NCAA Tournament Betting: Seeding Trends - Sweet 16 and Beyond

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

The NCAA Tournament has reached the Sweet 16 and here are seeding trends the rest of the way.  Trends are provided for all seedings for future reference.

Well, it was an eventful opening week of the NCAA Tournament that featured a one-seed going down in the round of 32 for the second straight season when the eighth-seeded Kentucky Wildcats eliminated the previously undefeated Wichita State Shockers, the same Wichita State team that as a nine-seed knocked out top seeded Gonzaga in the same round last season.

That was not the only notable upset though as we have now reached a Sweet 16 that for the first time since 1976 does not include either Duke, North Carolina, Kansas or Syracuse! Of course that has no bearing on our NCAA Tournament seeding trends, as we have analyzed those trends for the last 13 NCAA Tournaments since 2001. We presented the results for the rounds of 64 and 32 last week and we now present our seeding trends for the rest of the tournament going forward.

Please note that we are presenting the trends for all seeds that have made it at least to the Sweet 16 over the past 13 tournaments, meaning that this study includes some seeds that are no longer active for this tournament. That does not mean that this guide cannot serve as a reference for future seasons however.

Also note that 14-seeds and 16-seeds are not included because no such seed has made it as far as the Sweet 16 since 2001, and if you were paying attention last week, you know that no 16-seed has ever made it even beyond its first game. So without further ado, here are the seeding trends for the rest of the tournament from the Sweet 16 onwards from the 13 NCAA Tournaments since 2001, all based on the closing odds at Pinnacle Sports.

One-seeds: There have been 46 top seeds that have advanced to the Sweet 16 the last 13 years and they have gone 36-10 straight up. However, there have been no solid bets on either side of the fence here as the one-seeds and their opponents are an identical 23-23 ATS this round the last 13 seasons following an 0-3 ATS debacle for the one seeds last season with only Louisville at least winning outright. Now, Wichita State may be gone but the other one-seeds, Florida, Arizona and Virginia, will all be in action Thursday and Friday after winning their first two games.

Once we get to the Elite Eight, it has been more of a graveyard for the one-seeds as they are just 19-17 straight up over the tournament’s second weekend. Thus it becomes much more understandable why all four one-seeds have reached the Final Four only once since the seeding process began, with that occurrence happening in 2008. Furthermore one-seeds have been poor bets in the Elite Eight going just 14-22 ATS.

Those 19 one-seeds that have advanced to the Final Four have gone 12-7 straight up and a respectable 11-8 ATS, but you must remember that includes three matchups where two one-seeds have opposed each other, obviously including two such matchups in the all one-seed Final Four of 2008. If we back out the three head-to-head meetings of one-seeds, they are 9-4 straight up and a good 8-5 ATS when taking on other seeds in the Final Four round.

Once the one-seeds have gotten to the National Championship Game, they have been great bets when again not opposing each other. All one-seeds are 9-3 straight up and 8-4 ATS in the Championship Game, but that includes three head-to-head matchups between ones. Back those matchups out and the one-seeds are a perfect 6-0 straight up and 5-1 ATS in the National Championship Game vs. other seeds!

Two-seeds: It has been a mixed bag for the two-seeds in the Sweet 16. Beginning with the positive, they are 24-9 straight up in this round over the last 13 years. The bad news is that has not translated to any success at the betting windows where the twos are only 16-16-1 ATS in those games. A couple of two-seeds in Kansas and Villanova will be watching the rest of this tournament from home, but both two-seeds from the right side of the bracket are very much alive in Wisconsin and Michigan.

The overall results are very inconclusive for the 24 two-seeds that reached the Elite Eight, as they are only 12-12 straight up and 11-12-1 ATS since 2001. However, the breakdown of the ATS mark is much more interesting as the two-seeds are 10-6, 62.5 percent ATS vs. one-seeds in this round but 1-6-1 ATS when facing lower seeds.

There has not been much going on for the 12 two-seeds that have advanced to the Final Four round from a betting perspective either, as they are a nondescript 6-6 straight up and 5-7 ATS. A couple of two-seeds did oppose each other once though over the 13-year study, and interestingly that matchup took place the last time any two-seeds got this far, when Kansas got by Ohio State in 2011, Once you back out that battle of the two-seeds, they are still an uneventful 5-5 straight up and 4-6 ATS vs. other seeds in the Final Four round.

One of the best bets of the NCAA Tournament has been betting against two-seeds that have made it to the National Championship Game. The six two-teams that have played for all the marbles have a dismal 1-5 record both straight up and ATS since 2001.

Three-seeds: There have been 32 three-seeds to reach the Sweet 16, and again there is not much to say betting-wise this round as they are just 16-16 straight up and 15-17 ATS. There will not be a chance to significantly improve those records this season either with Iowa State being the only three-seed still playing basketball right now after a thriller over North Carolina.

Three-seeds that have moved on to the Elite Eight are 7-9 both straight up and ATS, but at least there has been some potential there for some Money Line profit as the three-seeds have gone 6-8 straight up when cast as underdogs. Perhaps the most surprising part of that record is that threes have only been favored twice in 16 Elite Eight appearances since 2001.

The seven three-seeds that have moved on to the Final Four have done pretty good for themselves going 4-3 both straight up and ATS. Iowa State is trying to become the first three-seed to reach the Final Four since Connecticut in 2011, which went on to win the national title.

Those four three-seeds that have advanced to the Championship Game continued to perform well, getting crowned National Champions three times while tasting defeat only once. They are also an identical 3-1 ATS in the final game.

Four-seeds: Interestingly, there have been 21 four-seeds to advance to the Sweet 16 since 2001 and those teams are a dismal 7-14 straight up but a quite respectable 12-9, 57.1 percent ATS. Then again, that makes more sense when you realize that when seeding has held up, many of those four-seeds have been matched up with one-seeds this round, so the ATS mark probably holds more significance. Before this tournament started, much of the talk centered on how powerful the four-seeds looked this season with this line including title contenders Louisville and Michigan State, and indeed all four four-seeds have reached the Sweet 16 with UCLA and San Diego State joining those two.

Thus there is great potential to add to the seven four-seeds that have advanced to the Elite Eight the last 13 tournaments, and those have done extremely well going 6-1 straight up and 5-2 ATS. Syracuse and Michigan added to the success of the four-seeds in the Elite Eight last season.

Unfortunately most of those four-seeds have fizzled out in the Final Four round going just 1-5 straight up and 2-4 ATS. The lone four-seed to win straight up was last season, but the curveball there was that a four-seed had to advance to the Championship Game with Syracuse and Michigan opposing each other. Back out that rare meeting of four-seeds and they are winless at 0-4 straight up as well as 1-3 ATS in the Final Four round the last 13 tournaments.

Michigan then gave Louisville a battle as the only four-seed to reach the NCAA Championship Game since 2001, but it was all for naught as the Wolverines lost and ultimately failed to cover the spread.

Five-seeds: Many five-seeds that have avoided the now famous 12-seed over five-seed upset in the round of 64 have fared better in the following round of 32, with 18 of them in fact advancing to the Sweet 16. Unfortunately many of them were matched up with one-seeds in this round and as a result the five-seeds are 5-13 straight up, although they have managed to go a slightly profitable 10-8 ATS. You will have to store this information away for next season though as no five-seeds have advanced to the Sweet 16 this year.

Something else definitely worth storing away and one of the biggest oddities of the tournament is that the five five-seeds that did move on to the Elite Eight have gone a perfect 5-0 ATS the last 13 seasons with four of them winning outright!

Two of those five-seeds that advanced to the Final Four opposed each other three years ago when Butler nipped Michigan State 52-50, while the other two five-seeds split 1-1 both straight up and ATS.

The two five-seeds that reached the Championship Game both tasted defeat, but they split 1-1 ATS with the cover being a memorable one, when Butler came within a missed desperation three-pointer at the buzzer of upsetting Duke in a two-point loss.

Six-seeds: A total of 13 six-seeds have reached the Sweet 16 the last 13 years and the results have been forgettable, as they have gone 3-10 straight up and 4-9 ATS. There is one hope this year for the sixes to improve those records somewhat, with that hope sitting with the Baylor Bears, who take on Wisconsin on Thursday.

Baylor has a tough road ahead of it as even if it does advance one more round, as the three six-seeds that have reached the Elite Eight since 2001 all lost outright, although to their credit they went 2-1 ATS.

Seven-seeds: The have been nine seven-seeds that have advanced to the Sweet 16 since 2001, and they are a decent 4-5 straight up although their identical 4-5 ATS mark is not as decent, suggesting the value on the sevens may lie in the Money Line. Well, that gets put to the test this season with seventh-seeded Connecticut advancing to this round and turning up as a small underdog vs. Iowa State.

Thus far the Elite Eight was the end of the line for all four seven-seeds that have reached that point, although they did manage to go 2-2 ATS.

Eight-seeds: A total of three eight-seeds have reached the Sweet 16 with all three of them doing so by upsetting one seeds in the previous round the past 13 seasons. Those eight-seeds proved to be resilient going 2-1 both straight up and ATS. Well, a fourth eight-seed since 2001 has reached the Sweet 16 this season via the same route of upsetting a one seed, and if you have been paying attention, you should know that team is Kentucky.

The two eight seeds that advanced to the Elite Eight have gone 1-1 straight up and ATS, with the winner being Butler two years ago.

And once Butler became the first eight-seed to reach the Final Four over our 13-year analysis, it proved that it was not done yet by beating another Cinderella team in VCU to advance to its second straight Championship Game.

Unfortunately the Bulldogs suffered the same fate they did vs. Duke the prior season except this time the outcome was not as close in a 12-point loss to Connecticut in the final.

Nine-seeds: The three nine-seeds to reach the Sweet 16 have gone 1-2 both straight up and ATS, and after the first two nine-seeds to crack this round failed miserably, it was good old Wichita State last season that broke the mold. It must be noted that the Shockers were actually favored though in their win over La Salle. No nine-seeds get a chance to duplicate that feat this year because none have advanced this far.

You probably all know by now that The Shockers were not done yet, as not only were they the first nine-seed to make the Elite Eight but they advanced one more round by upsetting Ohio State.

And even when Wichita State finally fell to Louisville in the Final Four, they did the nine-seeds proud by covering the spread in a 72-68 defeat, giving the eventual national champions their biggest scare of the tournament.

10-seeds: An surprisingly high nine 10-seeds advanced to the Sweet 16 the last 13 years, but they proceeded to go only 2-7 straight up and 4-5 ATS in this round. There is another 10-seed in the Sweet 16 this season, and that is a team that is actually favored to advance one more round in the Stanford Cardinal.

If favored Stanford does move on, it will join two other 10-seeds that have reached the Elite Eight since 2001 and they both lost straight up, although they did go 1-1 ATS with Stephen Curry’s Davidson team throwing a scare into Kansas while covering in a two-point loss in 2008.

11-seeds: There were seven 11-seeds to reach the Sweet 16 the last 13 seasons and they went a respectable 3-4 straight up and 4-3 ATS. Well, there are not one but two 11-seeds looking to improve on those marks this year, with the Dayton Flyers and Tennessee Volunteers both advancing this far. Both are only small underdogs too, so it is possible that either one or both of them are not done yet.

Only two 11-seeds have advanced to the Elite Eight since 2001, and a good omen for Dayton and Tennessee is that both of the previous 11-seeds have continued their Cinderella runs into the Final Four, as first George Mason did it in 2006 and the VCU followed in 2011.

Sadly, the seasons for those two 11-seeds both ended in emphatic fashion in the Final Four round with those teams going 0-2 ATS.

12-seeds: We have now gone through the entire Sweet 16 for this season, so the information on the final three seeds remaining needs to be stored away until next year. There were a rather high 10 12-seeds that advanced to the Sweet 16 over the last 13 tournaments, but they went just 1-9 straight up and 3-7 ATS.

That one 12-seed to advance to the Elite Eight was the 2002 Missouri Tigers, which then lost to Oklahoma but managed to ‘push’ the point spread in a six-point loss.

13-seeds: Just three 13-seeds have reached the Sweet 16 since 2001, and two of those three have done so in the last two years with La Salle advancing last year and Ohio the year before. Unfortunately those 13s went 0-3 straight up and 1-2 ATS, with Ohio in 2012 being the team that managed the cover.

15-seeds: Before last season, no 15-seed had reached the Sweet 16. The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles changed all of that, and they even covered the spread while sadly seeing their season come to an end vs. Florida.