March Madness Betting: LSU, Syracuse Drawing The Most Interest In Round 1

Written By Staff on March 21, 2019 - Last Updated on October 17, 2019

The 64 teams are set, the madness kicks off on Thursday, and for the first time many Americans will be making legal wagers in their home states. With Round 1 games set for Thursday and Friday, plenty of fans will not only fill out those brackets this year but also have some action on the weekend’s matchups.

The American Gaming Association recently released a study estimating that Americans will gamble $8.5 billion this year on March Madness with 18 million wagering $3.9 billion at a sportsbook, online, with a bookie, or with a friend. Of that total, 4.1 million bettors are expected to wager legally at a book or online.

So which teams are drawing the most interest among those betting legally? Here’s a look at some of the legal online books and where the money is headed.

Tigers, Orange popular at DraftKings

Surprisingly, the most money (and total number of tickets) at DraftKings Sportsbook isn’t going to one of the No. 1 seeds but instead to LSU. The Tigers are ranked No. 12 in the AP poll, but bettors seem to be giving them the upperhand in a matchup with Yale in Round 1.

Here’s a look at the top teams in Round 1 players are wagering on:

RankBets By MoneyBets By Tickets
3VirginiaMichigan State
4Murray StateFlorida State

When it comes to futures betting for this year’s champion, plenty of money is going to traditional powers Duke and North Carolina, both No. 1 seeds and ranked first and third in the AP poll. Here a look at those top teams wagered for the title:

RankBets By MoneyBets By Tickets
2North CarolinaNorth Carolina
3VirginiaMichigan State
5Michigan StateGonzaga

Those looking for some prop bet action may be enticed by several interesting Zion Williamson prop bets. Hopefully his Nikes hold up for those betting on Williamson, and here’s a look at couple of those:

  • Whether he connects on two or more 3-pointers in any game
  • Whether or not he will score 20-plus points in every game

Duke futures still king

Duke is also the favorite to win it all at the FanDuel Sportsbook with 23 percent of all futures wagers going to the Blue Devils. The largest futures wager so far has been $25,000 on Virginia at +750.

Here’s a look at the top three championship futures bets overall:

  • Duke – 23 percent
  • Virginia – 17 percent
  • Gonzaga – 13 percent

Not surprisingly, Duke is the favorite to win the tournament. Tennessee was ranked No. 1 for much of the season and may offer some nice value at +1600 as well as No. 7-ranked Kentucky at +1700 and No. 8-ranked Michigan at +1700. Here’s a look at futures betting for some of the favorites:

  • Duke (+220)
  • Gonzaga (+600)
  • Virginia (+850)
  • North Carolina (+950)
  • Michigan State (+1400)
  • Tennessee (+1600)
  • Kentucky (+1700)
  • Michigan (+2200)
  • Texas Tech (+3300)

If you’re into trends

For those ready to make those basketball wagers on SugarHouse, the site provided some stats on the most widely bet teams bet throughout the year, and their performances against the spread. Here’s a look at those:

  • (1) Duke: 17-15
  • (2)Michigan: 17-14
  • (2) Tennessee: 15-14-1
  • (6) Villanova: 20-12
  • (1) North Carolina: 20-9-3

Those numbers might be helpful for betting this weekend’s action. It might also be helpful to know the teams that performed poorly against the spread throughout the season. Here’s a look at some of those heading into Round 1:

  • (15) Montana: 12-18
  • (11) Ohio State: 13-19
  • (10) Iowa: 13-19
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