Outside of your conventional bracket, there's money to be made all over the board when it comes to the NCAA Tournament.
To get you warmed up for one of the wildest gambling weeks of the year, here are all the tips and angles you'll need to earn a profit this March Madness.
Defense might win championships, but it usually needs to be complemented by an efficient offense.
In fact, since the KenPom era began in 2002, 16 of the 17 teams to win the title were ranked top 20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency in the regular season, according to Bigger Ten. This year, eight teams in the bracket fit that mold:
The 12-over-5 upset is arguably the most well-documented trend of the tournament. Since the bracket expanded in 1985, a 12-seed has beaten a 5-seed in 29 of the 34 tournaments. Overall, the 12 seeds have gone 47-89 (34.5 winning percentage).
Blindly betting teams isn't an ideal strategy. Still, anyone who laid some coin on every 4-seed against the 13-seed ATS over the previous few decades would be up money - those teams are on a 59-41-2 run ATS. Here are the 4-vs-13 matchups this year:
Filling out a March Madness bracket requires a pencil to choose teams, highlighters to keep track along the way, and most importantly, a handy-dandy quarter to help decide those tricky 8-seed versus 9-seed games. These matchups often feature short spreads, which makes sense given the nature of the seeds involved.
In recent years, this is a spot where underdogs have flourished. Since 2009, teams getting the points in the 8-vs-9 game have gone 24-12-3 ATS. Here's how the matchups stack up in this year's bracket:
- Michigan head coach John Beilein has an underrated NCAA Tournament resume in Ann Arbor, as he's taken the Wolverines to the Sweet 16 or further in four of the previous six seasons. He's also posted a great record against the spread for bettors, going 15-8-3 ATS in his last 26 tournament games. The No. 2 Wolverines will face No. 15 Montana in the opening round for the second straight season
- Syracuse's Jim Boeheim has been lethal when the Orange are an underdog in the NCAA Tournament. He's on a blistering 20-8-1 run against the spread when getting points, and has won a whopping 15 of those games outright. Syracuse will face Baylor in an 8-9 game in the Round of 64.
- Virginia's been a perennial defensive juggernaut under head coach Tony Bennett, and enters this year's tournament as the No. 1 unit in the country in points allowed per game this season (55.1.) However, teams have been able to score on Virginia in the NCAA Tournament. Each of the Cavaliers' previous six tourney opponents have gone over their team total, averaging 69.6 points during that stretch. This year, No. 1 Virginia's first opponent will be No. 16 Gardner-Webb.
- Coach Tim Cluess has led Iona to five NCAA Tournament appearances over the last seven seasons. But if those appearances are any indication, you can expect the Gaels' defense to be optional. Cluess' team has gone 0-5 against the spread in its NCAA Tournament games, allowing an average of 89.8 points per contest. It won't get any easier this year, as the Gaels will face No. 1 North Carolina in the opening round.
Alex Kolodziej is theScore's betting writer. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 11 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej.