2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Betting Analysis: #4 vs. #13

Special thanks to @matteise for compiling the data used in this analysis. Check out our #3 vs. #14 first round analysis here.

Nowadays, it seems like there’s plenty of 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)

#4 Kansas vs. #13 Northeastern

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/21Kansas -6.5143Kansas -366.5

#4 FSU vs. #13 Vermont

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/21FSU -9133.5FSU -4.557.5

#4 Kansas State vs. #13 UC Irvine

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/22Kansas State -4.5119Kansas State -2.563.5

#4 Virginia Tech vs. #13 Saint Louis

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/22Virginia Tech -10.5126Virginia Tech -6.565

Five Interesting Historical Facts On #4 v. #13 Spreads

  1. In the last five years, the #4 team is 7-12-1 ATS, including a 0-4 record ATS last year.
  2. When favored by 10 or more points, the #4 team is 6-15-1 ATS. Virginia Tech is favored by 10.5 points.
  3. Conversely, when the #4 team has a KenPom ranking that is 85 ranking spots or better than the #13 team, the #4 team is 9-4-1 ATS. Also, when the #13 team has a KenPom ranking of 90 or worse, the #4 team is 13-7-1 ATS. Virginia Tech is ranked #11, while Saint Louis is ranked #104.
  4. When the #4 team scored 75 or more points, the #4 team is 22-8-1 ATS, but went 0-1 last season. Kansas averaged 75.4 PPG against the hardest adjusted strength of schedule according to KenPom.
  5. When the #4 Seed scored 74 or fewer points, the #4 team is 9-24 ATS. Kansas State has scored 75 or more points only FOUR times this season against an adjusted SOS ranking of #32.

Five Interesting Historical Facts On #4 v. #13 O/U

  1. In the last five years, the O/U record is 9-11, including 0-4 in 2018.
  2. When the #4 team is favored by 10 or more points, the O/U is 9-13. Virginia Tech is favored by 10.5 points.
  3. When the #4 team scored 75 or more points, the O/U is 20-11. Kansas averaged 75.4 PPG against the hardest adjusted strength of schedule according to KenPom.
  4. When the #4 Seed scored 74 or fewer points, the O/U is 10-23. Kansas State has scored 75 or more points only FOUR times this season against an adjusted SOS ranking of #32. Florida State has scored at least 75 points only two out of their last ten games.
  5. When the #4 team scores 70 or more points, the O/U is 22-16. Conversely, when the #4 team scores 69 or less points, the O/U is 2-24.

Our Safest Play – Kansas -6.5

This line feels like an overreaction to the one advantage Northeastern has over Kansas; shooting from deep. Northeastern is in the top 20 in 3PT FG% and top 25 in 3PT shots as a percentage of overall attempts. Conversely, Kansas barely cracks the top 300 in 3PT shots allowed as a percentage of overall attempts.

However, Kansas is just outside the top 100 in 3PT % allowed. Otherwise, Kansas is far superior in every other facet of the game in terms of talent, coaching, and advanced metrics.

The individual talent and coaching speaks for itself, but Kansas is #15 in adjusted defensive efficiency and will dominate on the glass. Northeastern generally a lineup with 4 guards and one center, which has a lot to do with why they’re ranked #328 in the nation in offensive rebound percentage.

Finally, Northeastern has played only two teams with top 25 adjusted defensive efficiency in Syracuse and Virginia Tech. In both those games, they lost by over 20 points.

Thus, we believe that Kansas ATS is the safest bet out of these first round matchups.

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