NCAA March Madness betting roundup: Alabama's buzzer-beating 3 set up a brutal bad beat for under bets

Frank Schwab
·4 min read

Sometimes in sports betting you'll hear the term "right-side loser." It's often overused, but it's a bet in which you clearly made the correct play and somehow don't win it.

If you had the under in Alabama-UCLA, you can complain all week about your right-side loser.

The over/under for the game was 144.5 at BetMGM. It was a good, close game but not a high-scoring one. The score in the final seconds of regulation was UCLA 65, Alabama 62. It wasn't going to touch the total ...

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Uh oh. And even after that crazy buzzer-beating 3, 15 points in a five-minute overtime isn't guaranteed. Then UCLA scored 23 points itself in OT. An over bet that was winning by 17.5 points when Alex Reese pulled up from beyond NBA range somehow lost by 21.5 points.

Any basketball bet can be brutally changed in overtime. An underdog that was covering all game can get swarmed in the extra period and lose by more than the spread. An under that looked great the entire night can suddenly be a loser. If you've bet basketball long enough, you've been on the wrong side of plenty of overtime losses (you also likely don't remember the times you got lucky in overtime; that's just a bettor's mindset).

Even if you've been through it before, that UCLA-Alabama under loss will take a while to get over.

Alex Reese's 3 was a great moment for college basketball fans, and not a great moment for under bettors. (Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Alex Reese's 3 was a great moment for college basketball fans, and not a great moment for under bettors. (Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Favorites start to rebound

The first two rounds of the NCAA men's tournament were rough for favorites. Through the first weekend of the tournament, including the First Four, favorites were 13-22. That led to a horrible first weekend for bettors, who generally prefer betting favorites.

In the Sweet 16, it got a little better for chalk. Favorites were 5-3. A 18-25 record isn't great, but it could be worse.

That record included a 3-1 day on Sunday. The only favorite to lose was Alabama, and none of the other three favorites was even a sweat. Gonzaga cruised to an easy win and covered another huge number, Michigan pounded Florida State and USC blew out Oregon. Perhaps that's the start of a new trend for the final seven games of the tournament.

Unders keep cashing

While underdogs couldn't keep the hot streak going, unders did. Bettors who prefer going under the total continued to cash winning tickets.

The under was the winning side in all four games Saturday. On Sunday, the first two games went under, Alabama-UCLA was a debacle for under bettors and then USC-Oregon cruised by the over. It was a 6-2 weekend for under bettors (with one ridiculous loss), who are 28-15 through the Sweet 16. That's a fantastic run. Unless you like high-scoring games, that is.

No close Elite Eight games?

It's rare to get to this point in the tournament and not see one Elite Eight game projected to be a close one.

All four Elite Eight games have a spread of at least 7.5 points at BetMGM. The lowest spread is Michigan -7.5 over UCLA. The highest spread is Gonzaga at -9 over USC. This is the fourth straight round in which Gonzaga has had the highest spread. Both games on Monday, Oregon State-Houston and Arkansas-Baylor, are -8 at BetMGM.

While the four favorites have all played quite well this tournament, maybe this is the round to back some underdogs. You'll be getting plenty of points for an Elite Eight game.

Oregon State's great run continues

One of the great betting streaks going continued on Saturday. Oregon State beat Loyola Chicago outright. Since Jan. 16, Oregon State is 18-3-1 against the spread. If you have found any other betting trend hitting at 85.7 percent, you should be in outstanding shape.

The Beavers made the Elite Eight with three straight-up wins as an underdog. Houston looks like the better team in the Elite Eight matchup, but it's hard to bet against the Beavers.

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