2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Betting Analysis: #3 vs. #14

Special thanks to @matteise for compiling the data used in this analysis. Check out our #2 vs. #15 first round analysis here.

Nowadays, it seems like there’s more and more advanced stats developed everyday. NCAA basketball is no different. You have sites such as KenPom and RPI, among others that crunch data to give insights as to who truly are the best teams in the nation.

Now that Vegas released the spreads and O/U for just about every tournament matchup, let’s take a look at what we believe are the most interesting historical trends that have developed in March Madness from a betting perspective.

After looking at this, we’ll give a prediction of our safest bet of the four first round matchups with these seedings.

The Matchups (Lines Subject to Change)

#3 LSU vs. #14 Yale

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/21LSU -7.5156.5LSU -475.5

#3 Purdue vs. #14 Old Dominion

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/21Purdue -12.5126Purdue -759.5

#3 Texas Tech vs. #14 Northern Kentucky

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/22Texas Tech -14137Texas Tech -866.5

#3 Houston vs. #14 Georgia State

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/22Houston -11.5141.5Houston -765.5

Five Interesting Historical Facts On #3 v. #14 Spreads

  1. In the last five years, the #3 team is 8-12 ATS. In the last three years, the #3 team went 2-2.
  2. A #3 team with BOTH an adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency ranking of 40 or better is 16-5-1 ATS. Texas Tech (#35/#1), Purdue (#5/#32), and Houston (#23/#13) meet this criteria.
  3. When a #3 team has a KenPom ranking that is 100 spots or better than the #14 Seed, the #3 Seed is 10-6 ATS. Purdue (#10) vs. Old Dominion (#112) is the only matchup that qualifies here.
  4. A #3 team from a NON-POWER CONFERENCE (Houston) is 1-6-1 ATS. Also, the #3 team led by 5 or more points at halftime just twice and trailed at half the five other games.
  5. A #3 Seed with BOTH a defensive efficiency ranking and defensive 3 PT FG% of 50 or worse is 5-15–1 ATS. LSU (#62/#161) meets this criteria.

Five Interesting Historical Facts On #3 v. #14 O/U

  1. In the last five years, the O/U record is 11-9, including 4-0 and 1-3 records in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
  2. When a #3 team is favored by 12 points or less, the O/U is 12-29. LSU/Yale opened at an O/U of 160 but has been trending down.
  3. A matchup where a #3 team with BOTH an adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency ranking of 40 or better has an O/U record of 6-16. Texas Tech (#35/#1), Purdue (#5/#32), and Houston (#23/#13) meet this criteria.
  4. When the #14 team scores 65 or more points, the O/U is 18-7. Conversely, when the #14 team scores 60 or less points, the O/U is 3-30.
  5. When the #3 team scores 70 or more points, the O/U is 22-16. Conversely, when the #3 team scores 69 or less points, the O/U is 2-24.

Our Safest Play – Texas Tech -13

This one was tough. We also like the Under at 126 for the Purdue/Old Dominion game, as well as Yale +7.5. Unfortunately, we find one too many scenarios that could happen where these bets would lose.

We like the Red Raiders to put the clamps down on Northern Kentucky and frustrate the Norse offense based on the advanced metrics of the matchup. Texas Tech has won 7 of their last 9 by double digits, with the average margin of victory to be 18.8 points.

The Norse have faced only two top 100 teams all year and lost both matchups by double digits. Even worse, the Norse free throw percentage doesn’t even crack the top 300! Come tournament time, poor free throw shooting is an easy way to throw away a game.

Thus, we believe that Texas Tech is the safest bet out of these matchups.

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