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Tourney Betting Tips

By Brett Taylor

Sitting around the office talking about - what else - March Madness (joining the millions of others who are dragging down workplace productivity during this time). The office chatter has been almost exclusively focused on the tournament lineup, seedings, matchups, pointspreads, future odds and our brackets. I love the Super Bowl, but for me, it doesn’t even come close to this. Three or fours hours of football and a killer hangover vs. three weeks of virtually unlimited betting opportunities on dozens of games…no contest.

Here are a few Betting tips you may want to consider.

For what it’s worth, I have Louisville as my “sort-of” surprise team to land in the Final Four and then who knows what happens from there (yes I’m aware they have to beat North Carolina in the Elite Eight Round to get there). So I’ve got a few dollars down on them at 12-1 (at SPORTSBETTING.COM).

As well I think Wisconsin has a real shot at going deep into this tourney, and at 30-1 odds to win it all, they were worth a few dollars of my bankroll as well. I also grabbed a piece of the 10-1 odds for them to win the MidWest Regional.

The Badgers still play that same swing offense they’ve been going with for years, but this year, they have the pieces that can make this a very difficult lineup to handle. They have balance and can score from anywhere on the court, with any of the five starters able to hit the shots when they get a look.

Here’s a quick tip that has served me relatively well over the years, both in picking ATS winners and when filling out my bracket – respect teams that won their way into the tournament.

I always give an extra long look at teams that secured an “Automatic Bid” when they’re matched up against an “At Large” team. I don’t care what conference you came out of, that team won the conference tourney, which means they were good enough to grab the coveted automatic spot in the Big Dance.

When you see early round upsets, very often it comes from a matchup like this. And for sports bettors, pay attention to an “Automatic Bid” pointspread dog vs. the “At Large” team. There is money to be made taking the points in those battles.

Here are a few more betting tips to keep in mind when you’re filling out your bracket:

- Don’t expect a 16-seed to upset the apple cart in round one – it won’t happen. Since 1985, when the tournament went to the 64-team format, 16 seeds have a winning percentage of .000. Translation: a 16-seed has never won a tournament game (they’re 0-88). Portland State and friends aren’t going to be the first.

That said, it doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to bet #16’s against the spread. Looking back over the last 40 meetings of #1 vs. #16 the lower seed has covered almost 50% of the time (19 for 21 covers).

- Did you fill out your bracket like I did when I was a high school junior and senior? If you did then you have Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA and Memphis in the Final Four.

It might seem logical to walk through your bracket having each of the top seeds winning their way to San Antonio for a monumental battle of the #1s…but history is against you.

Since the change in the tourney structure to 64 teams, the four #1s have never met up in the Final Four.

- But still respect the #1 seeds as they have been represented in the Championship game 20 times in the last 23 years. Last year two #1s met, as Florida beat Ohio State.

- There’s been a lot of talk about Georgia and their improbable ride to the tournament, but I remember reading somewhere that only two teams with 13 or more losses have ever made it to the Final Four. So if you’ve fallen in love with Georgia, make sure it’s a quick crush and you’re over them fairly early, as their 16 losses have the bell tolling for thee.

- The one side play I’ve put in so far is Davidson -2 over Gonzaga (placed at SPORTSBETTING.COM).

Good luck with your brackets and opening round wagers. I’ll be back next week with some betting tips for the Sweet Sixteen and beyond.

 

 

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