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The Iceman's Free Pick
Seton Hall vs. Kansas,
03/17/2018 19:10 EDT
Point Spread: -4½/-109 Kansas
Seton Hall vs Kansas Free Pick March 17, 2018
If you ask people what strategy they employ when betting on the NCAA Tournament, you will probably hear the majority of them talking about taking the underdogs. Shocking upsets are the most common theme at this time of year, and we saw some of that Thursday. Buffalo eliminated Arizona, and Virginia Tech and Miami both were ousted as first round favorites. Chances are, the talk in the office around the water cooler will focus mostly on these games. The reality is that seven teams were favored by double digits Thursday, and all seven of them won. Five of those seven favorites covered. In Friday's games, #1 overall Virginia went down, and so did #4 seed Wichita State. Once again though, the story you won't read about is that six of the eight teams favored by double digits won, and four of those covered. So double digit favorites went 13-2 straight up, and 9-6 ATS in the first round of the tournament. In my pre tournament research, I had learned that 1-4 seeds have covered roughly 60 percent of the time in the early rounds in recent seasons. So I can't say that I am surprised by the fact that double digit favorites are hitting at a 60 percent clip so far. Such anomalies are rare in sports betting, as the bookmakers are quick to make adjustments in order to correct such trends. It seems clear that the shock factor of upsets such as UMBC over Virginia have a serious psychological effect on sports bettors. The betting public is convinced that backing underdogs in the NCAA Tournament is a winning strategy. This consensus opinion among fans likely prevents the bookmakers from making what are normally routine adjustments. Now I bet on a few dogs myself in the first round, including UNC Greensboro and Charleston, who both came very close to winning outright. That being said, I think the real value at this time of the year is on undervalued favorites, and that's exactly what I think we have here with Seton Hall versus Kansas (in Kansas).