Makinen: College Basketball power conference tourney betting trends


Over the course of the last week and a half, I’ve been running a three-part series covering some of the key betting data available for each of the college basketball conference tournaments. We’ve reached the conclusion of the series, the climax if you will, as this piece will cover the six power conference tournaments that will commence on Tuesday, March 7th or later. These are the big boys, the tournaments that command the biggest audiences, and hence, the most attention from bettors.


I will save you from the introductory material I discussed in the earlier pieces. If you would like to go back and revisit that info, including the trend about conference tournament teams off of byes in earlier rounds facing teams that played, simply browse either of the first two articles in the series.

In this piece, the power conference leagues I cover are:

BIG 12

For my latest strength ratings, including Power Ratings, Effective Strength indicators, Bettors’ Ratings, Recent Ratings, and Schedule Strengths, visit the NCAAMBB TEAM POWER RANKINGS page on, sortable by conference.


  • After a long run of struggling against teams off of bye’s (7-35 SU and 12-28-2 ATS from ’14-20), teams that played earlier in the ACC tourney are 5-9 SU but 11-2-1 ATS (84.6%) over the last two years in such situations.
  • ACC opening round favorites have gone 17-1 SU and 13-5 ATS (72.2%) since ’16.
  • ACC semifinal underdogs are 12-17 SU but 21-5-3 ATS (80.8%) since 2007, and 8-0-1 ATS since ’17.

BIG 12

  • Underdogs in the opening round of the Big 12 tourney are on a 7-6 SU and 12-1 ATS (92.3%) surge.
  • Laying 4 points or more has proven quite risky in the Big 12 tourney, as favorites of this magnitude are 28-11 SU but just 14-25 ATS (35.9%) since ’14.
  • Totals of 150 or higher have gone 16-4 (80%) over the last nine years in the Big 12 tournament.


  • Only two of the last 16 Big East quarterfinal teams that enjoyed a Round 1 bye have lost to a team that played, going 11-5 ATS (68.8%).
  • Big East quarterfinal double-digit favorites are on an 11-1 ATS (91.7%) run since 2006.
  • Big East semifinal dogs have been a very profitable play of late, 6-8 SU but 11-3 ATS (78.6%) since 2015.
  • Ten of the last 12 Big East championship games have gone UNDER the total (83.3%).


  • Against public perception, games with totals of less than 129 are on a 13-5-1 OVER (72.2%) run in the Big Ten tournament.
  • Teams that are off a bye in the Big Ten tournament are 14-10 SU but 5-18-1 ATS (21.7%) versus teams that already played since 2018.


  • Pac-12 teams in the quarterfinals that enjoyed a bye in Round 1 are on a 25-3 SU run but are just 4-7 ATS (36.4%) in the last 11 such games.
  • Pac-12 tourney favorites of 4.5 points or less boast a point spread record of 25-9-1 ATS (73.5%) over the last nine years.
  • Pac-12 tourney first-round favorites are just 6-15 ATS over the last six tournaments (28.6%).
  • Pac-12 semifinal favorites have gone 7-1 SU and ATS in the last four tournaments.


  • Lines of 7 points or more should be noted for two reasons in the SEC tourney. First, favorites in these games are on a 26-6 SU and 19-11-2 ATS (63.3%) run since 2014, and second, these games have gone UNDER the total at a 22-9-1 (71%) rate.
  • The bye has proven critical in the SEC tournament of late, as rested teams are on a 23-9 SU and 19-13 ATS (59.4%) run versus teams that have already played.
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Steve Makinen
As one of the original founders of StatFox, Steve Makinen has been in the business of sports betting and data analysis for almost 25 years now. In his time in the industry, Steve has worked in a variety of capacities on both sides of the betting counter, from his early days of developing the StatFox business, to almost a decade of oddsmaking consulting for one of the world's leading sportsbooks, to his last seven years as Point Spread Weekly and Analytics Director with VSiN. Steve has always believed that number crunching and handicapping through foundational trends and systems is the secret to success and he shares this data with VSiN readers on a daily basis for all of the major sports.