NCAA Tournament Odds: Round of 64 Spreads & Betting Preview

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The Super Bowl is easily the most-wagered single game in North America each year. However, it is dwarfed in overall betting action by the NCAA Tournament annually.

While the First Four is nice, true March Madness begins around the country on Thursday and Friday with 16 games each day from noon Eastern to past midnight. For hoops junkies and many bettors, it’s two days of nirvana.

If you are looking for a No. 16 seed to upset a No. 1, don’t hold your breath. The top seeds are 132-0 all-time in that matchup and only four games in the past decade have even been decided by single digits. So, to no surprise, the biggest first-round favorites are No. 1 seeds – led by East Region at No. 1 Villanova at -23.5 against Radford sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Highlanders won their first-ever NCAA Tournament game on Tuesday night in the First Four against LIU Brooklyn. Villanova was one of the best against the spread bets in the nation this season at 21-12-1, and sits as the favorite on the overall odds to win the NCAA tournament.

By some statistical metrics, Ivy League champion Penn is the best No. 16 seed in the history of this tournament. The Quakers are “only” 13.5-point underdogs on the March Madness odds to No. 1 Kansas in the Midwest Region on Thursday. Ivy League teams have a history of big upsets in this tournament, although this would be by far the biggest.

The two top ATS teams nationally during the year were both from the Big Ten: Nebraska (22-8 ATS) and Michigan (22-11-1 ATS). The Cornhuskers were relegated to the NIT, while the Wolverines enter the Big Dance on a nine-game winning streak and as Big Ten Tournament champions. They are the No. 3 seed in the West and 11-point favorites Thursday against No. 14 Montana of the Big Sky.

Sometimes, oddsmakers don’t agree with the NCAA Tournament selection committee on which team is better. For example, on Friday in the East Region, No. 10 Butler is a 1.5-point favorite over No. 7 Arkansas. In the West, No. 9 Florida State is -1.5 against No. 8 Missouri. The closest spread/biggest seeding mismatch looks to be No. 11 Loyola of Chicago as just a 2-point underdog Thursday in the South Region against No. 6 Miami.

There are no pick’em games as of this writing, with the shortest spread on South Region No. 7 Nevada at -1 against No. 10 Texas on Friday.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.