While most sports bettors have shifted their attention towards the Sweet 16, March Madness odds thus far have provided a lopsided result worth reviewing. Let’s break down how totals have faired in the 2023 NCAA Tournament to date.
Why NCAA Tournament Totals Are Going Under
Generally speaking, the average gambler is drawn to wagering on the over. The betting market operates no differently in regards to March Madness. But since the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament tipped off, the under has gone 32-16 (66.67%). An $100 bettor would’ve won $1,309.12 by betting solely on the under in all 48 games.
Both BetMGM Sportsbook and the Westgate SuperBook reported to have positive results on totals over the first six days of the tournament — among other markets. Jeffrey Benson, the director of operations at Circa Sports, also acknowledged that the handle on totals was likely elevated because of this recent development.
“This has been the best start ever to the NCAA tournament in terms of action and results for the book,” BetMGM Sportsbook trader Seamus Magee said. “Duke, Kansas, and Purdue losing were all good outcomes for BetMGM in the futures market. The public did also win big with Duke smashing Oral Roberts and Kentucky beating Providence in the Round of 64.”
The logic behind this disproportional aggregate correlates with shooting splits. Through the Round of 32, tournament teams have combined to shoot 31.2% from behind the arc. That’s equivalent to the worst perimeter shooting clip — to this point in the Big Dance — since 2011 (via Sports Reference).
The 3-point attempt rate has remained stable over the last three NCAA tournaments. But keep in mind, the Wilson NCAA Evo NXT is the basketball that’s been used in every game. A variety of teams only used this ball in a select number of matchups during the regular season.
For one, Matt Painter’s Boilermakers shot with this ball in four of their contests — prior to the Big Ten tournament. Purdue would up manufacturing a 5-of-26 perimeter shooting performance (19.2%) against FDU on Friday. It wound up becoming the second No. 1 seed to ever lose to a 16-seed in March Madness.
Nevertheless, the market corrected itself, as overs went 6-2 (75.0%) to the closing number on Sunday. Hence, the overall aftermath shouldn’t blindly dictate your bets on March Madness totals moving forward.
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