March Madness Betting Trends & Stats to Know for 2023

Eddie Griffin

Written by: Eddie Griffin

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March Madness Betting Trends & Stats to Know for 2023 cover


If you are betting on this year’s edition of March Madness, there are countless trends, stats, and other tidbits to sort through, whether you plan on betting games throughout the tournament or just placing a wager on Final Four odds.

Here are a few trends that you can take under consideration for your March Madness picks.

Speaking of picks for this year’s NCAA Tournament, you can expect to see plenty of those here. But if you are looking for picks for the games we don’t cover, including the 2023 NIT, there are a number of sports handicapping services that we recommend.

Sports Betting Picks

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One of those sources is Doc’s Sports, which has a great offer going right now.

Doc’s Sports offers a lot of free picks and content, but they also offer $60 worth of premium sports picks free for new premium signups.

Notable March Madness Trends & Stats

Top seeds rule March (most of the time, at least)

In 1985, the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament expanded to 64 teams and four 16-team regions.

In the 37 times that March Madness has taken place since then, a #1 seed has won the tournament 24 times.

Here are the 13 times a #1 seed has not won the title in this period:

  • 1985: Villanova (Southeast #8)
  • 1986: Louisville (West #2)
  • 1988: Kansas (Midwest #6)
  • 1989: Michigan (Southeast #3)
  • 1991: Duke (Midwest #2)
  • 1997: Arizona (Southeast #4)
  • 1998: Kentucky (South #2)
  • 2003: Syracuse (East #3)
  • 2004: UConn (Phoenix #2)
  • 2006: Florida (Minneapolis #3)
  • 2011: UConn (West #3)
  • 2014: UConn (East #7)
  • 2016: Villanova (South #2)

Of those 13 titles, seven were won by programs who are in the current Big East or were a part of the old Big East.

Could UConn (+2500 to win the national championship at BetOnline) have another magical March Madness run this year? The Huskies, the #4 seed in the West Regional, have won three of their four overall titles when not a top seed.

And it’s certainly neither here nor there–or is it? –but Kansas, the #1 seed in the West, has lost to either the national champion (1991, 1997, 2003, and 2016) or runner-up (1986 and 2004) six times in these 13 instances.

Hmmm. HMMMM.

In any event, a #1 seed will likely win. And if one doesn’t, the champ will likely be a top-four seed, based on the information above.

So, time to put your bets on UConn, Xavier (a potential Kansas opponent in the Final Four), or Marquette (a potential championship game opponent for the Jayhawks)? Perhaps.

Expect double-digit seeds to make more big noise at the Big Dance

The prospect of big upsets is one of the draws of March Madness, and while we may not see a #15 seed make a run like Saint Peter’s did last season, we should see at least a couple of double-digit seeds make noise this year.

Here’s a rundown of all of the first-round upsets from 2019, 2021, and 2022:

  • 2022 (7): Miami (FL) (#10 – Elite Eight), Iowa State (#11 – Sweet Sixteen), Michigan (#11 – Sweet Sixteen), Notre Dame (#11 – Sweet Sixteen), New Mexico State (#12 – Second Round), Richmond (#12 – Second Round), Saint Peter’s (#15 – Elite Eight)
  • 2021 (9): Maryland (#10 – Second Round), Rutgers (#10 – Second Round), Syracuse (#11 – Sweet Sixteen), UCLA (#11 – Final Four), Oregon State (#12 – Elite Eight), North Texas (#13 – Second Round), Ohio (#13 – Second Round), Abilene Christian (#14 – Second Round), Oral Roberts (#15 – Sweet Sixteen)
  • 2019 (8): Florida (#10 – Second Round), Iowa (#10 – Second Round), Minnesota (#10 – Second Round), Ohio State (#11 – Second Round), Liberty (#12 – Second Round), Murray State (#12 – Second Round), Oregon (#12 – Sweet Sixteen), UC Irvine (#13 – Second Round)

So, over the past three editions of March Madness, 24 double-digit seeds have advanced beyond the first round.

Which double-digit seeds are likeliest to stick around beyond the first round this year? I will have a separate piece dedicated to picking March Madness upsets, but the Midwest Regional looks especially ripe for some chaos.

Will March Madness Turn to March Sadness for Purdue Once Again?

For the fourth time ever and the first time since 1996, Purdue is a #1 seed, led by runaway Player of the Year favorite Zach Edey.

The Boilermakers, who have spent several weeks at #1 this season, won the Big Ten regular season title for the first time since 2019 and captured their first Big Ten tournament crown since 2009 with a win over Penn State on Sunday.

But will Purdue finally reach the Final Four for the first time since 1980 and claim the program’s first NCAA Tournament title? Or will March Madness success continue to be elusive?

Don’t bet on it. In the history of the men’s Wooden Award, which has been in existence since 1977, only seven times has the winner played for that year’s national champion.

  • 1980: Darrell Griffith, Louisville
  • 1988: Danny Manning, Kansas
  • 1992: Christian Laettner, Duke
  • 1995: Ed O’Bannon, UCLA
  • 2001: Shane Battier, Duke
  • 2012: Anthony Davis, Kentucky
  • 2018: Jalen Brunson, Villanova

There are only five more instances in which the Wooden Award winner played for the national runner-up.

  • 1979: Larry Bird, Indiana State (lost to Michigan State)
  • 1991: Larry Johnson, UNLV (lost to Duke)
  • 1999: Elton Brand, Duke (lost to UConn)
  • 2013: Trey Burke, Michigan (lost to Louisville)
  • 2015: Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (lost to Duke)

So, that history is certainly not on Edey and Purdue’s side.

Neither is Purdue’s own March Madness history.

In the 64+ team era of the NCAA Tournament, the Boilermakers have advanced to the Elite Eight only three times in 28 appearances (1994, 2000, and 2019). And in 11 of those appearances, they have been a #1 (three times), #2 (three times), or #3 seed (five times).

Other March Madness Content at Betting News

If you’d like to check out our other March Madness betting content (which you can also find at our March Madness hub), here’s a rundown of what we have put together to help you with your NCAA Tournament betting.

Where to Bet on March Madness

There’s a good chance that you may already have an account at one or more of the legal sports betting sites we recommend.

That said, it’s always nice to have options, because as is indicated in the above picks, you will often find better odds at one book over others.

Eddie Griffin
Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade and has been with Betting News since 2021. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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