Furman, Kent State and popular NCAA Tournament underdogs

A pair of No. 13 seeds are among the underdogs drawing heavy action at sportsbooks ahead of the NCAA Tournament Round of 64 on Thursday.

Furman, the No. 13 seed in the South region with a first-round matchup with No. 4 seed Virgina, is first the most heavily bet team against the spread at BetMGM, leading in total handle and tickets.

Furman (+5.5) faces Virginia on Thursday afternoon. The public sees Virginia as an upset candidate due to analytics that pick at the Cavaliers’ slower pace of play and late-February losses to Boston College and North Carolina, two non-tournament teams.

The Paladins won the Southern Conference championship and enter March Madness having won 14 of their past 15 games. They raked in 73 percent of the total bets and 82 percent of the handle in their matchup with Virginia, according to BetMGM numbers.

It was a similar story at BetRivers, where Furman had drawn 78 percent of the money against the spread as of Tuesday.

Kent State, the No. 13 seed in the Midwest, is piquing the public’s interest in a matchup with No. 4 seed Indiana.

Kent State’s line opened at +6.5 at BetMGM before quickly moving to +4.5, as the Golden Flashes had amassed 72 percent of the tickets and 81 percent of the handle by Tuesday. BetRivers reported Kent State earning 58 percent of the tickets and 77 percent of the handle ATS, and DraftKings Sportsbook noted that 37 percent of the bets and 47 percent of the money had been placed on Kent State to pull off the upset in money line betting.

The Golden Flashes won the MAC title with a 93-78 thrashing of top-seeded Toledo and finished the season 28-6. On Friday night they’ll get a crack at Indiana, a strong team that nevertheless experienced an up-and-down season with a few blowout losses in Big Ten action.

BetRivers also noted Tuesday that No. 14 seed Kennesaw State (+11) was the most wagered-upon first-round play in terms of total handle. Kennesaw State is set to face No. 3 seed Xavier in the Midwest region Friday, and with the Musketeers allowing 74.1 points per game this season, the public bet nearly 87 percent of the money on the Owls to keep it within 11 points in their first NCAA Tournament appearance all-time.

–Field Level Media