzaga lost four straight Sweet 16 games
Gonzaga 5-11 ATS as Madness favorite since 2000
2 seeds 8-1 SU past nine games in Sweet 16

NC State (8) vs Louisville (4)
NC State 7-2-1 ATS past 10 games as underdog
8 seeds won and covered vs 4 seeds every time since 2000 (4-0)
Louisville had covered six straight Sweet 16 games before failing past two tries (6-2 ATS)
UNDER is 7-0 past seven times Louisville favored by 1-3 points

Utah (5) vs Duke (1)
5 seeds just 6-19 SU vs top seeds since 1996, but 2-1 past three times
Duke 1-5-1 ATS (3-4 SU) vs 5 seeds since 1996
Duke just 3-6 SU past nine trips to Sweet 16
UNDER is 15-2-1 past 18 times Utah was underdog since 2013
Duke riding 6-1 ATS streak overall

Michigan State (7) vs Oklahoma (3)
Past two 3 vs 7 matchups won by 7s (UConn 2014, Florida 2012)
MSU played 9 of 12 UNDERs in Sweet 16 since 1996
Oklahoma perfect 4-0 ATS in Sweet 16 since 1996
Oklahoma 1-5 ATS past six games overall as underdog

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You are at the stage of the bracket where some teams never lose and some teams never win. Wouldn’t it be nice to know the 2014 March Madness betting tendencies of those teams over the past decade? No problem.

Underdogs have been the best bet in recent years, as they are 12-4 ATS the past two tournaments in the Sweet 16. Add in 2011 and it's a 17-7 ATS streak over three years.

Three of the four No. 1 seeds remain in 2014, but they did not cover many spreads recently at this stage, going just 2-8 ATS in 10 games over the past two Madnesses (0-3 last year).

Higher-seeded teams were 5-3 last year and 6-2 in 2013 for an 11-5 SU run in the Sweet 16 round.

Check out the Sweet 16 betting trends and watch for lines (and bonus specials) at Bovada.

South Region

Florida 1 vs UCLA 4
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 vs Stanford 10
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
Six of past seven Stanford games played UNDER the total
Stanford 10-2 SU past dozen games as favorites

East Region

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
Top seeds are 12-4 SU past 16 games vs 4 seeds
The only time since 1996 that a 4 was favored vs a 1, No. 4 Louisville beat Washington in 2005
Virginia 18-1 SU past 19 games overall

Iowa State 3 vs Connecticut 7
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

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
6 seeds are 7-3 ATS past 10 vs 2 seeds

Midwest Region

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
8 seeds have played 4 seeds three times since 2000 and won all three

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
UNDER is 10-2 past 12 games when Vols are underdogs
Michigan is 7-1 ATS past eight tournament games

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Underdogs have been excellent in the past two tournaments, rolling to an 11-5 ATS record in Sweet 16 action. Oregon and Florida Gulf Coast are both double-digit underdogs after crashing the 2013 March Madness bracket as No. 12 and No. 15 seeds respectively. But not everyone is cheering on the underdogs.

“Florida Gulf Coast is a great story as a 15 seed making the Sweet 16 and they are getting lots of positive press,” said Kevin Bradley of Bovada.lv, who had 80 per cent of early betting on the Eagles. “Normally we are happy when underdogs cover spreads, but we are cheering for the Gators as 13-point favorites because so much of the early action is on FGCU.”

Three of the four No. 1 seeds remain, but they did not cover many spreads recently at this stage, going just 2-5 ATS in seven games over the past two Madnesses.

Bradley would like to see Oregon sent packing by No. 1 Louisville because they have a 300/1 wager on the Ducks to win the tournament.

Still, higher seeds tend to win at this stage of the competition. Higher-seeded teams were 6-2 SU a year ago but just 3-5 SU in 2011 for a two-year total of 9-7 SU.

There are two cases where 1 seeds face 4 seeds and there has been a reliable UNDER trend when that happens historically. The Under is 9-3 in the past 12 games where a No. 1 seed plays a No. 4 seed. Indiana vs Syracuse in the East and Kansas vs Michigan in the South fit the bill.

Last year, three teams seeded 10 or higher played in the Sweet 16 and all three covered the spread (NC State, Ohio, and Xavier). If that pattern holds up, Oregon as the 12 seed would cover against No. 1 Louisville in the Midwest region, Florida Gulf Coast will cover against No. 3 Florida as the first-ever 15 seed in the Round of 16, and No. 13 La Salle will upset No. 9 Wichita State in the West Region.

The East region sees the top four seeds still intact.

Midwest Trends

Louisville (1) vs Oregon (12)
Cardinals 6-0-1 ATS past seven tournament games
Cardinals are 6-0 ATS (5-1 SU) past 6 Sweet 16 games
Cardinals 9-0 ATS in past nine games this season
Cardinals 8-0 ATS past 8 games as favorite
UNDER is 8-1 past 9 Oregon games as underdog

Michigan State (3) vs Duke (2)
Spartans 6-2 ATS past 8 trips to Sweet 16
Duke 2-5-1 ATS past 8 trips to Sweet 16
Duke 6-1 SU, 1-5-1 ATS past 7 vs Spartans
UNDER is 7-1 past 8 Spartans games
Spartans 13-5 ATSD past 18 games as underdog

South Trends

Kansas (1) vs Michigan (4)
Jayhawks 2-0 SU, 0-2 ATS recently vs Michigan
Jayhawks 11-2 ATS past 13 games overall
Jayhawks 10-2 ATS past 12 games as favorite
UNDER is 11-1 past 12 Kansas tournament games

Florida (3) vs Florida Gulf Coast (15)
FGCU first ever 15 seed to play in Sweet 16
Florida 11-3 ATS past 14 tournament games
UNDER is 9-2 past 11 Gator games overall
Florida Gulf Coast is 14-2 SU past 16 games overall

West Trends

Wichita State (9) vs LaSalle (13)
Shockers 6-1 SU past 7 games as favorite
LaSalle 6-2 ATS past 8 games overall

Arizona (6) vs Ohio State (2)
Arizona 13-3 ATS past 16 games as underdog
Ohio State 8-2 ATS past 10 games overall
Arizona 5-0 ATS past 5 tournament games
OVER is 6-1 past 7 Ohio State Madness games
Ohio State 9-0 SU, 7-2 ATS past 9 games as favorite

East Trends

Indiana (10) vs Syracuse (4)
Indiana 1-5 ATS past 6 Madness games
Syracuse 0-3 ATS past 3 tournament games as underdog
Indiana 2-6 ATS past 8 games overall
Indiana 1-6 ATS past 7 games as favorite

Marquette (3) vs Miami (2)
No trends of note