It’s not called March Madness for nothing – there are more upsets in this tournament than in any other professional college sports competition!
Luckily, there’s enough history to point us in the right direction and more than enough stats that you can use to form the perfect March Madness bracket strategy.
Continue reading to uncover the best betting tips that’ll give you an edge on your March Madness pools and bracket contests.
If you decide to take the plunge with any of our tips, make sure to place your bets at MyStake for the highest-on-average betting odds.
While college basketball has seen a growth in talent and a sixteen-seed has defeated a one-seed, it’s extremely rare that we will see another dramatic upset like that in some time. Add in the fact that one-seeds have won five straight NCAA tournaments, and it would be foolish to eliminate a potential winner out of the gate.
Since 1985, no double-digit seed has reached the championship game. The furthest a double-digit seed has advanced is to the final four. It’s happened only six times – which is roughly 0.59% of the time.
To go further, a double-digit seed has reached the elite eight twenty-one times. That’s a mere 2%, which, quite frankly, isn’t worth it.
>> Click here to check out the latest March Madness betting odds
Filled with several talented teams, when it comes to the NCAA tournament, the Mountain West Conference has been in a dry spell of late.
In the last three tournaments, eight teams out of the Mountain West Conference have made it to the big dance. All eight teams, however, did not make it out of round one.
Not to make matters worse, but in the last eight tournaments, teams out of the Mountain West Conference combine for a 3-14 round one/first four record.
The last Mountain West Conference team to win more than one game was the 2018 Nevada Wolf Pack. Before that, the San Diego State Aztecs in 2014. Both teams, however, lost in the sweet sixteen.
So at the very least, caution picking Utah State, San Diego State, Boise State, and Nevada (If they make it out of their first four games) on a deep run in your bracket.
Related Reading: March Madness Bets
Although considered a minor upset, nine-seeds have won at least one first-round game in the last six tournaments. They are 15-9 in that span.
A ten-seed has won at least one first-round game in the last fourteen tournaments. We caution going overboard on picking ten seeds, however, as they are only 23-33 in that span. In addition, in the past eleven tournaments, only once has at least three ten-seeds made it out of the opening round.
In the last seventeen tournaments, an eleven-seed has won at least one first-round game. While eleven-seeds are 33-35 in that span, they are an improved 14-10 in the past six tournaments.
In thirty-two of the last thirty-seven tournaments, a twelve-seed has won at least one first-round game. Over the past ten tournaments, twelve seeds have gone 17-23 against five seeds.
In three of the past four tournaments, a thirteen-seed has won at least one first-round game. In that span, thirteen seeds are 5-11 against four seeds.
From 2013 to 2016, a fourteen-seed had won at least one game. Since then, however, only once in 2021 has a fourteen-seed made it out of the first round.
In the past two tournaments, a fifteen-seed has defeated a two-seed. In addition, both fifteen-seeds went on to win in the second round as well.
Only once in 128 games has a sixteen-seed defeated a one-seed.
While picking upsets is necessary, don’t be afraid to be chalky when it comes to picking the final four teams.
In the past fifteen NCAA tournaments, the final four breakdown by seeding is as follows:
As you can see, in the past fifteen tournaments, a one-seed has made it to the final four 40% of the time. A two-seed has done so 21.7% of the time. Meaning a top-eight overall team has made up 61.7% of the final four.
For bragging rights, it might be fun to find Cinderella teams that can go on a deep run.
However, as the numbers indicate, the top seeds have largely dominated. Throw in the fact that the national champion has been a one-seed for the past five seasons, and it’s wiser to go chalk.
>> Check out the odds for the top 8 teams to win March Madness
Most March Madness brackets get burned on the first weekend.
Whether it’s due to picking too many upsets or perhaps the team you picked to win the big dance makes an early exit, we’ve compiled metrics from KenPom of past winners and found teams in this tournament who fit the mold.
|Year||Seed||Team||Adjusted Efficiency O-Rank||Adjusted Efficiency D-Rank||Points Per Game||Points Allowed Per Game|
Using the data of the last fifteen national champions in comparison with the field of 68, there are 19 teams that fit the mold.
One-seed: Purdue, Kansas, Alabama, Houston
Two-seed: UCLA, Texas, Arizona
Three-seed: Kansas State
Four-seed: Tennessee, Connecticut, Indiana
Six-seed: TCU, Creighton
Seven-seed: Texas A&M
Eight-seed: Arkansas, Memphis,
Nine-seed: Florida Atlantic, Auburn
If we eliminate the Connecticut Huskies championship season as a seven-seed from the data, the 19 teams that fit the mold narrows down to just six teams.
One-seed: Purdue, Alabama, Houston
Two-seed: Texas, Arizona
Last and mainly just food for thought. The Kansas Jayhawks are the only national champion (2022, 2008) to win west of the Mississippi river since Arizona in 1997.
>> Place a bet on any of the above-mentioned teams to advance in the tournaments
Destined for the final weekend, the top seed Alabama Crimson Tide have an excellent chance to win the national championship.
Going 29-5 this season and winning the Southeastern Conference tournament, Alabama has reigned over college basketball.
Ranked third according to KenPom, as well as 19th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 3rd in adjusted defensive efficiency, Alabama is one of the best teams on both sides of the ball. In fact, efficiency-wise, Alabama is one of four teams who rank in the top 20 on offense and defense.
>> Bet on Alabama Crimson to win March Madness
|Points Allowed||Opponent 2-pt %||Opponent 3-pt %||Blocks||Opponent Offensive Rebound %|
The few issues Alabama suffers on defense are related to lack of turnovers forced (11.9 – 228th in the nation) and opponents free throw attempts per game (21.1 – 315th in the nation).
|Points Scored||2-pt %||3-pt made per game||Offensive rebounds per game||Free throws attempted per game|
A juggernaut on offense, Alabama can get in their own way when they turnover the ball (14.1 – 315th in the nation). In fact, in four of their five losses on the season, Alabama turned the ball over 18 or more times.
If Alabama can secure the ball better, they will be a nightmare to match up against. Led by AP SEC player of the year and top-five lottery NBA pick Brandon Miller, watch out for the Crimson Tide – who we believe has an excellent path to capturing their first national championship.
Picking a great college basketball betting site is just as important as taking advantage of the best March Madness brackets strategy. After all, you want good returns on your winning bets – especially if you’re going for parlays.
And for that, we’ve compared the March Madness odds between multiple sportsbooks to find out which one offers the best value. The best sites to place your March Madness bets are as follows:
MyStake was our top choice not only because they offer great odds and occasional boosted odds that are highlighted in yellow, but you can also get a great bonus when getting started that you can use to place some extra bets on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Of course, all of the others are great picks as well, and they don’t fall too much behind when it comes to value for money. In fact, as the March Madness brackets progress, some of them may even come out on top.
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In 1939, the first NCAA division one basketball tournament was established. Consisting of only eight teams at the time, the finale saw Oregon defeat Ohio State. Growing over the years, in 1985, the field expanded to 64 teams. By 2011, the field had grown to its current size of 68 teams.
Since the tournament’s inception eighty-three years ago, the UCLA Bruins have won eight championships – the most in division one tournament history.
Since the expansion to 64 teams in 1985, the NCAA tournament, as we know it, is seeded from 1 through 16. These are the records of each seed since 1985.
The lone one-seed to ever lose in round one of the NCAA tournament was in 2018 when the Virginia Cavaliers were defeated by the sixteen-seeded UMBC Retrievers.
A one-seed has not only won five straight NCAA tournaments but twelve of the last fifteen.
Prior to the last two NCAA tournaments, which have seen a two-seed bounced in round one, two seeds had gone unbeaten in six straight tournaments.
Since 2004, only the Connecticut Huskies and Villanova Wildcats have won the NCAA tournament as two-seeds.
Check out the odds for this year’s two-seeded teams
In four of the last five NCAA tournaments, all four three seeds won their round one game. The last three-seed to get bounced in round one came in the 2021 tournament when the Abilene Christian Wildcats upended the Texas Longhorns.
Since 2003, the Syracuse Orange, Florida Gators, and Connecticut Huskies have won the NCAA tournament as three-seeds.
Bet on this year’s three-seeded teams
In three of the last four NCAA tournaments, a four-seed has been bounced. The lone year that every four-seed won in round one of that span was 2022 – in which all four games were decided by single digits
The only four-seed to win the NCAA tournament was the Arizona Wildcats in 1997. Outside that, a four-seed hasn’t reached the final four since both the Michigan Wolverines and Syracuse Orange made it in 2013 – with the Wolverines eventually falling short in the championship game.
In only two of the last seven NCAA tournaments, all four-five seeds won in round one.
No five-seed has ever won the NCAA tournament. The last five-seed to reach the finals was the Butler Bulldogs in 2010.
Not since 2004 have all four six-seeds made it out of round one.
The only six-seed to win the NCAA tournament was the Kansas Jayhawks in 1988. The closest another six-seed got to winning the tournament was in 1992, when the Michigan Wolverines lost in the championship game.
The last time all four seven-seeds made it out of round one was back in 2007.
The only seven-seed to win the NCAA tournament was the Connecticut Huskies in 2014. The South Carolina Gamecocks in 2017 and Michigan State Spartans in 2015 are the only other seven-seeds to reach the final four.
The last time all four eight-seeds made it out of round one was back in 2015.
The only eight-seed to win the NCAA tournament was the Villanova Wildcats in 1985. Since then, there have been three teams to reach the championship game; Butler in 2011, Kentucky in 2014 and North Carolina in 2022.
In 2019, all four nine-seeds made it out of round one.
No nine-seed has ever won the NCAA tournament. The furthest a nine-seed has ever reached was the final four, which was done in 2013 by the Wichita State Shockers.
Not since 1999 have all four ten-seeds made it out of round one.
No ten-seed has ever won the NCAA tournament. The furthest a ten-seed has ever reached was the final four, which was done in 2016 by the Syracuse Orange.
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Not since 1989 have all four eleven-seeds made it out of round one.
No eleven-seed has ever won the NCAA tournament. The furthest an eleven-seed has ever reached was the final four, which was done by five teams; UCLA Bruins in 2021, Loyola-Chicago Ramblers in 2018, VCU Rams in 2011, George Mason Patriots in 2006, and LSU Tigers in 1986.
Not since 1989 have all four eleven-seeds made it out of round one.
No twelve-seed has ever won the NCAA tournament. The furthest a twelve-seed has ever reached was the elite eight, which was done by only the Oregon State Beavers in 2021 and Missouri Tigers in 2002.
Never has all thirteen seeds made it out of round one. However, in the past four NCAA tournaments, thirteen-seeds are 5-11 (31.2%).
No thirteen-seed has ever won the NCAA tournament. The furthest a thirteen-seed has ever reached was the Sweet 16, which was done by six teams. The most recent being the La Salle Explorers in 2013.
A fourteen-seed has won in five of the last nine tournaments. In 2015, two fourteen-seeds in the Georgia State Panthers and UAB Blazers advanced past round one.
No fourteen-seed has ever won the NCAA tournament. The furthest a fourteen-seed has ever reached was the Sweet 16, which was done by only the Chattanooga Mocs in 1997 and Cleveland State Vikings in 1986.
In the past two NCAA tournaments, a fifteen-seed has advanced past round one.
No fifteen-seed has ever won the NCAA tournament. The furthest a fourteen-seed has ever reached was the Elite Eight, which was done only by the St. Peter’s Peacocks in 2022.
Only once has a sixteen-seed ever won in the NCAA tournament. Making history in 2018, the UMBC Retrievers accomplished the seemingly impossible, defeating the Virginia Cavaliers in round one.
>> Latest March Madness odds
Related: Best Online Sportsbooks By State:
Based on all the history data, it’s pretty clear that the best March Madness bracket strategy is to bet on top-seeded teams.
There have been a few occasional Cinderellas to advance way past the brackets, but it’s beyond logic to predict who they might just be in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
We suggest you stick with the top teams and place your bets at MyStake for the best value for money.
Thanks for reading, and make sure to bet responsibly!
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