The Duke Blue Devils were arguably the hottest team in the country coming into the matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday afternoon. Unsurprisingly, the March Madness betting trends on Saturday showed public bettors were fully backing the Blue Devils, and the sportsbooks were able to benefit when the Volunteers pulled off the upset to advance to the Sweet 16.
March Madness Betting: Bettors Lose Big on Duke Loss
Per BetMGM, Duke closed as a 3.5-point favorite against Tennessee. According to sportsbook data analyst John Ewing, 81% of bets were on Duke to cover the spread. The report would go on to claim Duke was the biggest liability of the day for sportsbooks.
Tennessee entered the Round of 32 struggling, losing three of its last five before the SEC Conference Tournament. They would lose in the second round of that tournament to the Missouri Tigers, and nearly got upset by Louisiana-Lafayete in the first round. There is also the narrative surrounding head coach Rick Barnes and the NCAA Tournament.
Barnes has been one of the most accomplished coaches in NCAA history but has not fared so well in “The Big Dance”. He came into the Duke matchup going 19-33 against the spread in the NCAA Tournament, including 2-14 ATS in his last 16 tournament games. Barnes is 25-26 overall in the NCAA Tournament.
Before the matchup, Barnes pointed to rebounding as a potential difference-maker.
“They run really good offense. They space the floor well and I think they know where their shots are coming from, so they are ready to go get it. That will be a big part of tomorrow’s game, but it’s a big part of every game. As we watch film with our players, that was one of the big emphasis. We know that they’re going to come to the glass and they know we’re going to come to the glass, so I expect that to be a big part of the game,” Barnes said to Yahoo Sports.
Not only did Tennessee get a huge monkey off their head coach’s back with the strong defensive performance, but they also built up all the confidence that may have been lost during their tough stretch to finish the season. Now, the Volunteers look will head to the Sweet 16 a dangerous group who could certainly make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
Unfortunately, the March Madness betting report shows the vast majority of public bettors out there lost with the Tennesee triumph.
Be sure to use OddsShopper tools to get the best value for the remainder of the NCAA Tournament!