2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Betting Analysis: #8 vs. #9

Special thanks to @matteise for compiling the data used in this analysis. Check out our #7 vs. #10 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)

#8 Syracuse vs. #9 Baylor

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/21Syracuse -1.5130.5Louisville -0.560

#8 Utah State vs. #9 Washington

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/22Utah State -3135Utah State -1.562.5

#8 VCU vs. #9 UCF

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/22UCF -1126.5UCF -0.558.5

#8 Ole Miss vs. #9 Oklahoma

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/22Ole Miss -1140Ole Miss -0.566

Five Historical Facts On #8 v. #9 Spreads & O/U

  1. In the last five years, the #8 team is 11-9 ATS.
  2. UCF is the lone #9 team favored vs. VCU. When the #9 team is favored, the #8 team goes 19-9 ATS. In addition, the #8 team’s record ATS is 11-1 if the #8 team has a better KenPom ranking than their #9 opponent.
  3. If a #8 team from a Mid-Major Conference plays a #9 team from Power Conference, the #8 team is 6-4 ATS. Utah State/Washington is the only game with this criteria.
  4. The #8 team is 2-15 ATS when trailing at halftime.
  5. The O/U record for the last five years is 12-8.

Our Safest Play – Utah State -3

If you take a look at the following charts, you’ll see that Utah State bests Washington in just about every category besides adjusted defensive efficiency.

Some glaring advantages that I think Utah State will utilize are on the glass. Washington is #343 (!!) in offensive rebounds allowed per possessions. Also, Washington is outside the top 100 in offensive efficiency, whereas Utah State, for example, is #2 in 2PT % allowed.

The final stat to look at is FT %. In any close game, the team with the free throw advantage wins. Utah State cracks the top 50; Washington doesn’t even crack the top 200.

We think this advantage is enough for Utah State to win and cover. Thus, we believe that this is the safest bet out of these first round matchups.

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