Conference tourney tendencies produce profits

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One of the most popular pieces in our annual VSiN Bowl Game Betting Guide is the one on conference trends. Whether it’s matchups, motivation or perception, certain conferences generally match up well with others in certain types of games and line scenarios. Naturally, the same goes for college basketball’s postseason, the NCAA tournament. A champion from one of the power leagues is usually a national title contender, while a bubble team from that same league is a potential upset victim. A mid-major with a gaudy record is always a popular Cinderella pick but might be overhyped by bettors and oddsmakers.

I’ve determined each conference’s performance records in varied situations in recent tournament games. I’ve also listed the teams from each league that will be playing in this year’s tournament and their opening matchups. This will help you spot the best qualifying trends, line and total ranges, round level of games, results by seed number and, perhaps most importantly, how they fare against some of the other conferences.

Not unexpectedly, the Big Ten leads the way in number of teams in the field. However, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big 12 are well represented too. Of course, the tournament’s top seed is mid-major Gonzaga — and the favorite to take home the title in April.

 

Atlantic Coast

Teams in the field/first matchup

Clemson (No. 7 Midwest) vs. Rutgers (No. 10, Big Ten)

Florida State (No. 4 East) vs. UNC Greensboro (No. 13, Southern)

Georgia Tech (No. 9 Midwest) vs. Loyola (Chicago) (No. 8, Missouri Valley)

Louisville (first alternate)

North Carolina (No. 8 South) vs. Wisconsin (No. 9, Big Ten)

Syracuse (No. 11 Midwest) vs. San Diego State (No. 6, Mountain West)

Virginia (No. 4 West) vs. Ohio (No. 13, Mid-American)

Virginia Tech (No. 10 South) vs. Florida (No. 7, Southeastern)

Trends

— ACC teams have been the most successful in the Final Four, going 10-4 SU and 9-5 ATS (64.3%) since 2001, including 8-1 SU and 6-3 ATS when favored.

— ACC teams are 16-4 SU but 1-19 ATS (5%) combined vs. Atlantic Sun, Colonial Athletic and Ohio Valley teams since ’01.

— Eighteen of the last 25 (72%) NCAA tournament matchups between ACC and SEC teams have gone Under the total.

— ACC teams are just 24-43-1 ATS (35.8%) as favorites of five or fewer points since ’98.

— ACC teams are 32-3 SU but 12-23 ATS (34.3%) in their last 35 as double-digit tourney favorites.

— ACC teams playing as double-digit seeds are 12-4-1 ATS (75%) since 2012.

— No. 2 ACC seeds are on a brutal 8-26-1 ATS (23.5%) slide since ’01.

America East

Team in the field/first matchup

Hartford (No. 16 South) vs. Baylor (No. 1, Big 12)

Trends

— Vermont’s ATS win over Florida State in 2019 ran the America East’s record in the NCAAs to 9-3 ATS (75%) since 2011.

— America East teams are 13-7-1 Under (65%) the total in the NCAAs since ’03.

American Athletic

Teams in the field/first matchup

Houston (No. 2 Midwest) vs. Cleveland State (No. 15, Horizon)

Wichita State (No. 11 West) vs. Drake (No. 11, Missouri Valley)

Trends

— AAC teams are 10-2 Under the total (83.3%) in their last 12 tourney games as underdogs.

— In their last 12 tourney games vs. fellow non-power-conference foes, AAC teams are 9-3 Under the total (75%).

Atlantic 10

Teams in the field/first matchup

Saint Louis (third alternate)

St. Bonaventure (No. 9 East) vs. LSU (No. 8, Southeastern)

Virginia Commonwealth (No. 10 West) vs. Oregon (No. 7, Pac-12)

Trends

— Underdogs are 10-2 ATS (83.3%) in their last 12 tourney games between the Atlantic 10 and the Big East.

— Favorites are on a 15-2 SU and 12-5 ATS (70.6%) surge in Atlantic 10 NCAA games since ’15.

— A-10 teams are 19-5 SU and 14-6-4 ATS (70%) in their last 24 tournament games as favorites.

Atlantic Sun

Team in the field/first matchup

Liberty (No. 13 Midwest) vs. Oklahoma State (No. 4, Big 12)

Trends

— ASUN teams have won six straight NCAA tourney games ATS (100%) and are 10-2 ATS since ’13.

— ASUN teams are on an 11-4 Over-the-total (73.3%) run in the NCAAs.

Big 12

Teams in the field/first matchup

Baylor (No. 1 South) vs. Hartford (No. 16, America East)

Kansas (No. 3 West) vs. Eastern Washington (No. 14, Big Sky)

Oklahoma (No. 8 West) vs. Missouri (No. 9, Southeastern)

Oklahoma State (No. 4 Midwest) vs. Liberty (No. 13, Atlantic Sun)

Texas (No. 3 East) vs. Abilene Christian (No. 14, Southland)

Texas Tech (No. 6 South) vs. Utah State (No. 11, Mountain West)

West Virginia (No. 3 Midwest) vs. Morehead State (No. 14, Ohio Valley)

Trends

— In the last 10 NCAA tournaments, Big 12 teams are just 75-64 SU and 58-78-3 ATS (42.6%).

— Favorites are 11-4 SU and 10-5 ATS (83%) in their last 15 NCAA tournament games between the Big 12 and the Big Ten.

— Big 12 teams have struggled vs. Missouri Valley teams in NCAA tourney play, going just 3-7 SU and 1-9 ATS (10%) since ’01.

— Underdogs are on a 13-2 ATS run in NCAA games between Big 12 and Pac-12 teams.

— Big 12 teams are 12-6 Under (66.7%) the total when matched against SEC foes in NCAA tournament play since 2000.

— Big 12 teams have lost 30 of their last 32 tourney games as underdogs of 4.5 points or more and are 12-20 ATS (37.5%) in those games.

— Big 12 teams have gone 32-17 Over the total (65.3%) in the NCAAs since 2016, including 9-3 Over (75%) in second-round games.

Big East

Teams in the field/first matchup

Connecticut (No. 7 East) vs. Maryland (No. 10, Big Ten)

Creighton (No. 5 West) vs. UC Santa Barbara (No. 12, Big West)

Georgetown (No. 12 East) vs. Colorado (No. 5, Pac-12)

Villanova (No. 5 South) vs. Winthrop (No. 12, Big South)

Trends

— Big East schools own a perfect 6-0 SU and ATS record in championship games since ’01.

— Big East teams have struggled as small favorites, going 35-38 SU and 29-44 ATS (39.7%) when laying five or fewer points in the tourney since ’04.

— Teams from the Big East in the first-round No. 8-vs.-No. 9 matchup are just 3-11 SU and 2-12 ATS (14.3%) since ’05.

— Big East teams are on a 7-1 SU and ATS (87.5%) run against Mountain West teams in the tournament.

— Big East teams are on a 12-5 SU and 13-4 ATS (76.5%) surge in the NCAAs vs. Big 12 teams.

— NCAA tourney games between the Big East and the ACC have gone 11-4 Over the total (73.3%) since ’13.

Big Sky

Team in the field/first matchup

Eastern Washington (No. 14 West) vs. Kansas (No. 3, Big 12)

Trend

— Big Sky teams are just 1-19 SU and 5-15 ATS (25%) in the tournament since 2001, including 2-14 ATS (12.5%) as underdogs of fewer than 20 points.

Big South

Team in the field/first matchup

Winthrop (No. 12 South) vs. Villanova (No. 5, Big East)

Trend

— Big South teams are 8-3-1 ATS (72.7%) as No. 16 seeds in the tournament since ’03 but 3-5 ATS in all other seeds.

Big Ten

Teams in the field/first matchup

Illinois (No. 1 Midwest) vs. Drexel (No. 16, Colonial Athletic)

Iowa (No. 2 West) vs. Grand Canyon (No. 15, Western Athletic)

Maryland (No. 10 East) vs. Connecticut (No. 7, Big East)

Michigan (No. 1 East) vs. Mount St. Mary’s/Texas Southern winner (No. 16)

Michigan State (No. 11 East) vs. UCLA (No. 11, Pac-12)

Ohio State (No. 2 South) vs. Oral Roberts (No. 15, Summit)

Purdue (No. 4 South) vs. North Texas (No. 13, Conference USA)

Rutgers (No. 10 Midwest) vs. Clemson (No. 7, Atlantic Coast)

Wisconsin (No. 9 South) vs. North Carolina (No. 8, Atlantic Coast)

Trends

— Big Ten teams are winless at 0-7 SU and ATS in the championship game since ’01.

— Big Ten teams are 9-6 SU and 10-5 ATS (66.7%) in their last 15 NCAA tourney matchups vs. Pac-12 foes.

— Underdogs are on a 16-7-1 ATS (69.7%) run in the last 24 NCAA tournament games between the SEC and the Big Ten.

— Big Ten teams have been vulnerable in the No. 4 seed of late, going 3-9-1 ATS (25%) in their last 13 tries.

— Big Ten teams have been strong in the double-digit chalk role, going 45-2 SU and 27-16-4 ATS (62.8%) since ’98.

— For as good as Big Ten teams have been as big favorites, they have been brutal as underdogs of 5.5 points or more at 5-45 SU and 18-32 ATS (36%) since ’98.

Big West

Team in the field/first matchup

UC Santa Barbara (No. 12 West) vs. Creighton (No. 5, Big East)

Trends

— Big West teams are just 4-16 SU and 6-13-1 ATS (31.6%) in their last 20 NCAA games.

— Big West teams have trended Over on totals in the NCAAs since ’99 at 18-11 (62.1%).

— Big West teams have struggled as large underdogs at 2-21 SU and 7-15-1 ATS (31.8%) when catching 4.5 points or more since ’98.

Colonial Athletic

Team in the field/first matchup

Drexel (No. 16 Midwest) vs. Illinois (No. 1, Big Ten)

Trends

— Colonial teams have been the country’s best in terms of NCAA tournament spread performance, going 26-9-3 ATS (74.3%) since ’01.

— Colonial teams are on a 23-6-2 ATS (79.3%) run as NCAA tourney dogs to power-conference teams.

— Under the total is 7-2 (77.8%) in the last nine Colonial NCAA tournament games vs. other non-power-conference teams.

Conference USA

Team in the field/first matchup

North Texas (No. 13 South) vs. Purdue (No. 4, Big Ten)

Trends

— Conference USA teams are just 5-14 SU and 6-13 ATS (31.6%) in the NCAAs since ’09.

— Against power-conference schools in the NCAA tournament, C-USA teams are just 21-37 SU and ATS (36.2%) since ’98, including 7-20 ATS (25.9%) as dogs of 4.5 points or more.

— Favorites have won the last six NCAA tourney games SU and ATS between Conference USA and the ACC.

— Favorites are on a 10-1 SU and ATS (90.9%) run in NCAA tournament games between Conference USA and the Big Ten.

— Conference USA teams are on a brutal slide of 3-21 SU and 4-20 ATS as single-digit underdogs in the NCAA tournament.

Horizon League

Team in the field/first matchup

Cleveland State (No. 15 Midwest) vs. Houston (No. 2, American Athletic)

Trends

— Horizon League teams have lost nine straight NCAA tourney games while going 2-7 ATS (22.2%).

— Horizon teams are on a 14-5 Under-the-total (73.7%) NCAA run. 

Metro Atlantic Athletic

Team in the field/first matchup

Iona (No. 15 East) vs. Alabama (No. 2, Southeastern)

Trends

— Including play-in games, MAAC teams have lost 12 straight tournament games while going 3-9 ATS (25%).

— MAAC teams are 2-2 SU and 0-4 ATS (0%) in play-in games.

Mid-American

Team in the field/first matchup

Ohio (No. 13 West) vs. Virginia (No. 4, Atlantic Coast)

Trends

— MAC teams are 12-4 ATS (75%) in their last 16 NCAA games as No. 13 seeds or worse but 9-11 ATS as other seeds during that stretch.

— MAC teams are on a run of 7-1 ATS in their last eight tries as double-digit dogs in the NCAAs.

Mid-Eastern Athletic

Team in the field/first matchup

Norfolk State (No. 16 West) vs. Appalachian State (No. 16, Sun Belt)

Trends

— MEAC teams are on a 3-12 SU and 4-11 ATS (26.7%) slide in the NCAAs.

— Tourney games featuring MEAC teams have trended heavily Under on totals at 16-8 (66.7%) in the last 24.

Missouri Valley

Teams in the field/first matchup

Drake (No. 11 West) vs. Wichita State (No. 11, American Athletic)

Loyola (Chicago) (No. 8 Midwest) vs. Georgia Tech (No. 9, Atlantic Coast)

Trends

— MVC teams are on a 17-10 SU and 18-8-1 ATS (69.2%) run in the tournament since 2013 and are on a 16-5-1 ATS (76.2%) run against power-conference schools.

— MVC schools are 6-4 SU and 7-1-2 ATS (70%) in their last 10 NCAA contests vs. the SEC.

— MVC teams have covered 11 of their last 12 (91.7%) and are 17-5-1 ATS (77.3%) since ’07 as an underdog or pick-’em team.

Mountain West

Teams in the field/first matchup

Colorado State (second alternate)

San Diego State (No. 6 Midwest) vs. Syracuse (No. 11, Atlantic Coast)

Utah State (No. 11 South) vs. Texas Tech (No. 6, Big 12)

Trends

— Mountain West teams’ struggles in the NCAAs haven’t been documented that well, but they are just 21-47 SU and 22-43-3 ATS (33.8%) since 2001.

— As tournament underdogs, MWC teams are just 8-33 SU and 11-27-3 ATS (28.9%) since ’01.

— MWC teams have also come up short as favorites in the NCAAs, 5-10 SU and 4-11 ATS (26.7%) since ’11.

Northeast

Team in the field/first matchup

Mount St. Mary’s (No. 16 East) vs. Texas Southern (No. 16, Southwestern Athletic)

Trend

— Northeast Conference teams are 4-4 SU and ATS (50%) in play-in games but have lost 15 straight first-round games while going 5-9-1 ATS (35.7%).

Ohio Valley

Team in the field/first matchup

Morehead State (No. 14 Midwest) vs. West Virginia (No. 3, Big 12)

Trend

— OVC teams have been quite competitive in the tournament, going 12-7 ATS (63.2%) in their last 19. They are only 4-22 outright since ’98, though. 

Pac-12

Teams in the field/first matchup

Colorado (No. 5 East) vs. Georgetown (No. 12, Big East)

Oregon (No. 7 West) vs. Virginia Commonwealth (No. 10, Atlantic 10)

Oregon State (No. 12 Midwest) vs. Tennessee (No. 5, Southeastern)

UCLA (No. 11 East) vs. Michigan State (No. 11, Big Ten)

USC (No. 6 West) vs. Drake/Wichita State winner (No. 11)

Trends

— Pac-12 teams are on a 9-4 ATS (69.2%) run vs. Big East teams in NCAA tourney play.

— Pac-12 teams are 10-1 SU and 8-2-1 ATS (80%) vs. Mountain West teams in the tournament since ’02, including 4-0 SU and ATS when favored.

— Pac-12 teams are on a run of 16-5 ATS (76.2%) in second-round games.

— Pac-12 teams are just 10-21-1 ATS (32.2%) in the Sweet 16 since ’01.

— Underdogs are 12-5-1 ATS (70.6%) in the last 18 Pac-12 NCAA games.

— Pac-12 teams have performed well as underdogs lately in the tourney at 26-14 ATS (65%) since ’11.

— Double-digit-seeded Pac-12 teams have fared well as they are 18-17 SU and 23-12 ATS (65.7%) since ’09.

Patriot League

Team in the field/first matchup

Colgate (No. 14 South) vs. Arkansas (No. 3, Southeastern)

Trend

— Patriot League teams are 9-6 ATS (60%) in the first round since ’04 but 1-4 ATS (20%) in all other games.

Southeastern

Teams in the field/first matchup

Alabama (No. 2 East) vs. Iona (No. 15, Metro Atlantic Athletic)

Arkansas (No. 3 South) vs. Colgate (No. 14, Patriot)

Florida (No. 7 South) vs. Virginia Tech (No. 10, Atlantic Coast)

LSU (No. 8 East) vs. St. Bonaventure (No. 9, Atlantic 10)

Missouri (No. 9 West) vs. Oklahoma (No. 8, Big 12)

Ole Miss (fourth alternate)

Tennessee (No. 5 Midwest) vs. Oregon State (No. 12, Pac-12)

Trends

— SEC teams have been a solid wager in the Sweet 16, going 20-9-2 ATS (69%) since ’03. In 2019, the SEC sent four teams to the Sweet 16, and that group was 2-2 SU and ATS.

— SEC teams have gotten the better of Pac-12 teams in the tournament at 10-5 SU and 12-3 ATS in the last 15.

— When seeded in the bottom half of the field at No. 9 or lower, SEC teams have struggled to an 8-20 SU and 10-16-2 ATS (38.5%) record since ’07.

— The No. 4 seed and the SEC haven’t meshed well of late, as they are 12-18 ATS (40%) in that spot since 2000 and have gone Under the total at a 22-7-1 (75.9%) rate.

Southern

Team in the field/first matchup

UNC Greensboro (No. 13 East) vs. Florida State (No. 4, Atlantic Coast)

Trends

— Southern Conference teams have been very competitive when playing as underdogs of fewer than 15 points, going 13-5 ATS (72.2%) in their last 18.

— SoCon teams have trended Under the total in recent NCAAs at 9-2 (81.8%) in the last 11.

Southland

Team in the field/first matchup

Abilene Christian (No. 14 East) vs. Texas (No. 3, Big 12)

Trend

— As underdogs of seven or fewer points, Southland Conference teams are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six NCAA games. But when larger underdogs than that, they are 0-15 SU and 4-10-1 ATS (28.6%).

Summit League

Team in the field/first matchup

Oral Roberts (No. 15 South) vs. Ohio State (No. 2, Big Ten)

Trend

— Summit League teams have been very competitive in the first round in recent years, going 1-5 SU but 5-0-1 ATS (100%) in their last six.

Sun Belt

Team in the field/first matchup

Appalachian State (No. 16 West) vs. Norfolk State (No. 16, Mid-Eastern Athletic)

Trends

— Sun Belt teams have lost their last four tournament games SU and ATS by an average of 20.8 points.

— Seeded 14th through 16th, SBC teams are on a 5-10-1 ATS (33.3%) slide since ’99, but at No. 13 or better, they’ve gone 9-4 ATS (69.2%) in that span.

— As underdogs of 7.5 or fewer points, Sun Belt teams are on a 2-9 SU and 2-8-1 ATS (20%) slide in the NCAAs.

Southwestern Athletic

Team in the field/first matchup

Texas Southern (No. 16 East) vs. Mount St. Mary’s (No. 16, Northeast)

Trend

— SWAC teams are 2-9 SU and 4-7 ATS (36.4%) in play-in games.

Western Athletic

Team in the field/first matchup

Grand Canyon (No. 15 West) vs. Iowa (No. 2, Big Ten)

Trends

— WAC teams have won just twice in the NCAAs since ’04, going 2-20 SU and 7-15 ATS (31.8%). They are also on a 14-game losing streak in the tournament vs. power-conference schools, going 4-10 ATS (28.6%).

— Favorites in NCAA tourney games involving the WAC are on a 17-game outright winning streak while going 12-5 ATS (70.6%).

West Coast

Teams in the field/first matchup

BYU (No. 6 East) vs. Michigan State-UCLA winner (No. 11)

Gonzaga (No. 1 West) vs. Norfolk State/Appalachian State winner (No. 16)

Trends

— West Coast teams are 7-3 SU and ATS (70%) in their last 10 NCAA tourney matchups vs. Big East foes.

— WCC teams are just 1-10 SU and 2-9 ATS (18.2%) in their last 11 NCAA games against top-3 seeds.

— In NCAA tournament games with totals of 140 or more, West Coast Conference teams are on a 16-21 SU and 11-25-1 ATS (30.6%) slide.

— West Coast teams haven’t been good as tournament underdogs at 7-17 SU and 8-16 ATS (33.3%) since ’07.

— WCC teams have struggled against other non-power-conference teams in NCAA tourney play, going 14-7 SU but 6-15 ATS (28.6%) since ’04.

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