If you love basketball, specifically college basketball, the month of March is your favorite month of the year. It’s also a great month, because the NBA is winding down and teams are beginning to fight for the playoffs. MLB Baseball is also in play and getting ready for the regular season’s first pitch. March is just a great month of the year for sports. However, we are going to talk about the NCAA Basketball tournament today. It’s called March Madness because the games are exciting and it’s all on the line for colleges around the United States.
Every March, sports bettors around the world start filling in their brackets and deciding who’s going to win it all. They flock to sports books to put money down on the action and many have a good time regardless of how the bet works out. There’s nothing more exciting than watching a great college basketball game, having a bet down on it and winning some money. The NCAA tournament is full of basketball lines—some good and some tricky. Every NCAA tournament there is at least a handful of lines that are basically gifts to knowledgeable sports bettors. Since the NCAA tournament is a single elimination affair, it’s quite common for a good team to fall to a weaker team.
Here’s the trap for sports bettors. Since the weaker team won, it’s assumed they are better and sports bettors flock to bet on that team in the next round. My case is easily made by a winning sports prediction I made at the SportsBookie.com blog on March 23, 2006. The game featured Memphis, a #1 seed, against Bradley, a #13 seed. Bradley had played pretty well and knocked off the #5 seed, Pittsburg. I told readers to take Memphis and watch as they beat Bradley with ease. The line on Memphis kept them around a 6-7 point favorite. Surprising the sports betting public, by in large, was not flocking to bet Memphis. I had picked up Memphis early and was shocked to see that the line did not balloon to 8 or 9. Here was a #1 seed and a team that had only lost 3 games all year, with better rounding ability to Bradley, only a 6-7 point favorite against a #13 seed in Bradley that has overplayed their true ability and gotten a break to make it to the Sweet 16. None of this seemed to matter as the line reflected that sports bettors were only interested in remembering the last NCAA tournament game. This is one example of a “gift” in sports betting. When the line is wrong and the major betting public does not push it the right way, knowledgeable sports betters get to capitalize. I would have considered taking Memphis at 10 points—knowing just how much better than Bradley they are.
In the end, Bradley’s Cinderella bid came to a crashing halt as Memphis, playing like a #1 seed, crushed them by 16 points. Using that night as a comparison, there was a #2 seed playing a #3 seed—the line was 3.5-4. The line for #1 seed playing a #13 seed was only 2-3 points higher. That, my friend, is a bonanza. When you are placing your bets in the NCAA tournament, it’s vital that you not get caught up in the hype of the last game. Do your research and thinking as if it’s another game. Look at how they played in the regular season and see who’s really better. Just like seeding is not everything as far as true power rankings go, neither is a potentially lucky game. When you find a low line in a NCAA tournament game where a team that is expected to be in the Final Four, or possibly win it all, is playing a team that is just lucky and happy to be there, it warrants some looking in to. Sports bettors can make a lot of money and have a lot of fun betting on March Madness. Keep your thinking cap on and look for incorrect lines. In the end, you will be counting down the days until the NCAA tournament comes back.