March Madness Over Under Trends Analysis

We analyzed March Madness matches from 2009 through last season 2019. Use these trends to guide your total bets on this year’s tournament. The results identify the best over/under betting prospects by conference, team and seed. You’ll thank us after you cash your winning ticket.

Dataset Details

Summary Data
Games1st SeasonLast SeasonUnique
73120092019223

We compare final scores to the game totals for every games in the dataset.

Over / Under Percentages

O/U Summary
PctOverPctUnderPctPush
48.15%49.93%1.92%

The analysis identifies several profitable subsets of betting trends. Our estimates show these subsets will continue to turn a profit.

Analysis Notes

  • All results compared against closing lines.
  • Closing sourced from offshore books[books].
  • The subsets below do not represent the complete set of profitable betting angles, there’s more money for the motivated miner.

Distribution of March Madness Over/Unders

Before we analyze the individual games we’re going to explore the data.

The distribution of game totals and final scores (winning team score + losing team score) plotted on the same axis.

March Madness Game Totals Final Scores Distribution
March Madness Game Totals Final Scores Distribution

Summary Statistics

These tables show summary statistics for the both the final score (winning team score + losing team score) and the game total. Notice, the average score is very close to the average over/under line.

Scoring

Score Summary
AvgScoreStdDevScrMaxScrMinScrAvgMov
138.518.61979011.5

O/U

Average OU
AvgOUStdDevOUMaxOUMinOU
138.510.4168110.5

OU by Season

We analyzed the distributions of totals and final scores by season. The two shift around each year but there’s no predictive value of looking at season alone. Below is the average final score and total for each season. The last few years saw an increase in scoring but it’s hard to tell if the trend will hold.

Average Season OU
SeasonAvgScrStdScrAvgOUStdOU
2019140.217.9139.511.6
2018141.220144.110.3
201714817.314510.1
2016143.718.51429
2015135.616.7134.89.2
2014136.819.1135.79.4
2013131.615.6133.67.2
2012132.916.2136.410.1
2011135.117.7135.39.1
2010137.421137.210.3
2009141.618.2139.710.4

Over/Under Betting Trends

Conference Angles

Since the 2009 season, over 30 conferences sent teams to the NCAA March Madness tournament. But the the top 10 conferences by appearance account for over 70% of the games.

Conference Numbers
ConfGamesTotPct
ACC1831.00%
BIG TEN1810.87%
BIG EAST1680.75%
BIG TWELVE1560.64%
SEC1290.53%
PAC TWELVE740.44%
A TEN670.39%
WCC460.34%
MWC430.31%
MVC350.28%

A few of these conferences consistently over or underperform sportsbook expectations. This deviation presents us with profitable opportunities.

Conference Matchups

Out of all the conferences we analyzed only a few present consistent betting options. They’re listed in the table below.

Best Conferences
ConfTrendPctGames
AACBet UNDER57.14%35
CAABet UNDER59.09%22
HORIZONBet UNDER65.22%23

Top Trend
Bet Under when teams from the AAC, CAA, or HORIZON are playing.

ACC vs ACC

After a deep dive into conference matchup data we found an infrequent but powerful trend. When two teams from the ACC play each other in tournament games they go over the total at a high rate. At first we thought the trend was all same-conference matchups. But after further research, we found the trend applies only to ACC games. This shows the importance of digging into your data.

ACC Games
SeasonWinnerLoserScoreOU
2019DukeVirginia Tech75-73143
2018DukeSyracuse69-65131.5
2016North CarolinaNotre Dame88-74154
2016SyracuseVirginia68-62122.5
2016North CarolinaSyracuse83-66142
2015LouisvilleNC State75-65128.5

Top Trend
Bet OVER when two ACC teams play each other in the tournament.

The sample size is small but the trend is still worth following. Assuming the over and under have the same likelihood, we can expect a similar result only 1.6% of the time.

Team Seed and Over / Under Lines

Next, let’s break out each team’s tournament seed and look for situations where seeds over or under-performed the game total.

For most seeds, there’s no trends worth betting. The table below contains the seeds with trends worth betting. Out of all the seeds one outperforms the rest by a large margin. 11th seeded teams games go under the total at a high rate over a large sample size.

Best Seeds
SeedTrendPctGames
11Bet UNDER61.47%109
8Bet OVER57.69%78
6Bet UNDER56.00%75

Top Trend
Bet UNDER in games where the 11th seed is playing.

Is this trend a fluke? Let’s look at the data. To our amazement, blindly betting the under in games where the 11th seeded team plays turns a profit in in the majority of seasons.

11 Seeds
SeedGamesUnderPctUnders
20199667.00%
2018141286.00%
201713431.00%
201612975.00%
201511764.00%
201411545.00%
20137343.00%
20127571.00%
201113754.00%
20107571.00%
20095480.00%

Seed Matchups vs the Over/Under Line

Seed matchups, i.e. 1st seed vs 16th seed, is another area of research where we’ve identified several profitable betting trends.

The tables below show a profitable subset of seed matchups over the last decade. We analyze matchups of 20 games or more to reduce noise.

Seed Matchups
MatchupTrendPctGames
11 vs 6Bet UNDER63.64%44
7 vs 2Bet OVER60.87%23
14 vs 3Bet UNDER59.09%44
12 vs 5Bet OVER59.09%44
9 vs 8Bet OVER59.09%44
11 vs 3Bet OVER57.14%21
10 vs 7Bet OVER56.82%44
13 vs 4Bet UNDER56.82%44

We’ve selected a few stand-outs as our top betting trends for seed vs seed matchups.

Top Trend
Bet UNDER when the 11th seed plays the 6th seed

Top Trend
Bet OVER in any of the following matchups: 7th seed vs 2nd seed, 12th seed vs 5th seed, 9th seed vs 8th seed

O/U Trends by Teams

Our last area of trend analysis is individual team performance vs the game total.

Tournament spots aren’t guaranteed for any team. Because of this, you might think there’s not enough data to draw reasonable inferences. In reality, we see the same teams in the tournament year after year.

We analyze teams with a minimum of 20 tournament games since 2009. Our results are in the table below. Each team listed has a solid statistical betting trend.


Top Trend
Bet OVER in Ohio State games

Top Trend
Bet UNDER in Xavier games

Top Trend
Bet UNDER in Michigan games

Top Trend
Bet UNDER in Kansas games

Top Trend
Bet OVER in Purdue games

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Trend Summary

Below is a summary of the top five betting trends we identified in our March Madness over/under betting analysis.