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2022 NCAA March Madness: The biggest upsets in history and how to see them coming

It should go without saying, but the goal of betting on sports is to win money. It doesn’t matter if you are a veteran in the industry or a casual that likes to wager a few bucks here and there, winning money (consistently) is the name of the game. However, there is one wager that just feels sweeter when you win and that would be betting on underdogs. This is our guide to picking March Madness upsets, with a bit of historic inspiration to boot.

The NCAA Tournament is one of the best events to root on underdogs as they tend to cause chaos every year. After all, they call it March Madness for a reason.

Below we go through some of the biggest upsets in March Madness history and then break down what you need to look for in teams who you believe will shock the world.

Biggest upsets in March Madness history

2018 First Round - No.16 UMBC 74-54 No.1 Virginia

There is simply no other game to start this list off with. What UMBC did to Virginia sent shockwaves through the entire sports landscape. It was the first time that a No.16 seed had beaten a No.1 seed and it will likely not happen again for a very long time. To put this game into a bit of perspective, UMBC lost 83-39 to Albany, who finished the season with a record of 13-18. To compound that, Virginia was coming into this contest with just two losses on the season by a combined eight points and were -20.5 favorites in this contest. What proceeded to happen was downright shocking. UMBC took the fight to the Cavaliers early and was simply the better team on the night. Virginia couldn’t weather the storm and UMBC won by 20 points. I can assure you that nobody had this March Madness upset prediction forecasted.

1991 First Round – No.15 Richmond 73-69 No.2 Syracuse

Like the above scenario, this was the first instance of a No.15 seed beating a No.2 seed in the history of the tournament. The game was a rather dull affair with the Spiders jumping out to a lead at halftime and holding on for the victory. They would subsequently be ousted in the second round, but their upset – the first major one in March Madness history – proved that anything was possible in this tournament.

1985 National Championship Game - No 8 Villanova 66-64 No.1 Georgetown

This game was famous for two reasons. The first being that it was the final college basketball game played without a shot clock and the second reason was that Villanova became the lowest seed to win the National Championship – a record which they still hold. It should also be known that the Wildcats lost twice to the Hoyas in the regular season but managed to hit 78.6% of their shots in the Championship to pull off the upset.

How to spot March Madness upsets before they happen

Question: How many upsets on average in March Madness?

Answer: There are around 12.7 upsets per tournament.

With that said, here are a few things that you should look for when trying to predict which underdog will spring first-round upsets at March Madness. The first thing you should look for is a team that limits its turnovers. Look, underdogs are that for a reason. They have less talent than the opponent, so making their possessions count is vital. You cannot trust an underdog that turns the ball over frequently to hang with a good team for 40 minutes. Second, you should look for a favorite that relies heavily on the three-point shot and fade accordingly. The reasoning behind that is that most games are played at neutral venues where the sightlines differ from what teams are used to. If those shots aren’t dropping, they will likely struggle to score points on the inside since that’s not their strength which gives the underdog a fighting chance. And lastly, an underdog that can shut down its opponent is dangerous for obvious reasons. Teams that pressure the ball well and can guard their opponent man-to-man have more success than those that rely on zone defense.

If you can find teams that check the boxes, then you are on the right path to finding the most likely upsets in March Madness. If you require a bit of help, we will be offering up our best upset picks for March Madness each day of the tournament. It should also be noted that some sportsbooks typically offer a March Madness upset bonus which is even more reason to follow along with us to win some money.

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  • Division
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Team Conf W L Pct Home Away Div Ats OU
1 Vermont Vermont 17-1 25 5 .833 14-0 11-5 0-0 16-13-0 17-12-0
2 UMBC UMBC 11-7 16 13 .552 10-4 6-9 0-0 13-15-0 15-13-0
3 Stony Brook Stony Brook 10-8 18 13 .581 13-4 5-9 0-0 12-18-0 19-11-0
4 New Hampshire New Hampshire 10-8 15 12 .556 10-3 5-9 0-0 13-12-0 10-15-0
5 Albany Albany 9-9 13 17 .433 4-9 9-8 0-0 13-15-2 11-19-0
6 Hartford Hartford 9-9 11 19 .367 6-5 5-14 0-0 15-15-0 18-10-2
7 Binghamton Binghamton 8-10 11 16 .407 5-8 6-8 0-0 12-12-1 10-15-0
8 Massachusetts Lowell Massachusetts Lowell 7-11 15 15 .500 9-6 6-9 0-0 14-13-0 11-16-0
9 NJIT NJIT 6-12 11 17 .393 6-8 5-9 0-0 13-14-0 12-15-0
10 Maine Maine 3-15 6 23 .207 5-9 1-14 0-0 12-13-1 16-10-0

Last updated: May 27, 11:46 PM UTC

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