March Madness Bracket Picks, Betting Trends for Sunday

OddsShark.comFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2014

Louisville guard Kevin Ware holds the net after Louisville defeated Michigan 82-76 after the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game Tuesday, April 9, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

While the NCAA tournament is known for delivering trend-busting upsets, there are a few recent trends in play Sunday that point to higher seeds all advancing to the Sweet 16.

And it’s not just about advancing in the bracket, it’s about covering spreads and paying off for fans at the betting window.

No. 1 seeds are expected to beat No. 8 seeds at this stage of the tournament. But what about covering the number?

The last nine times a No. 1 seed has faced a No. 8, the top seed is 7-2 against the spread, according to Odds Shark. That is great news if you have Wichita State, Virginia and Arizona advancing in your bracket.

It’s not great news if you bet on their Sunday opponents (Kentucky, Memphis and Gonzaga).

The other safe betting trend involves No. 3 seeds against No. 6 seeds, and this pairing happens twice today.

In 10 recent games between these seeds, the higher seed rides an 8-2 against-the-spread streak. Again, that's good news if you bet on Iowa State to both win and cover against North Carolina and if you have Creighton advancing and covering three points against Baylor.

(Check Odds Shark's March Madness database to find your own angles and research your own theories).


Stanford vs. Kansas -6, Preview, Pick

UNDER is 9-3 past 12 Stanford games

Kansas 1-4 ATS past five tournament games

Stanford 0-6 ATS in second round since 1999

Kansas is 4-0 SU vs. No. 10 seeds since 1996


Wichita State vs. Kentucky +2.5, Preview, Pick

Kentucky 1-4 SU vs. No. 1 seeds since 1999

Wichita State covered nine straight spreads (all 12 or more points)

Kentucky is 3-10 SU past 13 games as underdogs

No. 1 seeds 7-2 ATS past vs. No. 8 seeds since 2009


North Carolina vs. Iowa State -1.5, Preview, Pick

UNC 0-6 ATS past six games

Iowa State won and covered five straight games

Iowa State 11-1 SU past 12 games as favorites

No. 3 seeds are 8-2 ATS past 10 games vs. No. 6 seeds


Mercer vs. Tennessee -8.5, Preview, Pick

Mercer 22-4 SU past 26 games overall

Tennessee 6-1 ATS past seven games overall

Tennessee 12-2 SU, 11-3 ATS past 14 as favorites

Only second time since 1996 that a No. 11 seed faced a No. 14 seed (Washington beat Richmond in 1998)


Stephen F. Austin vs. UCLA -8.5, Preview, Pick

SFA has won 29 straight games

UCLA 5-1 ATS past six games overall

UCLA is 10-3 ATS past 13 times as chalk of eight points or more

UCLA 0-5 ATS past five second-round games

UCLA is 1-3 ATS vs. No. 12 seeds since 1996

No. 12 seeds are 6-1 ATS past seven vs. No. 4 seeds


Baylor vs. Creighton -3, Preview, Pick

Baylor 9-3-1 ATS past 13 games

Creighton 2-7 ATS past nine tournament games

Creighton 0-4 SU in second-round games, all losses by at least 12 points

No. 3 seeds are 8-2 ATS past 10 games vs No. 6 seeds


Memphis vs. Virginia -5.5, Preview, Pick

Virginia 17-1 SU past 18 games overall

Virginia 1-4-1 ATS in tournament since 1996

Memphis played four straight tournament UNDERs

No. 1 seeds 7-2 ATS past vs No. 8 seeds since 2009


Gonzaga vs. Arizona -6, Preview, Pick

Gonzaga 1-3 SU vs. Arizona since 2000

Gonzaga 6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS past six games

No. 1 seeds 7-2 ATS past vs No. 8 seeds since 2009

Gonzaga 6-2 ATS past eight games as underdogs

Gonzaga lost four straight second-round games

Arizona 6-1 ATS past seven tournament games