History Provides Few Hints at Wildcats Arizona Sports Betting Fate in Sweet 16

History Provides Few Hints at Wildcats Arizona Sports Betting Fate in Sweet 16
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The Arizona Wildcats make their first trek to the Sweet 16 in five years Thursday night, representing the 18th trip to the men's NCAA Basketball Tournament’s second weekend since the event expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

The game between the top-seeded Wildcats and No. 5-seeded Houston in the South Region also represents the first chance to wager on the Sweet 16 since sports betting in Arizona launched.

Arizona has gone 14-13 against the spread in their 17 trips to the tournament’s second weekend dating back to 1988, representing the perils of betting on teams during March Madness.

The Wildcats and Cougars tip off from San Antonio at about 6:59 p.m. local time Thursday on TBS.

Here’s a breakdown of how the Wildcats have fared against the spread in their last 17 trips to the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.

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Arizona Sweet 16 and Elite Eight History ATS

(17 trips to Sweet 16 between 1988 and 2017)
🏀 2017Xavier (L, 73-71)UA -7.5
🏀 2015Xavier (W, 68-60)UA -11.5
🏀 2015Wisconsin (L, 85-78)UA -1.5
🏀 2014San Diego St. (W, 70-64)UA -7.5
🏀 2014Wisconsin (L, 64-63)UA -3.0
🏀 2013Ohio State (L, 73-70)UA +3.5
🏀 2011Duke (W, 93-77)UA +8.5
🏀 2011UConn (L, 65-63)UA +3.0
🏀 2009Louisville (L, 103-64)UA +9.0
🏀 2005Okla. State (W, 79-78)UA +1.0
🏀 2005Illinois (L, 90-89)UA +5.0
🏀 2003Notre Dame (W, 88-71)UA -8.0
🏀 2003Kansas (L, 78-75)UA -2.5
🏀 2002Oklahoma (L, 88-67)UA +3.0
🏀 2001Ole Miss (W, 66-56)UA -12.0
🏀 2001Illinois (W, 87-81)Pick'em
🏀 1998Maryland (W, 87-79)UA -8.5
🏀 1998Utah (L, 76-51)UA -10.5
🏀 1997Kansas (W, 85-82)UA +10.5
🏀 1997Providence (W, 96-92)UA -3.0
🏀 1996Kansas (L, 83-80)UA +5.0
🏀 1994Louisville (W, 82-70)UA -3.0
🏀 1994Missouri (W, 92-72)UA -4.5
🏀 1991Seton Hall (L, 81-77)UA -3.5
🏀 1989UNLV (L, 68-67)UA -3.5
🏀 1988Iowa (W, 99-79)UA -7.5
🏀 1988UNC (W, 70-52)UA -5.5

TOTAL: 14-13 ATS in last 17 trips to second weekend of NCAA Tournament.

TRENDS: Arizona 0-5 ATS in last three trips to second weekend.

Wildcats Struggled to Cover in Recent Appearances

One college basketball betting trend that emerges when you ponder the Wildcats’ previous trips to the Sweet 16 is how hard of a time they’ve had covering the spread.

Arizona has failed to cover in each of its last five Sweet 16 or Elite Eight contests, with their 73-71 loss to Xavier in the 2017 Sweet 16 being the most recent example.

The Wildcats also failed to cover in either of their second weekend contests in 2014 and 2015, despite beating San Diego State (70-64) and Xavier (68-60).

Arizona’s luck ran out in the Elite Eight against Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin Badgers teams in both years, with the Wildcats losing 64-63 in 2014, and 85-78 in 2015.

The last time Arizona covered the spread in the second weekend of March Madness was in 2013, when they lost to Ohio State by three points (73-70) as a 3.5-point underdog.

In 2011, the Wildcats made an unexpected run to the Elite Eight under then-second-year coach Sean Miller, thumping Duke (93-77) before falling to eventual champs UConn (65-63).

That year, Arizona managed to cover both of their second weekend contests, as the Blue Devils were favored by 8.5 in the Sweet 16, while the Huskies were -3 in the Elite Eight.

The Wildcats also went 2-0 against the spread during the second weekend of the tournament in 2005, 1997, 1994 and 1988.

Arizona went 0-2 against the spread in 2014 and 1998, in addition to going 0-1 ATS in 2009, 2002, 1991, and 1989.

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Arizona’s Odds Vs. Houston

Arizona sports betting apps pin the spread at -1.5 in favor of the Wildcats on Thursday, giving Arizona another shot at covering as the favorite.

BetMGM Arizona gives Arizona a -125 moneyline and an over/under of 145.5 total points.

Caesars Sportsbook has Arizona at +140 to win the South Region. The Wildcats’ last trip to the Final Four came in 2001, while Kelvin Sampson’s Cougars made it there a year ago. Houston is +240 to return this year.

One thing we can glean from the Wildcats’ past 17 trips to the tournament’s second weekend is the odds are a crapshoot from this point forward.



Christopher Boan is the lead writer at BetArizona.com after covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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