The Cincinnati Bearcats have lost four of their last five games against the point spread, but they'll get a chance to pay off as the betting favorites in their opening East Region game of the NCAA tournament against the Harvard Crimson this week.
However, Harvard is being tabbed as everyone's darling No. 12 seed pick, after winning the Ivy League for a fourth straight season. And the 5 vs. 12 matchup regularly produces upsets that disturb brackets.
Spread and total points scored betting line
The Bearcats opened as 3.5 point favorites. The total was 122.5. (Compare lines and consensus on the Odds Shark matchup report)
Odds Shark computer pick
Why pick Harvard to cover the spread
No. 12 Harvard shows up for the Big Dance once again as Ivy League champs and arrives having won 26 of its last 30 games straight-up.
The Crimson are well-coached by Tommy Amaker and were the first team to qualify for the bracket after winning the Ivy League title. They finished the season on a profitable 6-1 ATS run.
Why pick Cincinnati to cover the spread
Cincinnati may appear to be a lame-duck No. 5 seed, but the American Athletic Conference at-large arrival has covered five of its last seven nonconference battles. Prior to bowing out in the conference tourney against Connecticut, the Bearcats had won three straight, including an impressive 97-84 thrashing of Memphis on March 6.
Their offense can take over a game, and they have trended over in early-round tournament games over the years (6-1-1).
Smart betting pick
There are far too many people picking Harvard in this game. And everyone knows when everyone is betting on one team to get it done, the contrarian theory is usually the way to go.
The smart betting pick in this one is to go against the grain and play the Bearcats, who won 27 of 33 this year and boast a defense that is just as stingy as Harvard’s.
Harvard Crimson: No. 13
Cincinnati Bearcats: No. 39 (per Odds Shark power ranks)
March Madness betting trends
- Cincinnati 1-4 ATS past five games
- OVER is 6-1-1 past eight first-round games for Bearcats
- Harvard 26-4 SU past 30 games
- Harvard 6-1 ATS final seven games of 2014 Ivy League season
- UNDER is 9-1 past 10 games when Harvard is underdog