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Hottest And Coldest Bets Entering NCAA Tournament

Landry Shamet of the Wichita State Shockers drives to the basket during a semifinal game of the 2018 AAC Basketball Championship

We always hear about teams getting hot at the right time in college basketball. Teams that go on improbable runs through March just because they fit all the puzzle pieces together at just the right moment. This idea goes the same for bettors, as well.

Which teams have found their greatest success, or failures, for bettors heading into March Madness? These are the teams that bettors may want to consider tailing or fading through the beginning of the Madness.

Hottest ATS Bet: San Diego State Aztecs

San Diego State is not getting much love entering the NCAA Tournament, as the Mountain West champions are taking on Houston – a trendy sleeper pick – in the Round of 64. However, bettors should keep an eye on the Aztecs, who have covered in eight of their last nine, including five straight.

During San Diego State’s current nine-game winning streak, the team has posted an average scoring margin of +11.7 points per game.

However, the Aztecs will enter their contest with the Cougars as underdogs – a position that has not been good for San Diego State. Malik Pope and company are 1-3 SU and ATS in their last four games as an underdog dating back to January 17.

Coldest ATS Bet: Wichita State Shockers

Wichita State has become proper fade material down the stretch. The Shockers have failed to cover in six straight games and seven of their last eight entering the NCAA Tournament. During their current six-game ATS skid, they have an average scoring margin of +3.5 points per game while facing an average closing spread of -8.9.

The reason for this skid has been Wichita State’s questionable defense. In the Shockers’ last six outings, they are allowing over four more points than their season average while permitting opponents to hit 44.5 percent from three-point range. 

Wichita State will be giving up 11.5 points against Marshall in the Round of 64. The Thunderin’ Herd rank inside the top 20 nationally in points per game, two-point percentage, field goals made and three-pointers made. Wichita State should win this game but if the Shockers don’t start guarding the perimeter, then they could fail to cover for their seventh straight.

Hottest OVER Bet: Michigan Wolverines

Michigan is not the team you expect to be here. After all, the Wolverines are ninth in the nation in points allowed. But their offense has been just good enough to get them over the hump of the low totals books are posting. Michigan has gone OVER in its past five games with the offense averaging 3.3 points more than the team’s season average in that span.

I would be wary about jumping on this bandwagon, though, as four of Michigan’s last five games have gone OVER by less than three points. Basically, if the Wolverines offense slips by even the slightest margin, then these games start going UNDER.

In addition, Michigan plays Montana in the Round of 64. Though the Grizzlies own a better offense than most people realize, they rely heavily on pounding the ball down low to score. Michigan’s interior defense is not a group you simply bowl over, which would likely mean the Wolverines will need to score even more to top the 135 total.

Hottest UNDER Bet: Virginia Tech Hokies

Virginia Tech has gone UNDER in a ridiculous nine straight games. Those nine games have seen an average combined score of just 133.9 points per game compared to an average closing total of 147. That is a massive difference of over 14 points.

The Hokies offense has completely evaporated in that span, averaging 67.8 points per game compared to their season average of 79.7. This is largely due to the inconsistency of Virginia Tech’s three-point shooting with the Hokies shooting 34.8 percent in their last nine games – while failing to hit at least one-third of their deep shots on four occasions.

All that being said, the total for VT’s Round of 64 game vs Alabama is still a healthy 142. That is likely due to the fact that the Crimson Tide will have Collin Sexton carrying the ball. The freshman is coming off a stellar SEC tournament and the hype machine is pumping up Sexton’s tires. Not to say he doesn’t deserve it, but Alabama has gone UNDER in three of its last five – so he can’t do it himself.