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NCAA Tournament Sports Betting Tips

February 10, 2014

It’s almost that time again! You can smell March Madness in the air. Conference tournaments are right around the corner and then of course “The Big Dance”!

Every year, March Madness generates millions of dollars of revenue just in Las Vegas sportsbooks. As a whole, the sportsbooks win…big. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a piece of the action. A savvy sports bettor makes smart bets on the NCAA Tournament. They don’t randomly pick winners based on the coolest mascots like you find in an office tournament pool. Want to be a big winner this March? Check out these advanced March Madness betting tips:

Look for the best moneyline odds on underdogs

As you know, upsets are prevalent in the NCAA Tournament, especially on the first weekend. Many of these upsets really aren’t as big of a surprise to savvy sports bettors, but they are to the general public. When an 11-seed, for example, knocks off a 6-seed, in many cases it’s not a major upset. But because an 11-seed is considered by the general public to be superior, the smart money is to bet the moneyline on the 11-seed.

That doesn’t mean you should bet every 11, 12 or 13 seed in the first round. What you should look for are the 11, 12, and 13 seeds that meet the following criteria:

  • Bubble 11, 12 or 13 seed from a major conference against a Mid-major 4, 5, or 6 seed that had a record padded by a very weak overall schedule. If the major conference team is +280 or worse, bet the moneyline on the major conference team in most cases.
  • Any 10-12 seed facing a 5-7 seed that is “limping” into the tournament. Teams entering the tournament banged up with injuries or just plain playing mediocre basketball the previous couple of weeks are excellent teams to bet against with a favorable moneyline.

Most upsets occur the first weekend of the tournament. And the most favorable moneylines are posted during the first round. Once the tournament reaches the Sweet 16 and beyond, the teams involved are almost all legit so you won’t find many moneylines of +300 or higher.

Bet against slow-starting favorites on first half lines

One of the best NCAA Tournament bets is to pounce on slow-starting teams by wagering on the underdog in the first half. Even if you’re certain the favorite will cover the game spread, if they’re a slow starting team, take the underdog against the points on the first half line. There are many slow starting teams that finish strong, so do your research and find those teams. You can make a killing on first half lines if you locate the slow starters.

syracuseBet on the defensive teams late in the tournament

A great offensive team can win a game or two with a couple of streaky shooters. But defense still wins championships. Once the tournament has progressed into the Sweet 16, it’s time to start betting on the better defensive teams. The offensive teams generally flame out and give way to the teams that play lock down defense. Yes, there are some exceptions to the rule (i.e. 1990 UNLV, 1989 Michigan), but in most cases, the defensive teams conquer the later rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

Don’t get stuck on overall records

It’s tempting to take a 2.5-point underdog with a 26-6 record against a 20-12 favorite. But there’s a reason the team with a worse record is a favorite. It’s because they’re a better team despite the record. So many teams in the country play weak schedules and so their records are padded.

Bet against teams that aren’t built for the NCAA Tournament

Have you ever wondered how Wisconsin finishes in the Top 3 of the Big-10 seemingly every year, but Bo Ryan has been mediocre in the NCAA Tournament? There’s a reason for it. They simply are not built for the tournament because they lack talent. Yes, they have a great defensive team every year, but they overachieve so much that by the time the tournament comes around, the good teams figure them out. Also, teams that cannot shoot from the perimeter or handle the ball well will struggle in tournament play.

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