2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Betting Analysis: #2 vs. #15

Special thanks to @matteise for compiling the data used in this analysis.

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)

#2 Michigan vs. #15 Montana

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/21Mich -15130.5Mich -960.5

#2 Michigan State vs. #15 Bradley

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/21MSU -18.5133.5MSU -1061.5

#2 Kentucky vs. #15 Abilene Christian

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/21Kentucky -22.5132Kentucky -1561

#2 Tennessee vs. #15 Colgate

DateSpreadO/U1st Half Spread1st Half O/U
3/22Tenn -17.5148Tenn -1070

Five Interesting Historical Facts On #2 v. #15 Spreads

  1. In the last five years, the #2 team is 10-9-1 ATS, including 3-1 records in 2014 and 2018.
  2. A #2 team with an adjusted tempo rank of 200 or slower & an adjusted defensive efficiency ranking of 50 or better (KenPom) is 12-6-1 ATS. Both Michigan (#320/#2) and Kentucky (#265/#11) meet this criteria.
  3. When a #15 team scores 65 or fewer points, the #2 team is 28-15-1 ATS, 24-8 ATS when 60 or fewer points.
  4. The #2 team that has an adjusted defensive efficiency ranking of 10 or better is 3-10 ATS. Michigan (#2) and Michigan State (#8) meet this criteria. However, Cincinnati bucked this trend in 2018. With the #1 ADJ DEF EFF ranking, they beat Georgia State 68-53 and also beat the -14 point spread.
  5. In 13 games against a non-#1 Seed, Big Sky teams (Montana) allow 75.5 points per game, while scoring 58.8 points per game. Going back to 2005 tournament, Big Sky teams have scored 60 or more points only three times and are 4-11-1 ATS.

Five Interesting Historical Facts On #2 v. #15 O/U

  1. In the last five years, the O/U record is 7-13, including 0-4 records in 2014 and 2018.
  2. When the O/U is set at 145 points or higher, the O/U is 2-14. In these games, the average points scored is 146.5. Tennessee/Colgate opened at an O/U of 150 but has been trending down.
  3. The average number of points scored by a #2 seed in the first round over the past three years is 81.6. The average number of points scored by a #15 seed in the first round over the past three years is 65.1.
  4. When the #2 seed wins and covers the spread, the O/U is 9-21.
  5. When the #2 seed wins by 15 or more points, the O/U is 14-27.

Our Safest Play – Tennessee vs. Colgate UNDER 148

Here’s a bonus stat that’ll blow your mind. A #2 team with a 2PT FG% ranking of 50 or better AND a 3PT FG% ranking of 150 or better, AND when the #15 Seed has a defensive 2PT FG% ranking of 125 or worse, the #2 team is 13-0 straight up, 10-3 ATS, and the O/U is 3-10.

Tennessee is ranked #18 in 2PT FG% and #89 in 3PT FG%. Colgate is ranked #187 in defensive 2PT FG%.

Now, you may be tempted to bet on Tennessee to cover the spread, and we wouldn’t blame you if you did. However, Colgate has played two teams in the top #100 this season; Syracuse (#31) and Penn State (#54). They lost to Syracuse 77-56 and lost to Penn State 76-65.

Thus, we believe the UNDER is the safest bet out of these matchups.

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Derrick Lewis Beating Daniel Cormier At UFC 230 Would Be The Upset of the Year

Can Derrick Lewis pull off the improbable and beat the #1 pound-for-pound UFC fighter in the world at UFC 230?Β Initial betting lines have The Black Beast as a massive underdog.

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear. We do not recommend betting on Derrick Lewis to beat Daniel Cormier at UFC 230 unless you’re a super fan like us but expect to lose.

Betting sites agree. For example, Bovada set their initial odds for Daniel Cormier as a -800 favorite and The Black Beast as a +500 underdog. This means that if you bet $100 on Cormier and he wins, you only win $12.50 plus your $100 back.

However, if Lewis pulls off the win, you’d win $500 on a $100 bet. Personally, we think the odds will shift to an even larger payout for a potential Lewis win.

The Biggest UFC Upset of 2018, So Far

In any case, a Lewis upset would be the upset of the year for UFC purposes and betting purposes. So far, Paul Craig defeating Magomed Ankalaev back in March was the biggest upset of 2018 from a betting perspective.

Please do yourself a favor and watch how Paul Craig won in the last second of the last round:


While betting sites opened as an aggregate +148, according to OddsShark, closing odds had Paul Craig between a +400 to +600 underdog.

The Fight

As of Monday, October 8th, Daniel Cormier is the #1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Derrick Lewis isn’t even in the top 15.

In reality, this fight serves as nothing more than a Cormier tune-up for a megafight vs. Jon Jones or Brock Lesnar in 2019. We can’t imagine The Black Beast getting in enough recovery and conditioning to last a whole fight with Cormier in just a month.

Seriously, watch his post-match conference with Joe Rogan from UFC 229 again and catch his quote starting at 1:08.

Fuck what you talking about right now, I ain’t trying to fight for no title right now, not with no gas tank like that.

With all of this, it’s no wonder Lewis is viewed as a massive underdog.

Whatever, we don’t care. Derrick Lewis is #1 in our hearts. We’ll always bet on him. We hope he uses his 6.5″ reach advantage to land a one hitta quitta.

Until UFC 230, check out this hilarious promo video The Black Beast posted on his Instagram.

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We Are All Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis Superfans After UFC 229

Derrick Lewis was betting and entertainment gold during UFC 229. All fans of the UFC should support The Black Beast going undefeated the rest of his career.

Bettors will make bets for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes, bettors will make bets based on peer pressure from a group. Every once in awhile, these winning bets create memories that last far after the event.Β Derrick Lewis made a lot of new fans after last night’s 3rd round, come-from-behind KO over fellow heavyweight Alexander Volkov.

Most sports fans likely never heard of heavyweight Derrick Lewis before UFC 229. Most likely, people watched UFC 229 to see Conor McGregor back in action.

However, our watch party had some hardcore UFC fans, and the first thing they did during the prelims was introduce us to The Black Beast and why they’re betting on him.

First things first, below is the matchup of Derrick Lewis and his opponent from UFC 229, courtesy of The Stats Zone:

When you look at this, it made sense as to why betting sites favored Volkov and gave +140 odds for The Black Beast to win.

So why did our group collectively bet on Lewis? Simple, because of post-match interviews like this.

Seriously, how can you not love the guy after saying that his body ain’t hurt, he’s just gotta take a shit?

Here’s another post-match interview.

Not as funny, but a humble assessment on how despite being an underdog and winning, he felt he didn’t give the fans the knockout they wanted.

Also, his Instagram game is on point.

Finally, if you like knockouts, Lewis has you covered. There’s something different and exciting about watching a heavyweight knock someone out versus the lighter weight classes.

The Fight

Alright, the peer pressure got to us. We were all in on Lewis. However, for the majority of the fight, we thought this was going to be a losing bet.

That is, until the waning seconds of the fight, when Lewis delivered one of the greatest come-from-behind knockouts in UFC history.


Unreal. Our group celebrated as one would expect when winning a bet like that. Screaming, hugging, jumping, and knocking beer over. However, what followed turned this night into a lasting memory.

Seriously, this post-match interview is the greatest we’ve ever seen. Please do yourself a favor and watch it over and over again.

Have you ever watched an athlete interview that combined brutal honesty with laugh-out-loud hilarity during the ENTIRE interview? We bet you haven’t.

But wait, there’s more! Check out this portion of his interview from after UFC 229 concluded.

What more is there to say? The night started out with a simple bet based on peer pressure and ended with lasting memories.

Derrick Lewis is a national treasure and is now our favorite UFC fighter. We hope he goes undefeated the rest of his career, and we plan on making a few more bets on his inevitable upcoming victories.