March Madness betting: Saint Peter's upset over Kentucky ranks top five in history

March Madness isn't even a day old and a lot of people are already crumbling up and throwing away their brackets.

The day's first upset saw Richmond knock out Iowa. Later on, UConn was eliminated by New Mexico State. Just a few moments later, we witnessed one of the largest upsets in NCAA tournament history.

Kentucky goes down against Saint Peter's

Kentucky was a popular pick amongst brackets this year. Over 98% of Yahoo brackets had the Wildcats beating Saint Peter's in the first round. Almost 89% of brackets had them in the Sweet 16, nearly 60% had them making the Elite Eight and over 38% had the Wildcats in the Final Four. Over 12% of brackets had Kentucky playing in the national championship game and over 6% had them winning it all.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 17: Doug Edert #25 of the St. Peter's Peacocks and his teammates celebrate after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on March 17, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. St. Peter's Peacocks won in overtime, 85-79. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Saint Peter's showed us what March is all about. (Jamie Sabau/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

The betting market was similarly high on Kentucky. The Wildcats were 18-point favorites over Saint Peter's. Rather than making life easy for their backers, they lost the game outright by a score of 85-79 in overtime.

Saint Peter's was hanging with Kentucky all night long and it became obvious that the Wildcats wouldn't be able to shake them. It was going to come down to the Wildcats escaping with a win. They had a chance to do that with the last possession of regulation, but couldn't get the job done. In overtime, Saint Peter's went on a run and knocked Kentucky out of the tournament.

It's the fifth-largest upset in NCAA tournament history, according to The Action Network database.

  1. In 2012, No. 15 Norfolk State beat No. 2 Missouri as a 21-point underdog.

  2. In 2018, No. 16 UMBC beat No. 1 Virginia as a 20.5-point underdog. UMBC won the game by 20 points. This is still the only time in history that a No. 1 seed lost in the first round.

  3. In 1997, No. 15 Coppin State beat No. 2 South Carolina as an 18.5-point underdog.

  4. In 1993, No. 15 Santa Clara beat No. 2 Arizona as an 18.5-point underdog.

  5. In 2022, No. 15 Saint Peter's beat No. 2 Kentucky in overtime. as an 18-point underdog

Further down the list, you'll see other memorable recent upsets such as Middle Tennessee over Michigan State in 2016 (16.5 points) and Oral Roberts over Ohio State last year (15 points).

Kentucky was a popular bet

At BetMGM, Kentucky was the most popular bet of any team to make the Sweet 16 based on money wagered. Kentucky was -250 to survive the first two rounds of the tournament.

Prior to tip-off, over 65% of bets were backing Kentucky to cover the 18-point spread. Kentucky was -5000 on the moneyline while Saint Peter's was +1400 to win outright.

On Wednesday, a six-figure bet came in on Kentucky to win the national championship. The bet would have paid $800,000 if it won, but that dream has been shattered.

Heading into the tournament, Kentucky received the third-highest amount of money of any team. They were the third-biggest liability for BetMGM.