Whew! That was a wild ride to get through the First Four, the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Now we turn our attention to the Sweet 16 first and then the Elite 8 on the weekend.
After a frenzied pace of non-stop hoops over 12 hours and four days, everything slows down to a more manageable four games in about a five-hour window for the Sweet 16 and one encounter at a time for the Elite 8 on the weekend.
Nonetheless, the quality improves with more even matchups, unless a double-digit underdog is involved and they are an incredibly interesting choice for basketball picks because of their excitement and the fact they can be overlooked.
Focus Changes with Advancement
Often, the Top 3 seeds in each region fully expect to win their first game and have a somewhat more challenging contest in the second round. In terms of complete focus, these teams don’t enter their matchups 100 percent locked in and only become so when pushed to do so.
Starting with this Sweet 16, everyone realizes one win and you are in the Elite 8 and one step from your ultimate goal of playing in a Final Four.
That’s where almost everyone comes with their game face on and is willing to go harder for loose balls and rebounds and slap the floor to give more effort on defense.
With both teams determined, you have to look deeper at the talent of each team and understand what they do and don’t do well and how that compares with who they are facing. That is where statistical analysis and figuring out how they match up truly matters.
Forget The Records, Look into Neutral Court Records
One requirement for trying to beat the betting odds as listed at OddsTrader.com, you have to know how each team played on neutral courts. You will have at least three choices, early season tourneys, the conference tournament, and the games played in the NCAA Tournament.
Make sure to know their SU and ATS records along with point differentials, positive or negative, and look for this. Almost every team shoots better at home. What you want to check for is wider variances compared to playing at home.
An example would be a team that averages 10 three-pointers at home and seven away from home. Check for correlation in a reduction of points to see if they are scoring nine to 11 fewer points. If they are facing an opponent who guards the three-shot well and they drain eight 3’s home or away, you have a possible edge.
Often, The Clock Strikes Midnight for Double Digit Underdogs
This year, we have four teams that made it this far that were seeded 10th or lower. This is typically where the excitement of last week wears off, facing an opponent who is a little bigger, quicker, and more skilled.
Two of these are meeting in the Sweet 16 (#10 Miami-FL vs #11 Iowa State), so one is guaranteed to advance. You should know the lower seed in this instance is 11-5 SU and ATS in these get-togethers.
When a squad has a ranking of 13 or lower, as St. Peter’s does, they are 0-8 SU in the round of 16, yet with an impressive 6-2 ATS mark.
Trends Can Be Your Friend if Used Wisely
Trends in sports betting and life come and go, however, they can be a valuable asset when needed.
In the popular 1 vs. 4 matchups in the Sweet 16, the top seed in the last seven tourneys is 11-1 and 9-2-1 ATS.
We might have this occur this year; higher-seeded underdogs or listed as a Pick, are 5-1 SU and ATS recently. Also, watch for favorites of eight or more points, the UNDER is 24-7-3.
When you reach the Elite 8, – pounding the pooch – is the way to wager. Since 2003, underdogs are 44-26-2 ATS and they have won 34 of 72 times (47.2%).
Squads that make the Final Eight from a non-power conference are 12-9 SU and 13-7-1 ATS. Make them a team catching three or more points and they jump to a stupendous 9-1-1 ATS.
For totals bettors, the benchmark for best bests is 143, since when the total is that number or lower, the over is 59-26-3 (69.4%).