March Madness continues into the Elite Eight, and so do the upsets. Both remaining No. 1 seeds were eliminated with Alabama and Houston going down as 7.5-point favorites. For the first time in NCAA Tournament history there are zero No. 1 seeds remaining in the Elite Eight.
The sportsbooks are cleaning house on national championship bets, and in the tournament.
“Tournament results have been written like a script by the sportsbooks regardless of results going forward,” BetMGM Vice President of Trading Jason Scott told me.
Alabama and Houston losing “was a huge result” for BetMGM and the leading online sportsbooks with more bettors also adding those two top seeds to moneyline and parlay bets in losses to San Diego State and Miami.
“Tennessee losing was the best spread result in the Sweet Sixteen,” Scott added.
Alabama and Houston along with Kansas were the most bet teams ahead of and during the NCAA Tournament to win the national championship.
Bettors showed confidence in the favorites, but the underdogs proved to be fearless.
“We talked about confidence, and the key to confidence is being fearless,” San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher told his team before the game against Alabama. “I thought we were fearless tonight,” he would say later.
Longshot No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic took very little wagering to cut down the nets with odds as high as 300/1 to win the national championship ahead of the NCAA Tournament. But the Owls are one win away from the Final Four and a spot in college basketball’s biggest stage.
The East Region Elite Eight matchup is No. 9 Florida Atlantic vs No. 3 Kansas State Saturday at Madison Square Garden. No. 6 Creighton and No. 5 San Diego State will settle the score in Louisville for a trip to the Final Four in the South Region.
On the other side of the bracket at the two T-Mobile venues, No. 5 Miami battles No. 2 Texas in Kansas City and the Midwest Regional final. Out West in Las Vegas, No. 3 Gonzaga runs and guns with No. 4 Connecticut looking to fill out the Final Four next weekend at NRG Stadium in Houston.
The eight remaining teams have a combined seed total of 37. That doesn’t match last year’s record seed total of 47, but does include a No. 9 seed, Florida Atlantic. The Owls had only appeared in one NCAA tournament, losing in the opening round in 2002. They also had won at least 20 games in a season just once, going 21-11 in 2011. But they are now 34-3, and have more victories than any team in college basketball.
And Kansas State point guard Markquis Nowell set the NCAA Tournament single-game record with 19 assists in the 98-93 overtime win over Michigan State.
Basketball odds and futures from BetMGM refresh periodically and are subject to change. That includes on props and live betting, which is most popular during March Madness.
Saturday, March 25
No. 9 Florida Atlantic vs No. 3 Kansas State (-1.5) | Total: 144.5 | 6:09 p.m. | TBS (New York) Line opened -2.5.
No. 3 Gonzaga vs. No. 4 Connecticut (-2.5) | Total: 153.5 | 8:49 p.m. | CBS (Las Vegas)
Sunday, March 25
No. 5 San Diego State vs No. 6 Creighton vs. (-1.5) | Total: 132.5 | 2:20 p.m. | TBS (Louisville)
No. 5 Miami vs. No. 2 Texas (-4 5) | Total: 149.5 | 4:50 p.m. | CBS (Kansas City)
Elite Eight Betting Notes and Trends
No. 3 Gonzaga vs. No. 4 Connecticut – No. 3 seeds are on a 4-14 ATS run. Also, underdogs off a straight up (SU) ‘Dog win like Gonzaga are 16-7-2 ATS. But Big East teams (UCONN) are 8-3 ATS the last 14 years. Teams off 3+ ATS wins are 19-9-1 ATS.
No. 3 Kansas State vs. No. 9 Florida Atlantic – No. 3 seeds are on a 4-14 ATS run.
Seven of the eight remaining teams are 3-0 SU and ATS. Texas is 2-0-1 with an ATS push in their 5 point win over Penn State in the Round of 32.
Betting Trends from Playbook Sports also has favorable ATS profiles on San Diego State and Miami in their Elite Eight games after taking down the No. 1 seeds.
Play On any NCAA tournament team in the Elite 8 round if they upset a #1 seed as an underdog in the Sweet 16 round. Since 1996, those teams are 14-2 ATS.
Also, No. 5 seeds are on an 8-1 ATS run in the Elite Eight with San Diego State and Miami looking to add to the positive profile and trend.
Profile of a National Champion
A stat profile of a NCAA Tournament winner and national champion is that 19 of the last 20 National Champions have finished in the Top 20 in Ken Pom’s offensive and defensive adjusted efficiency rankings.
Alabama, Houston, UCLA, Connecticut and Texas fit that profile with Creighton just missing. Only Connecticut and Texas remain in the NCAA Tournament with a majority of brackets busted by the elimination of the No. 1 seeds.
Tune in on TBS and CBS Sports as I did to discuss the impact betting and gambling has on the NCAA Tournament. More March Madness fantastic finishes are likely as the Elite Eight teams shoot for the Final Four.
NCAA Tournament Adjusted Odds
Entering the 2023 NCAA Tournament, Alabama, Kansas and Houston were the teams with the most bets and money wagered to win the national championship. Texas and Gonzaga were both +1400 to +1500 , while Connecticut was +1700 and Creighton +3400.
Alabama and Houston were the pre-tournament favorites between +500 and +800, and their odds to win the Big Dance dipped down to +300 and +375 the day they played in the Sweet Sixteen. With both teams eliminated, the BetMGM national championship odds now have Connecticut as the favorite followed by Texas. The Longhorns are the most-bet team remaining to win the national championship.
The 2023 NCAA Tournament is historic without any No. 1 seeds in the Elite Eight. It’s surely one to remember, especially for the sportsbooks as they enjoy big profits from March Madness more than most bettors.
“I’d be prepared to say that come Sunday night, the last two weeks will be the biggest fortnight since BetMGM opened its doors for sports,” Jason Scott said.