The favorites were able to close out the NCAA Tournament round of 64 on the run, but the slew of underdogs that came out on top in Thursday’s 16 games helped sportsbooks keep smiling as the tournament headed into the round of 32 this weekend.
During the round of 64, the favored team was victorious in 25 of the final 26 games including winning 15 of the 16 games played Friday. That run started when Xavier who was favored, defeated Ole Miss on Thursday and continued on until Friday’s last game when Dayton an underdog defeated Providence.
The favorites are winning, but not always by enough to cover the number. Underdogs were 8-8 against the number Friday and 20-12 against the number over the two first days of the NCAA Tournament.
Thursday was a huge day said one sportsbook. According to some, the day was the biggest single day win for the sportsbooks in memory.
Including the Tuesday and Wednesday First Four matchups, the underdogs covered the number in the tournament’s first 10 games. Favorites were 4-12 ATS on Thursday. Two No. 14 seeds UAB and Georgia State won straight up over No. 3 seeds as double-digit dogs, damaging the brackets and ripping apart moneyline parlay across the board.
According to Bovada and topbet, the sportsbooks did not make a clean sweep of the boards but they came darn close.
The public bettor is not the most sophisticated during March when celebrations of spring break collide with basketball’s March Madness. The public usually will fancy the favorites and the parlays at long odds. However, when a run of underdog covers takes place, as they did on Thursday, the books are the big winners.
Even Hampton, the No. 16 seed, the largest tournament dog in the NCAA in the past 16 years has its believers. Hampton lost as the great majority of the betting, sharp money and basketball fans in general figured they would.
However, they were 35-point dogs and lost by just 23. It was the biggest spread in the NCAA Tournament since 1999 when Duke was a favorite by 47 points over Florida A&M.
There were a number of moneyline bets for Hampton at 150 to 1 odds and all that money stayed with the sportsbooks.
The tournament continues on Saturday with eight games and another eight on Sunday to whittle the field to just 16 for the start of the Sweet 16 next Thursday.
There are sure to be many more upsets and dogs covering before this tournament has concluded.