A sports betting colleague fired me some historical NCAA Tournament data that includes seeding results for teams playing in the Elite Eight. The Elite Eight match-ups and odds includes three Pac-12 teams along with three No. 1 seeds, which the leading online sportsbooks have made favorites of 7-9 points.
Elite Eight Match-ups and Odds
Lines from BetOnline
No. 12 Oregon State vs No. 2 Houston (-8), total 129
No. 3 Arkansas vs No. 1 Baylor (-7.5), total 148.5
No. 6 USC vs No. 1 Gonzaga (-9), total 155
No. 11 UCLA vs No. 1 Michigan (-7.5), total 137
The Elite Eight action report from BetOnline shows No. 12 seed Oregon State (+8) taking 68% of the spread money and 73% of moneyline (+290) against No. 2 Houston. The total has dropped from 131 opener to 129, and 69% of the money is bet on UNDER the total.
More bettors are supporting No. 1 seed Baylor (-8) over Arkansas in the nightcap Monday, with 69% of the spread money on the Bears. Arkansas (+320) has 53% moneyline support and the total shows 57% of the money betting UNDER.
Specific betting data will be updated Tuesday for the other two games, but early money of just more than 60% is supporting the No. 1 seeds of Michigan over UCLA and Gonzaga over USC.
Historical Seed Data and Results
The Sweet 16 brackets were busted by Pac-12 longshots, and if you totaled up all the seeds in the Sweet 16, it added up to 94 - an all-time high since the NCAA Tournament expansion to 64 teams in 1985.
The Elite Eight is where the pressure really mounts as teams shoot for a spot in the Final Four. That includes even for the stronger No. 1 seeds. Three No. 1 seeds remain, along with a 2, 3, 6, 11 and 12 seed.
Here is the straight up record and performance of those seeds playing in the Elite Eight since 1985:
|Seed||SU Record||Win Percentage|
As you can see, the No. 1 seeds struggle to win more than you might expect. When facing a double-digit seed like Michigan is against UCLA, those No. 1 seeds are just 8-4 SU. If having to cover a point spread of 7 or more like Michigan is beting asked to do, those teams are a money-burning 3-11 ATS.
Surprisingly, No. 11 seeds are 4-4 SU in the Elite Eight, and have actually beaten No. 1 seeds three times.
Elite Eight games involving No. 1 seeds are often blowouts, either way. No. 1 seeds have won by double-digits 26 times, and lost by double-digits 18 times. So 44 of the 96 games involving No. 1 seeds have been decided by double-digits.
The No. 2 seed has lost eight consecutive times straight up (SU) in the Elite Eight to a No. 3 seed or worse team. I did not fact check, but relied on data provided. It also shows the No. 2 seed is just 5-12 SU against a No. 4 seed or worse, and 3-8 SU vs a No. 5 seed or worse. No. 2 seeds would have covered the points spread of -7.5 just 3 times in 17 games. Houston escaped with a victory in the Round of 32 and was fortunate to get to the Sweet 16, where they shut down Syracuse. So even with the historical ATS numbers favoring Oregon State to get the money and cover, the Houston Cougar defensive profile and strength still has me laying off Oregon State and passing on the side. I did bet Under the total.
The No. 1 seeds facing a No. 6 seed like Gonzaga vs USC has seen the top seed go 7-2 SU. The seven wins have been by a combined 101 points, or 14.3 points per game.
A No. 1 seed playing a No. 3 seed in the Elite Eight like Baylor vs Arkansas has seen the top seed go 15-10 SU. However, if those No. 1 seeds would have had to cover a line of -7.5 or higher like Baylor is being asked to do, they would have gone just 6-19 ATS.
All three top seeds - Gonzaga, Baylor and Michigan - won and covered in the Sweet 16, going 3-0 SU/ATS. The current betting data shows most those bettors are riding their winnings and playing the top seeds to win and cover again.
I'm on the other side supporting the 'Dogs.
You can bet on it.
FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay here and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay