2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Betting Analysis: #6 vs. #11

Special thanks to @matteise for compiling the data used in this analysis. Check out our #5 vs. #12 first round analysis here.

Nowadays, it seems like there’s too many 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)

#6 Maryland vs. #11 Belmont

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/21Maryland -3150.5Maryland -1.572.5

#6 Villanova vs. #11 St. Mary’s (CA)

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/21Villanova -4.5130Villanova -2.559.5

#6 Buffalo vs. #11 Arizona State

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/22TBDTBDTBDTBD

#6 Iowa State vs. #11 Ohio State

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/22Iowa State – 5.5140Iowa State -364.5

Five Interesting Historical Facts On #6 v. #11 Spreads

  1. In the last five years, the #6 team is 6-14 ATS, including 1-3 records each of the last three years.
  2. When the #6 team is favored by 5.5 or more points, the #6 team is 6-10 ATS. Iowa State is the lone #6 team favored by 5.5 points.
  3. If a #6 team from a Mid-Major conference plays a #11 team from a Power Conference, the #6 team is 1-14 (!!) ATS. Buffalo/Arizona State fits this criteria.
  4. If a #6 team from a Power Conference goes against a #11 team from a Mid-Major Conference, the #6 team is 2-10 ATS since 2010. However, one of those wins came last year. Will Villanova and Maryland buck this trend?
  5. When a #6 team from a Power Conference goes against a #11 team from a Power Conference, the #6 team is 11-8 ATS. Iowa State/Ohio State is the only matchup that fits here.

Five Interesting Historical Facts On #6 v. #11 O/U

  1. In the last five years, the O/U record is 6-14, including 0-4 in 2015 and 2018.
  2. When the #6 team is favored by 5.5 or more points, the O/U is 6-10.
  3. If the #6 team is favored by 2.5 or fewer points, the O/U record comes out to 4-10-1.
  4. When the O/U is set at no more than 130 points, the the O/U record is 9-12.
  5. If the #5 team scores 74 or fewer points, the O/U is 7-27-1.

Our Safest Play – Maryland/Belmont UNDER 150.5

Yes, Belmont has a top 5 offense in terms of efficient FG % and 2PT FG%. They have a top 20 adjusted offensive efficiency ranking due in large part to the fact over 90% of their 2PT shots this season were in the paint and/or at the rim.

However, they’ve only played one game this season against a team with anywhere similar defensive and tempo numbers as Maryland; against Purdue. Belmont lost that game 73-62.

Purdue has adjusted offensive efficiency, adjusted defensive efficiency rankings of #5 and #31. Maryland ranks #27 for the former and #22 for the latter. Similar to Purdue, Maryland ranks as one of the slowest tempo offenses in the nation. Most importantly, the Terrapins ranks in the top 20 in 2PT FG% allowed because they force their opponents to take long 2PT FGs.

The last fact we want to point out is while Belmont’s leading scorer Dylan Windler is shooting 43% from 3 on the season, he’s only 12-50 in the five games against KenPom top 100 ranked opponents.

So why aren’t we taking Maryland here? They are below average at finishing at the rim, they play one of the slowest tempo of basketball in the tournament, and they are one of the worst teams in protecting the ball from turnovers.

The turnover battle could swing either way, which is another reason why we don’t know which spread bet is better. Belmont is top 20 at protecting the ball while Maryland is top 20 in forced turnovers. Conversely, Maryland turns the ball over at one of the highest percentage rates in the tournament, while Belmont is one of the weakest teams at forcing turnovers.

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

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