Just because a No. 1 has never lost to a No. 16 doesn't mean you should take all the top seeds against the spread in the opening round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The trends are actually calling for a few ATS upsets of heavily-favored top seeds on Thursday and Friday. But you would never know it by the heavy betting volume on the No. 1 seeds over at sportsbook [custom:bodog-link].
More than 90 % of the action is on Duke and Kansas, while nearly 95% were betting Notre Dame to cover the spread against Akron.
The first top seed you may want to go against ATS is the Pittsburgh Panthers. The Panthers get N.C. Asheville, one of the First Four winners, in the opening round.
Most books don't have odds for this game up just yet, but you can assume the Panthers will be big favorites.
In their last eight March Madness games the Panthers are a lame 1-7 ATS. Most of their ATS upset losses have come outside the opening round (they're 8-1 SU and 6-3 ATS in their last nine first-round matchups), but they still don't appear to be worth taking a chance on Thursday.
The Panthers are also just 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games as the favorite, so stay away.
Another top seed the trends don't like in the opening round are the Kansas Jayhawks. The Jayhawks have quite a big spread to cover in their opener versus Boston as a 22.5-point favorite at [custom:bodog-link]. Kansas has been a real letdown for bettors in the opening round in recent years with a 5-5 ATS record in their last 10 games.
The Jayhawks also enter the tournament 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games. Once they're past the opening round the Jayhawks have been money with a 7-1 SU and ATS record in the second round, so wait until Round 2 to back Kansas.
If you're looking for a potential upset in the opening round the trends are pointing to No. 11 Missouri to take down No. 6 Cincinnati in the West Region. The Tigers are listed at a pick'em at [custom:bodog-link] and in their last 10 tournament games versus a higher seed they are 7-3 ATS. They also sport a solid 5-0 record SU and 4-1 ATS in their last five games in Round 1.
After their impressive run through the Big East tournament some bettors may see the Connecticut Huskies as a lock both SU and ATS in their tournament opener versus No. 14 Bucknell. UConn should have no trouble sending Bucknell packing, but they may have a problem covering the 10.5-point spread at Sportsbook.ag.
The Huskies have been a bad ATS wager in the first round in recent years; they may be 6-1 SU, but they're also 2-5 ATS.
Here's a rundown of a few more trends that could make you some money in the first round of the tournament:
Michigan State is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 tournament games
BYU is 1-7-1 ATS in their last nine tournament games
Gonzaga is 1-6 ATS in their last seven tournament games
Florida is 7-1 SU but 1-7 ATS in their last eight games as a double-digit favorite
Texas is 12-2 OVER in their last 14 tournament games