Texas Southern … Florida Atlantic … Delaware State. What do these 3 college basketball teams have in common?
If you guessed these are my picks for the #1 seeds in the March Madness tournament, you are delusional. The connection between these teams is they are the squads of 2018 to win SU as 20-point underdogs. TXSO has actually done it twice.
In the 2017 season we had 5 such upsets. In 2016 we also had 5. With 4 already through December, we are in danger of setting a new high-mark. This is because large underdogs have been playing exceptionally well this season. Of course, allow me to illustrate with some cold hard statistics.
20-Point Underdogs in 2018
Not all underdogs are created equal. The ATS win percentage this year for ALL dogs is 48.9%. This is not profitable and puts us in no-man’s land. I checked to see if dogs of 10 points or more were profitable, but they were not. I kept going up by one point until I finally found that underdogs of 19 points or more have been profitable ATS this season (52.9%).
This does not make for a catchy section header, though, so I stuck with 20. Not only is 20 a good, round number but it makes for more profitable dogs. There have been 293 games this season with a spread of 20+. Check out these numbers.
|Record (Win %)||154-133-6 (53.7%)||4-289 (1.4%)|
|Avg Line (Odds)||+25.6 (-110)||(+2000-15000)|
The ATS numbers are very straightforward. It is clear to see that 20-point dogs have been profitable this year and are good bets. The SU numbers are a bit murky because it is tough to nail down average odds for these teams.
The average point spread this season for 20-point dogs has been 25.6 points. The spread to moneyline converter I normally use does not compute that lopsided of a contest so I was left to do some private investigating. To make matters even more difficult, many books refuse to provide moneyline odds for spreads this large.
A few books do, however, so I was able to determine a ballpark range that these teams MAY fall into. A recent 20.5-point dog was given moneyline odds of +2125, making me think that the odds for a straight +20 dog would be about +2000.
A recent 32.5-point dog was given a whopping +17000 moneyline, which made me think that +30 was somewhere around +15000. I gave the range of +2000-15000 because I figured that most of the dogs we were dealing with were in the vicinity of 20-30. Because this is such a broad range, it is tough to determine whether winning 1.4% of these matchups is profitable, or if moneylines even existed for all of these matchups.
30-Point Underdogs in 2018
If we narrow the search to include only underdogs of 30 points or more, the numbers become much more profitable (although these matchups occur less often). Check out this chart, identical to the one above but with the numbers for 30-point dogs.
|Record (Win %)||28-21 (57.1%)||0-49 (0%)|
|Avg Line (Odds)||+35.0 (-110)||(+15000-?)|
These large dogs have killed it ATS this year. At 28-21, the ROI on these outmatched clubs is 9.1%. I had no luck finding good numbers for moneylines on games this lopsided. The site I was using, Oddsshark, did not contain the necessary data.
I can work through this one logically, though. If 30-point dogs are given roughly +15000 odds on the moneyline, and the average line for these dogs is +35, we can expect that the lines are between +30 and +40. If it only takes a winning percentage of 0.67% to break even at +15000, it would take even less to break even at greater odds (like those needed for a +40 line).
49 games with a spread of 30 or more have been played thus far in the 2018 college hoops season. A 30-point has not won SU yet, but even winning 1 out of 100 games would be profitable. They don’t need much.
I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a mega-upset. Since we have data in 2006, the largest dog to win SU was Belmont when they flogged FLGC 89-56 despite being 27.5-point dogs. In the stretch from 2006 to the present, only 4 underdogs of 25+ points have won SU.
While moneylines may not be profitable (or even possible) to bet in many cases, these large dogs are money ATS right now. Get your fill before the books wise up and the tables turn.
Kreighton loves sports, math, writing, and winning — he combines all of them as a writer for WagerBop. His favorite sports to review are MLB, NFL, NBA, NCAAF, and NCAABB.
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