Makinen: March Madness Second-Round matchup trends


After an amazing two days of first-round games in the NCAA tournament, the action continues with the second-round games starting Saturday. We’ve already seen top seeds being ousted, others being tested and surviving, plenty of clutch plays and utter meltdowns, and oh yeah, a lot of UNDERS on totals. In fact, 27 of the first 36 games played in this year’s madness have gone that way. What does it mean for this next set of games? In continuing my series on qualifying all of the trends I posted in my Round-By-Round and Conference articles on the VSiN Tournament Betting Guide to the specific 2023 matchups, I am back to share the second-round data. As you’ll see below, there is some very definitive data pointing in specific side and total directions. Let’s get right into it, and you’ll see that I’ve added any pertinent head-to-head series trends when they were worthwhile.

Second-Round Games

– Bettors have not enjoyed a winning Second Round since 2017, going 16-32 ATS (33.3%) in moving opening lines since then. This is a big change from the First Round, explained perhaps by the shorter prep period for the second round.

– Second-round top-4 seeds that won but didn’t cover the spread in the first round are 39-16 SU and 29-25-1 ATS (53.7%) since 2013. They are also 32-20-3 UNDER (61.5%) the total.

– Second-round double-digit favorites are 48-2 SU and 31-19 ATS (62%) since ’01. Fifteen of the last 21 such games went UNDER (71.4%) the total with the favorites allowing just 60.4 PPG.

– Small Second-round favorites of 4.5 points or less are on an incredible 17-2 SU and 15-4 ATS (78.9%) surge in the last three tournaments.

– Second-round #2 seeds have felt the upset pressure, going just 14-21-1 ATS (40%) in their last 36 games. Those favored by 5 points or less are just 12-18 SU and 10-19-1 ATS (34.5%) since ’02.  

– It’s been a struggle lately in the second round for top-3 seeds overall, as here are the current ATS slides they are on: #1’s 10-17 ATS, #2’s 14-21-1 ATS, and #3’s 7-15 ATS.

– Seeds #4-#6 have been stellar lately in the second round, with these spread runs entering 2020: #4’s 16-10 ATS, #5’s 18-7 ATS, #6’s 18-9 ATS. Surviving the First-Round upset attempt has seemingly propelled these teams to solid round-two performances.

– Second-round #10 seeds are on a 4-12 SU but 10-5-1 ATS (66.7%) run since ’11. 

– When facing seeds in the 5-7 range, double-digit seeds are just 4-17 SU and 6-13-2 ATS (31.6%) in that same timeframe.

–  Better-seeded teams are just 8-15 SU and ATS (34.8%) when playing as underdogs to worse-seeded teams in the second round since 2001.


Applicable Conference Trends for Second-Round games



– In the role of pick em’ or small underdog (up to 4.5 points), ACC teams are currently on a 12-3 ATS (80%) surge.

ACC teams are just 28-46-1 ATS (37.8%) as favorites of 5 points or less in the NCAA’s since ’98.

ACC teams playing as double-digit seeds are 14-6-1 ATS (70%) since 2012.

– In the 16 most recent NCAA tourney matchups between the ACC and Big East, OVER the total is 12-4 (75%).


American Athletic

– In their last 25 tourney games versus power conference foes, American Athletic teams are 17-8 UNDER the total (68%).


Big 12

– Favorites are 12-4 SU and 11-5 ATS (68.8%) in the last 16 NCAA tournament games between the Big 12 and Big Ten

– Against mid-major teams in the NCAAs, Big 12 teams are on a 13-5 ATS (72.2%) surge.

Big 12 teams are just 10-12 SU and 7-15 ATS (31.8%) in their last 22 NCAA tourney games vs the Big East.

Big 12 teams have lost 56 of their 70 NCAA tourney games since ‘00 as underdogs of 2.5 points or more and are 27-42-1 ATS (39.1%) in those games


Big East

– NCAA tourney games between the Big East and ACC have gone 12-4 OVER the total (75%) since ’13

– Favorites are 28-14 ATS (66.7%) in the last 42 Big East NCAA tourney games.

– In NCAA tourney games between Big East programs and non-major conferences since ’15, favorites are on a 21-8 SU and ATS (72.4%) run.


Big Ten

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