Ohio Bettors Favoring Alabama For Title; Xavier A Popular First-Round Bet

Written By Brian Cross on March 17, 2023 - Last Updated on March 23, 2023
Ohio NCAA Tournament March Madness Betting Alabama Xavier

The NCAA Tournament is underway, and thousands of brackets are already busted after 15-seed Princeton ousted 2-seed Arizona and 13-seed Furman upset 4-seed Virginia.

Most Ohio bettors survived Day 1 unscathed, at least when it comes to their national champion picks. According to Bet365 Sportsbook, Ohioans are the heaviest on Alabama to win it all, followed by Houston, Kansas and Purdue, with the Crimson Tide taking the most action.

With Ohio sports betting up and running in time for March Madness, the first two rounds of the tournament will see heavy betting action in Ohio.

Ohioans largely choosing 1-seeds for title

Upsets happen, but Ohio bettors aren’t banking on any long-shots this time around. The top four picks are all 1-seeds. And 1-seeded teams have won the championship five years in a row.

The most recent team below a 1-seed to take the title was 2-seed Villanova in 2016. Prior to that, 7-seed Connecticut were the champs in 2014. There was no tournament in 2020.

In Bet365 Sportsbook‘s Mega March Bracket Challenge, 25.9% of Ohio bettors predicted Alabama to win it all. Nearly 13% of Ohio bettors put their money on one of the University of Cincinnati’s conference rivals, Houston.

Arizona was the first 2-seed team to get knocked out, but three other 2-seeds remain. Certainly we can’t count them out just yet.

Former UC Bearcats head coach Mick Cronin and the UCLA Bruins won’t be an easy beat for any team in the tournament. They left 15-seed UNC Asheville in their wake on Thursday, throttling them 86-53 and will face 7-seed Northwestern on Saturday.

Texas dominated Colgate on Thursday, 81-61, and is a heavy favorite against Penn State in the second round match up on Saturday.

Marquette plays 15-seed Vermont Friday at 2:45 p.m., and the line at BetMGM Sportsbook has the Golden Eagles as a 10.5-point favorite.

Xavier a popular bet in first-round matchup vs. Kennesaw St.

According to figures from BetMGM, Xavier opened as 12.5-point favorites as a 3-seed against 14-seed Kennesaw State, and the line has not changed. The majority of bettors at BetMGM are taking Kennesaw State (55%), but more money (56%) is on Xavier.

Xavier’s return to the NCAA tournament this year was highly anticipated after the team missed out for four years under head coach Travis Steele.

Previous head coach Sean Miller — who led the team to four tournaments in five years — returned to Xavier this season. Miller previously coached Xavier from 2004 to 2009, leading the team to the Elite Eight in 2008 and the Sweet Sixteen in 2009.

In the remaining First Round games, BetMGM reports that the teams with the most money riding on them are Michigan State (-1.5), Drake (+1.5) and Xavier (-12.5).

The most-bet unders at BetMGM (for total game points) are:

  • Kennesaw State vs Xavier: 153.5
  • UC Santa Barbara vs Baylor: 141.5
  • Iona vs Connecticut: 141.5
Photo by AP / Sam Craft
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Brian Cross

Brian Cross contributes sports betting, casino and lottery coverage to PlayOhio and PlayPennsylvania. Brian studied Professional Writing and Journalism at the University of Cincinnati and has been a contributing writer at Cincinnati’s alt-weekly for over 10 years.

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