One of the most popular upset picks every first-round of an NCAA Tournament is a No. 12 seed beating a No. 5. In 31 of the last 36 NCAA Tournaments, the 12 seed has won at least one first-round game. Caesars Sportsbook oddsmakers expect at least one again with at least one No. 12 winning a first-round game priced -280 and no at +230.
Since 1985, the No. 12 seed is 51-93 vs. the No. 5, a winning percentage of 35.4. The only five seasons where a No. 12 didn't win at least one game were (obviously not including the canceled 2020 Big Dance): 1988, 2000, 2007, 2015 and 2018.
As recently as 2019, three No. 12 seeds won – all four never have. Last year, the lone 12 seed to win was Oregon State over Tennessee 70-56. The Beavers would get all the way to the Elite Eight.
Here are the four 12 vs. 5 games with game odds
- No. 12 Richmond vs. No. 5 Iowa (-10.5), Thursday, 3:10 p.m. ET
- No. 12 New Mexico State vs. No. 5 UConn (-6.5), Thursday, 6:50 p.m. ET
- No. 12 Indiana vs. No. 5 Saint Mary's (-2.5), Thursday, 7:20 p.m. ET
- No. 12 UAB vs. No. 5 Houston (-8), Friday, 9:20 p.m. ET
In terms of covering the spread, the No. 12 seed has done so 53.9 percent of the time in these matchups. There is also a prop on how many 12 seeds win overall: One is the +100 favorite with none next at +230 and all four a +7500 long shot.
That a No. 13 seed beats a No. 4 in the first round is -240 with no at -200 – those odds surprise me. Thirty-one 13 seeds have upset 4 seeds since the field expanded in 1985 (21.5 percent) for an all-time record of 31-113. There were two such upsets in 2021: Ohio over Virginia and North Texas over Purdue. The No. 13 seed has covered the spread in 47.9 percent of games.
That a No. 14 seed beats a No. 5 in Round 1 is +180 with no at -220. Twenty-two 14 seeds have upset 3 seeds since 1985, giving them a 22-122 record all-time (15.3 percent). Fourteen seeds do cover 49.7 percent of the time. There was a No. 14 over a No. 3 last year: Abilene Christian knocking out Texas. Only two 14 seeds have ever advanced past the second round: 1986 Cleveland State and 1997 Chattanooga.
For some reason, Caesars doesn't have odds on a 15 vs. 2 matchup yet. That a No. 16 seed wins a first-round game for the second time ever is +1000 with no at -2000. The 16 seeds cover 47.9 percent of the time.
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