NCAA March Madness betting: The trends you need to know for Saturday's Sweet 16 games

Sam Cooper
·9 min read

After a few days without NCAA tournament action, it’s time to dive into this weekend’s Sweet 16 matchups.

The tournament has been filled with upsets thus far, and we could see a few more this weekend. If you’re betting on a tournament this unpredictable, you're better off having the most information possible.

Before putting down your hard-earned money, read up on some trends to keep in mind. We’ll start with Saturday’s games.

(All times ET, odds from BetMGM)

No. 12 Oregon State vs. No. 8 Loyola Chicago

Region: Midwest | TV: CBS | Time: 2:40 p.m. | Line: Loyola -6.5 | Total: 125.5

Oregon State (19-12)

Record ATS: 21-9-1

Over/under: 19-12

  • Oregon State has been one of the best ATS teams in the country this season. Including its two NCAA tournament upsets over Tennessee and Oklahoma State, OSU has covered the spread in 12 of its last 13 games. The Beavers were underdogs in all but one of those 13 games.

  • Oregon State is 15-5 ATS as an underdog this season.

  • This is Oregon State’s second NCAA tournament appearance under Wayne Tinkle. The Beavers failed to cover the spread in their lone tournament game in 2016, but are 2-0 ATS so far this year. OSU was an 8.5-point underdog in the first round against Tennessee and a six-point underdog in the second round against Oklahoma State. OSU won both games outright.

  • Seven of OSU’s last eight games have gone over the total. The lone game to go under the total during that span was the Round 1 game vs. Tennessee. In games this season when OSU is an underdog, the over is 13-7.

Loyola Chicago (26-4)

Record ATS: 18-9-1

Over/under: 13-15

  • After a 1-6 ATS stretch during the month of February, Loyola has covered the spread in its last five games. That includes both of its NCAA tournament games. The Ramblers covered as five-point favorites in the first round against Georgia Tech and as seven-point underdogs in the second round against No. 1 seed Illinois.

  • Loyola is 17-8-1 against the spread as a favorite this season.

  • Under Porter Moser, Loyola is 6-1 straight-up and 6-1 ATS in NCAA tournament play. The only time the Ramblers did not cover the spread was against Michigan in the 2018 Final Four. Loyola was an underdog in six of those seven games. Before this upcoming game against Oregon State, Loyola’s only NCAA tournament game as a favorite was in Round 1 vs. Georgia Tech. 

  • In Loyola’s seven NCAA tournament games under Moser, the under is 5-2. The first-round game against Georgia Tech went over the total. The Illinois game went under the total.

No. 5 Villanova vs. No. 1 Baylor

Region: South | TV: CBS | Time: 5:15 p.m. | Line: Baylor -7.5 | Total: 140.5

Villanova (18-6)

Record ATS: 13-10-1

Over/under: 13-11

  • Villanova is 17-5 against the spread in its last 22 NCAA tournament games, but it hasn’t been an underdog in quite some time. The Wildcats have been the favorite in all 24 games they have played this season. The last time Villanova was an underdog was a Big East regular season game at Seton Hall last March. The Wildcats were +3.5 in that one and won outright, 79-77.

  • In NCAA tournament play under Jay Wright (dating back to 2005), Villanova is 6-5 straight-up and 7-4 against the spread as an underdog. Two of the wins during the 2016 national title run — against Kansas in the Elite Eight and North Carolina in the title game — came as underdogs.

  • The last time Villanova was an NCAA tournament underdog was in the Round of 32 against Purdue in 2019. The Wildcats, a No. 6 seed, were 3.5-point underdogs and lost 87-61.

  • Villanova is 4-2 ATS in Sweet 16 games under Wright, including a 2-1 ATS mark as an underdog. Villanova hasn’t been an underdog in the Sweet 16 since 2009.

  • In Villanova’s 11 NCAA tournament games as an underdog under Wright, the under is 6-5. Three of the last four have gone over the total. In Villanova’s six Sweet 16 under Wright, the under is 4-2. The under is 3-0 when Villanova has been a Sweet 16 underdog.

Villanova head coach Jay Wright greets his players as they are taken out during the second half of a second-round game against North Texas in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Sunday, March 21, 2021, in Indianapolis. Villanova won 84-61. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Villanova head coach Jay Wright greets his players as they are taken out during the second half of a second-round game against North Texas in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Sunday, March 21, 2021, in Indianapolis. Villanova won 84-61. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Baylor (24-2)

Record ATS: 16-10

Over/under: 16-10

  • Baylor is 4-6 ATS in its last 10 games and had covered the spread in just one of its previous five games before covering the 6.5-point spread in a 76-63 win over Wisconsin in the Round of 32.

  • Like Villanova, Baylor has not been an underdog a single time this season. The last time Baylor was an underdog was in a Big 12 regular season game against West Virginia last March.

  • Under Scott Drew, Baylor is 13-8 straight-up and 10-11 ATS in NCAA tournament play. As a favorite in NCAA tournament play, Baylor is 11-3 straight-up and 7-7 ATS.

  • The over was 4-8 in Baylor’s first 12 games of the 2020-21 season. Since then, the over has gone 12-2 in Baylor’s last 14. In Baylor’s Big 12 games, the over was 11-5.

  • In Baylor’s 21 NCAA tournament games under Scott Drew, the over is 13-8. In NCAA tournament games where Baylor was the favorite, the over is 8-6.

  • Under Scott Drew, Baylor is 2-2 straight-up and 1-3 ATS in the Sweet 16. The under is 3-1 in those four games.

No. 15 Oral Roberts vs. No. 3 Arkansas

Region: South | TV: TBS | Time: 7:25 p.m. | Line: Arkansas -11 | Total: 159

Oral Roberts (18-10)

Record ATS: 16-9

Over/under: 17-8

  • ORU has covered the spread in six consecutive games and in nine of its last 11 games.

  • As an underdog this season, ORU is 6-8 straight-up and 11-3 against the spread. As a double-digit underdog, ORU is 5-1 ATS this season.

  • In six games against Power Five conference opponents, ORU is 5-1 ATS. That includes a game against Arkansas back in December. Arkansas was favored by 19.5 and won 87-76.

  • In ORU’s 14 games as an underdog this season, the over is 11-3. When ORU is a double-digit underdog, the over is 4-2. Against Power Five opponents, the over is 4-2.

Arkansas (24-6)

Record ATS: 19-9-1

Over/under: 14-14-1

  • Arkansas is 14-2 straight-up in its last 16 games and is 12-4 against the spread over that span. Arkansas was a perfect 6-0 ATS during the month of February, and has since covered the spread in four of its six games in the month of March, including its two NCAA tournament games.

  • This is Arkansas’ first NCAA tournament appearance under Eric Musselman. Before this season, Arkansas was 3-7 ATS in its previous 10 NCAA tournament games (dating back to 2001).

  • As a favorite, Arkansas is 15-6-1 ATS this season. As a double-digit favorite, Arkansas is 4-3 ATS this season — including the time it failed to cover -19.5 against ORU back in December.

  • The under is 7-3 in Arkansas’ last 10 games, including the team’s previous four games. In games where Arkansas is the favorite this season, the under is 12-9-1. But when Arkansas has been a double-digit favorite, the over is 5-2.

Arkansas forward Vance Jackson (2) and Arkansas guard Moses Moody (5) celebrate after a 68-66 win over Texas Tech in a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Arkansas forward Vance Jackson (2) and Arkansas guard Moses Moody (5) celebrate after a 68-66 win over Texas Tech in a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

No. 11 Syracuse vs. No. 2 Houston

Region: Midwest | TV: TBS | Time: 5:15 p.m. | Line: Houston -6 | Total: 140

Syracuse (18-9)

Record ATS: 14-13

Over/under: 14-13

  • Entering Saturday’s game vs. Houston, Syracuse has covered the spread in six consecutive games. As an underdog, Syracuse is 5-6 ATS this season. However, Cuse is 4-0 ATS in its last four games as an underdog, including its NCAA tournament wins over San Diego State (+3) and West Virginia (+4).

  • In its last 20 NCAA tournament games (dating back to 2012), Syracuse is 14-6 against the spread.

  • Syracuse has covered in six straight NCAA tournament games as an underdog and is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 as an underdog in tournament games. Dating back to 1996, Syracuse is 17-7-1 ATS as an underdog in NCAA tournament play.

  • Syracuse has covered the spread in its last three Sweet 16 games — all three as an underdog. In Syracuse’s previous six Sweet 16 games (dating back to 2000), it was 0-6 ATS.

  • In Syracuse’s 11 games as an underdog this season, the over is 8-3. In Syracuse’s last 10 NCAA tournament games as an underdog, the over is 4-6.

Houston (26-3)

Record ATS: 19-9

Over/under: 14-14

  • Houston is 19-9 ATS on the season and 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games. UH has been the favorite in all but one of its games this season. UH is 18-9 ATS as a favorite. As a single-digit favorite, Houston is 4-4 ATS this season. UH failed to cover as 7.5-point favorites against Rutgers in the second round.

  • Under Kelvin Sampson, Houston is 4-3 against the spread in the NCAA tournament, including a 3-2 ATS mark as the favorite. UH lost its only Sweet 16 game under Sampson, dropping a 62-58 game to Kentucky in 2019. UH was a two-point underdog in that game and failed to cover the spread.

  • Houston’s games have trended toward the over in during the second half of the season, going 11-6 over UH’s last 17 games. UH’s first-round game against Cleveland State went over, but the game against Rutgers went under.

  • In UH’s seven NCAA tournament games under Sampson, the under is 5-2.

More from Yahoo Sports: