Makinen: First Four matchup trends

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Hopefully, you were able to download both of VSiN’s tournament guides, which were released on Monday. If not, make sure you do so. In the Betting Guide, I released two heavy trend-based articles for the NCAA tournament, in which I detailed many round-by-round and conference-oriented angles. The problem with those pieces, if there is one, is that with the tight production deadlines, I am not able to qualify all the various trends by the specific matchups. Well, in response to many requests I have gotten in recent years to do so, I will be doing a series of updated pieces noting the games to which specific trends apply, as well as the team and/or total option that would be suggested by the angle. I hope this saves VSiN readers a lot of time and effort, in addition to giving you a better shot at capitalizing on the historically successful information. With that in mind, let’s get it started with the First Four games. On Wednesday I will be going through the entire slate of first-round action in a separate piece.

 

 

First Four Trends by Round

•           Over the last 10 NCAA tournaments, underdogs own a 22-16 ATS (57.8%) edge in the play-in round. (SE Missouri St +3.5, Pittsburgh +2.5, Fairleigh Dickinson +2.5, Nevada +2.5)

•           Formerly, all play-in games used to match #16 seeds; recently, play-in games featuring seeds 12 or better have trended 14-6 UNDER (70%) (U133.5 MSU-PIT, U133.5 ASU-NEV)

•           Higher totaled play-in games, or those higher than 139, have also trended 12-7 UNDER (63.2%) (U155.5 A&MCC-SEMO, U147.5 TSU-FDU)

•           Back to the point spread benchmarks, favorites of 3 points or more are 20-11 SU but just 13-17-1 ATS (43.3%) (ATS against Texas A&M CC)

•           Outright winners have gone 31-3 ATS (91.2%) in the play-in round since 2013 although in a strange most recent loss, Drake did win vs Wichita State without covering in 2021 on a 1.5-point spread. (All outright winners ATS)

 

Applicable Conference Trends for the First Four games

ACC

Teams in the field/First matchup

PITTSBURGH (#11, MIDWEST) vs. MISSISSIPPI ST (#11-SEC)

Trends

 

Mountain West

Teams in the field/First matchup

NEVADA (#11, WEST) vs. ARIZONA ST (#11-Pac 12)

– Mountain West teams struggles in the NCAAs haven’t been that well documented, but collectively they are just 21-53 SU and 22-49-3 ATS (31%) since 2001, including nine straight outright and ATS defeats (against Nevada +2.5)

– As tournament underdogs, Mountain West teams are just 8-37 SU and 11-31-3 ATS (26.2%) since ’01. (against Nevada +2.5)

– As seeds of 8 or worse in the NCAAs, Mountain West teams are on a brutal 3-29 SU and 5-25-2 ATS since ’03.  (against Nevada +2.5)

 

 

Northeast

Teams in the field/First matchup

FARLEIGH DICKINSON (#16, EAST) vs. TEXAS SOUTHERN (#16-SWAC)

Trends

Twelve of the last 19 Northeast Conference NCAA tourney games have gone OVER the total (63.2%). (OVER 147.5 TSU-FDU)

 

Ohio Valley

Teams in the field/First matchup

SE MISSOURI ST (#16, SOUTH) vs. TEXAS A&M CC (#16-Southland)

Trends

Ohio Valley Conference teams have been quite competitive in the NCAAs, 13-9 ATS (59.1%) in their last 22. They are only 5-24 outright since ’98 though. (SE Missouri St. +3.5)

– OVER the total is 9-2 (81.8%) in the last 11 Ohio Valley NCAA tourney games, including 4-0 int he last 4 (Over 155.5 Texas A&M-CC-SE Missouri St.)

 

SEC

Teams in the field/First matchup

MISSISSIPPI ST (#11, MIDWEST) vs. PITTSBURGH (#11-ACC)

 

Trends

– Seeded in the bottom half of the field (#9-#14), SEC teams have struggled to an 8-21 SU and 10-17-2 ATS (37%) record since ’07. (against Mississippi St. -2.5)

– Underdogs are 32-15 ATS (68.1%) in the last 47 SEC NCAA Tourney games overall. (against Mississippi St. -2.5)

– As pick ’ems or small favorites of 5 points or less, SEC teams are an ugly 39-47 SU & 31-54-4 ATS (37.8%) in the NCAAs since ’99. (against Mississippi St. -2.5)

 

Southland

Teams in the field/First matchup

TEXAS A&M CC (#16, SOUTH) vs. SE MISSOURI ST (#16-Ohio Valley)

Trends

Southland Conference teams have lost their last 3 play-in games, both SU and ATS (0%). (against Texas A&M-CC -3.5)

 

SWAC

Teams in the field/First matchup

TEXAS SOUTHERN (#16, EAST) vs. FARLEIGH DICKINSON (#16-Northeast)

Trends

SWAC teams are on a 5-2 ATS (71.4%) run currently in NCAA Tourney games, including back-to-back wins in play-in games (Texas Southern -2.5)