March Madness Round of 32 Betting Preview
After a relatively upset-free opening day of the Round of 64 at the NCAA Tournament, the Round of 32 gets underway on Saturday with bettors hoping to continue to cash in on the favorites.
On Thursday, the teams that moved on in the tournament were a solid 9-6-1 against the spread. The lowest seed that will see action on Saturday are the No. 12 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, who will face the No. 4 Butler Bulldogs.
The Blue Raiders may be a 12 seed, but they were favored in their tournament opener, an 81-72 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers as a 1.5-point favorite at the Bovada sportsbook. That was their 11th straight win, during which they are 9-2 ATS.
Butler defeated the Winthrop Eagles 76-64 as a 10.5-point favorite in their tournament opener. The Bulldogs have won five straight ATS in the tournament and in their last 17 March Madness games they are an astounding 15-2 ATS. Against the Blue Raiders they are a 4-point favorite.
The tough games to call on Saturday will likely be the 4 vs. 5 matchups, of which there are three.
First up is the No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. the No. 4 West Virginia Mountaineers. On Thursday Notre Dame barely edged the Princeton Tigers 60-58 as a 5.5-point favorite, while West Virginia knocked off the Bucknell Bison 86-80 as 13-point chalk. The Mountaineers have lost their last four games ATS, and six of their last seven as they face the Irish as a 3-point favorite.
The No. 4 Florida Gators are a slim 1-point favorite in their Round of 32 matchup with the No. 5 Virginia Cavaliers. Florida blasted the East Tennessee State Buccaneers 80-65 as a 9.5-point favorite in their opener, but they’re still only 3-5 ATS in their last eight tournament games.
Virginia failed to cover the 7.5-point spread in a 76-71 win over the UNC Wilmington Seahawks. Virginia and Florida faced off in the tournament back in 2012 and it wasn’t even close as the Gators rolled to a 71-45 win as a 7.5-point favorite.
The other 4 vs. 5 matchup is the No. 4 Purdue Boilermakers vs. the No. 5 Iowa State Cyclones as a 1-point favorite. Both won their opener ATS, as Purdue dropped the Vermont Catamounts 80-70 as an 8.5-point favorite, and the Cyclones blew past the Nevada Wolf Pack 84-73 as 6-point chalk.
One other matchup trend spotters will want to watch is the No. 11 Xavier Musketeers vs. the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles.
The Musketeers have been a big moneymaker in the tournament at 8-2 ATS in their last 10 and a profitable 23-5-1 ATS in their last 30. The Seminoles are on a four-game ATS losing streak in March Madness and 2-7 ATS in their last nine. The odds have Florida State pegged as a 6-point favorite.