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Breaking down public betting splits for First Round NCAA Tournament matchups

We take a look at where bettors are placing their money for First Round matchups.

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NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Quarterfinals - Indiana vs Maryland Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The tip-off to the 2023 NCAA Tournament is just one day away, and the public is racing to get their brackets ready and their bets placed. Let’s take a look at where people are placing their dollars and wagers for the first round of March Madness.

These splits are accurate as of Wednesday morning and will likely shift as we move closer to Thursday and Friday tip-times.

Big Ten: under, under, under

The Big Ten inspires under bettors not just in football, but in basketball too. No. 9 West Virginia vs. No. 8 Maryland sees 51% of bets and 88% of the handle on the under, No. 8 Arkansas vs. No. 9 Illinois prompted 60% of bets and 91% of the handle on the under, No. 7 Northwestern vs. No. 10 Boise State has 42% of bets and 88% of dollars wagered on the under, and No. 4 Indiana vs. No. 13 Kent State sees 45% of slips and 90% of the handle on the under.

Even in splits where the actual wagers don’t reach 50% on the under, people are putting their money where their mouth is on Big Ten unders.

12s, 13s to cover the spread

Some of the best games to watch each year are the 5-12 and 4-13 matchups. The public is leaning on the lower seeds to cover the spreads this year, whether that looks like No. 13 Furman coming within 5.5 points of No. 4 Virginia (52% of bets, 66% of the handle) or No. 14 Kennesaw State staying within 11.5 points of No. 3 Xavier (49% of bets, 74% of the handle).

No. 12 Charleston has the betting public behind its +5.5 line against No. 5 San Diego State with 64% of the handle and 60% of bets. No. 12 VCU has 74% of both the bets and handle on its +4 line against Saint Mary’s, and sees 81% of the money for a straight-up win. Interestingly, No. 12 Oral Roberts vs. No. 5 Duke is one of the only exceptions to this rule — the Blue Devils have over half of both the wagers and dollars on their -6.5 line.