Nearly the entire country will be focusing on picking a perfect bracket this week. It’s reported that 40 millions Americans participate in March Madness by entering some kind of tournament bracket contest.

However, some people like to put down some action on the games. The NCAA Tournament brings a lot of gamblers to the window and they bet a reported $10.4 billion. So, I thought I’d turn the spotlight to seeds and how they have played out against the spread over the last 11 NCAA tourneys.

NCAA Tournament ATS Results by Seed Ranking & Round

I’ve provided all of the records for each round, plus some extra insight on how each seed has done ATS overall. If you want just straight up winners, check out our seed history to see how often teams advance in each spot.

1st Round

SeedWinsLossesPushesWin %
13029150.85%
22730347.37%
33327055.00%
43029150.85%
52533243.10%
62534142.37%
73326155.93%
82829349.12%
92928350.88%
102633144.07%
113425157.63%
123325256.90%
132930149.15%
142733045.00%
153027352.63%
162930149.15%

Not much to pick and choose from here, but you can see a couple patterns develop. One seeds are a toss up against the sixteens. Two seeds don’t tend to do very well against fifteens, but the threes have pretty consistently covered the spread against fourteens.

A lot of attention is drawn to twelve seeds upsetting the fives. It turns out they don’t just bust brackets, they cash tickets too. Eleven seeds actually have the best ATS record of any other seed historically speaking. There aren’t enough games in our sample size to be blindly betting 12s and 11s, but it is a good place to start looking for value in the first round.

Round of 32

SeedWinsLossesPushesWin %
12723154.00%
22026243.48%
32320153.49%
42220052.38%
51417045.16%
61313150.00%
71814156.25%
81415048.28%
9912142.86%
10117161.11%
111411056.00%
12129057.14%
1346040.00%
1417012.50%
1513025.00%

Two seeds continue to struggle in round two. Maybe there is some sort of hangover about not being a one seed?

If a 13 or higher seeds makes it to the second round, they are toxic to your bankroll. None of them are profitable and are a combined 6-16 at the pay window. Avoid these teams against the spread – most are happy just to have gotten out of the first round.

Sweet 16

RecordWinsLossesPushesWin %
12625150.98%
21818250.00%
31619145.71%
41315246.43%
5109052.63%
674163.64%
758138.46%
821166.67%
931175.00%
1034042.86%
1174163.64%
1235037.50%
1312033.33%
15100100.00%

Not a lot to get excited about here. A few of the mid-tier seeds have been profitable, but the sample sizes are so low there isn’t a lot to be gained from this information.

Elite 8

SeedWinsLossesPushesWin %
11723142.50%
21115142.31%
3611135.29%
454055.56%
5500100.00%
612033.33%
741080.00%
8200100.00%
911150.00%
10200100.00%
1141080.00%

If you are considering backing a No. 1 seed on the spread in the Elite Eight against the spread, you might want to reconsider. The 1s have gone a miserable 17-23 (42.5%) against the number in this round. It looks like most of those have come against the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds, who are combined 10-4 in this round.

Final 4

SeedWinsLossesPushesWin %
11211052.17%
246140.00%
351083.33%
424033.33%
522050.00%
721066.67%
8101100.00%
9100100.00%
100100.00%
110300.00%

Not a ton of data here outside of the No. 1 seeds. After a poor showing in the Elite 8, they have gone slightly over 50% at this point in the tournament.

Championship

SeedWinsLossesPushesWin %
1107058.82%
213025.00%
322050.00%
40100.00%
5100100.00%
7100100.00%
80200.00%

No. 1 seeds make it to the Championship game way more often than any other seed, so they are the only group that even has enough data to be considered a ‘trend’ here. It’s also worth noting that a lot of these games feature two number one seeds, so the results here aren’t really that compelling.

Overall

SeedWinsLossesPushesWin %
1126122450.81%
285102945.45%
38984351.45%
47476349.33%
56162249.59%
64856346.15%
76652355.93%
84748549.47%
94646550.00%
104447248.35%
117256256.25%
125343255.21%
133542145.45%
142941041.43%
153230351.61%
165555350.00%

Would I blindly use this information to try and beat the tournament spreads? Probably not. But, it does give you something to look at. Two seeds tend to be overvalued. People think the 7/10 matchup is a toss up, but in reality it looks like the better teams usually come through.

If you like this kind of statistical analysis you might also enjoy our ATS records for each point spread.