Home > A Look at 2023 March Madness Over-Unders for Historical Tournament Trends
march madness tournament 2023

With the NCAA Tournament bracket officially out, public attention now shifts towards breaking down the field and dissecting the matchups. Of course, March Madness historical trends can tell us a lot about what might happen in 2023.

In order to help people handicap this year’s tournament, USBettingReport.com, which has March Madness promo codes for your NCAA Tournament betting needs, examined five trends across the event’s history and then attempted to see how they might apply to 2023.

$1,000 First Bet Offer
Competitive odds
Attentive customer support

First Bet Offer Up To $1,000 - Bonus Code: USBETTING

Using information collected from Sports-Reference.com/CBB and KenPom.com, USBR set over/under lines based on these historical precedents, which then served as the mechanism for analysis. Most lines include statistics dating back to 1985 when the tournament expanded to 64 teams, although several will incorporate fewer years due to a lack of data and/or era considerations. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Largest Welcome Bonus On The Market
Weekly Promotions
Attentive Customer Support

Up to $1,250 on Caesars - Promo Code: USBETTINGFULL

March Madness Historical Trends: Pregame Win Probability for the Biggest Upset of the Tournament (O/U 11.1%)

We start off our analysis of March Madness historical trends with everyone’s favorite topic: Upsets.

Unfortunately, KenPom only lists win probability calculations from 2011 onwards so this over/under is built on the smallest sample of any trend that will be discussed. But the numbers still make a clear point: expect at least one truly shocking result almost every year.

Six of the last 11 tournaments have featured a game won by a team given a projected less than 10% chance of victory, and that jumps to nine of the last 11 tournaments when the threshold is raised to 15% win probability.

Only the 2017 and 2019 tournaments failed to deliver a monumental upset, with the most unlikely results of those years topping out at 23% (USC over SMU) and 26% (UC Irvine over Kansas State) pregame win probability.

However, this year’s field may not present as many opportunities for stunning defeats. Excluding the two unset 1-16 games, just seven first-round matchups project to have a favorite with an 85% chance of victory or more and only three (Houston-Northern Kentucky, UCLA-UNC Asheville and Kansas-Howard) registered above 90% in terms of expected outcomes.

That number is way down from last year, where 12 opening-round games rated as 88% propositions or better for the favorite, including Kentucky’s infamous loss to St Peter’s where the Wildcats were given a 91.1% chance to win. With most of the biggest upsets historically coming in the first round, it is simply going to be harder to replicate that this year when fewer games will meet the criteria.

Verdict: Over

$1,000 Welcome OFfer
NFL Odds Boosts
Superb Mobile Apps

No Sweat First Bet Up To $1,000

March Madness Historical Trends: First Round Upsets by Seed (O/U 8.3)

While the chances of a major tournament upset may look down this season, that does not mean higher seeded teams can feel safe.

Since 1985, a minimum of three higher seeds have gone down in the first round annually and at least five have been defeated every year except 2000 and 2004. Although no tournament has seen more than 13 lower seeded teams advance, the last three have all featured at least 10 first-round upsets by seed line.

With general parity up around the sport and one of the strongest mid-major fields in recent memory, conditions seem ripe for another tough year for higher seeds, especially those on the three through seven lines.

National mobile betting apps outright favor 10th-seeded Utah State to beat 7th-seeded Missouri in the South Region.

And with 15 total first round games currently containing spreads under two possessions according to DraftKings Sportsbook other lower seeds should have ample upset prospects.

An astonishing 10 teams seeded nine through 16 have already won at least 27 games this season, something no other bracket can claim. Additionally, 20 of the 23 one bid conferences sent their first or second place regular season finisher to the tournament this year after an exceptional showing for favorites during conference championship week.

Despite drawing some difficult matchups, teams like Charleston, Oral Roberts, Furman and Iona come into the field hot and ready to keep winning. And do not discount what motivated high majors who just snuck into the tournament can do either.

Verdict: Over

$200 in Bonus Bets
Favorite NFL Team Option
Same-Game Parlays on all Sports

Bet $5 On The NBA Finals, Get $200 In Bonus Bets Instantly

3. Double Digit Seeds to the Sweet 16 (O/U 2.2)

Regardless of whether it is a high major or mid major, a couple of those first-round upsets turn into Sweet 16 runs basically every year. 1995 and 2007 are the only tournaments since 1985 where a double-digit seed failed to advance that far, and just four tournaments since the 2007 shutout have featured only one double-digit seed in the Sweet 16.

The last two years have each seen four double-digit seeds make the second weekend (something only exceeded by 1999), with a 15 seeded mid-major advancing along with three high majors in the 10 to 12 seed range both seasons.

Expecting another 15 seed to make a run this year is likely unwise considering only three teams seeded that low have ever pulled it off, but there are several double-digit seeds that have to like their positioning. 

Fresh off the bubble, Providence drew an inconsistent Kentucky team with the winner likely to face a Kansas State squad that has only won one of its last eight games away from Bramlage Coliseum and looks like the weakest 3 seed.

The Friars have a star that can carry them in sophomore forward Bryce Hopkins and will not be bullied on the glass, something that could prove critical to these matchups.

Whoever emerges from tonight’s Pittsburgh-Mississippi State play-in game also gets a favorable draw. Five teams have gone from the First Four to the Sweet 16 since its introduction in 2011, making it a live spot for runs — plus the winner of this matchup will play in a pod with easy to fade higher seeds in Iowa State and Xavier.

Teams mentioned in the previous section that can win multiple games include Utah State, who only ranks eight spots below their potential second round opponent Arizona at KenPom, and Charleston and Furman who were placed in maybe the most wide open pod of the entire bracket with San Diego State and Virginia.

Verdict: Over

$100 Welcome Offer
NFL Odds Boosts
Quick Payouts

Bet $100 Get $50 for Sports and $50 for Casino

4. Elite Eight Games Between the 1 and 2 Seeds in a Region (O/U 1.3)

Now that the upsets have been addressed, it is time to talk chalk.

Everyone appreciates the occasional Cinderella story, but at its core the tournament is about premium matchups. And few matchups generate more excitement than when the top two teams in a region square off with a trip to the Final Four on the line.

This has occurred on 47 occasions since 1985, although one and two seeds have only met in three regional finals over the last five tournaments. Coincidentally, for the first 15 years following the field’s expansion to 64, every tournament included either two or zero Elite Eight games between top two seeds. 2007 remains the only year to feature three such games.

As far as this year goes, Houston and Texas appear the likeliest potential one versus two Elite Eight matchup. Publicly available metrics rate Houston as the best team in the country and some models give the Cougars as much as a two in three chance to reach the regional finals. Meanwhile, the Longhorns forecast either as the strongest or second strongest two seed in the field depending on your algorithm of choice and boast the kind of deep and experienced core that traditionally excels in March.

In the other regions, while one of the top two seeds may possess a fairly clear path, more traps abound to prevent a 1-2 game from materializing. Out West, Kansas must worry about potentially facing a Connecticut team with better computer numbers in the Sweet 16 while UCLA must adapt to the loss of Jaylen Clark. In the East, Purdue’s path through either Memphis or Florida Atlantic and then likely Tennessee or Duke does the Boilermakers no favors. And down South, Arizona’s journey could involve multiple games against top 20 KenPom teams depending on how things shake out.

Verdict: Under

$500 Welcome Bonus
Reliable and Trustworthy
Reduced Juice

2nd Chance Bet Up To $500 - Promo Code: SPORTS

March Madness Historical Trends: Most Wins for a Conference During the Tournament (O/U 13.5)

Conference officials and fans alike love the bragging rights that come with a big performance from their league in March.

Not only does it provide a nice morale boost and potential recruiting benefits, but the financial stakes are high as well thanks to the NCAA’s unit system for distributing tournament revenue. Each conference earns over $300,000 for every tournament game played by a league member, putting wins at a premium.

The ACC has cleaned up recently as a result of this, leading or tying for the lead in conference wins in six of the last seven tournaments. Their 2016 performance featured a record 19 wins from the league’s seven representatives, topping the mark set by the 1985 Big East and its three Final Four teams by one.

Since the tournament expanded, the ACC also holds a sizeable lead in overall years pacing the field. The league has finished with or tied for the best tournament performance of any conference 15 times over that span, more than double their closest competitor (the Big Ten with seven such instances).

Look for another league to attempt to snatch the crown from the ACC this season, given the conference currently ranks seventh overall in both the NET and KenPom. The SEC and Big Ten both earned eight bids on Selection Sunday compared to the ACC’s five, while the Big 12 received seven. However, the five-bid Big East should not be counted out either, as each of their teams drew matchups that could easily result in Sweet 16 runs or more.

Although the average top conference in tournament wins needed 5.9 teams in the field to reach the 13.5-win standard, earning lots of bids does not guarantee March success. The 11-bid Big East led all conferences in tournament wins in 2011, but only did so because Connecticut accumulated six of the league’s 13 wins during its championship run.

Meanwhile, in 2014 the SEC managed to collect a whopping 12 wins from just three bids, as it placed two teams in the Final Four. Overall, the eventual national champion has represented the top conference in tournament wins in 18 of the last 37 years while only two leagues have claimed the most wins without sending a team to the Final Four (2010 Big 12 and 2018 ACC).

Verdict: Over

Daily odds boosts on NFL, NBA, MLB
Name-a-bet option
Highly competitive odds

5 x $50 Second Chance Bets

Subscribe for sports betting offers, promos and news

Related stories

The Stars Group selected as authorized gaming operator of NBA

Joan Mantini

New Jersey sports betting wagers continue to climb

Joan Mantini

GiG Signs Sportsbook Contract With Hard Rock International

Joan Mantini

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh Officially Opens its Sportsbook

Joan Mantini

SugarHouse Casino Makes Philly History

Joan Mantini

DraftKings Prepares to Launch Sports Betting in West Virginia

Joan Mantini