There is no fickler form of basketball betting than NCAA action. So many teams, so many ridiculous spreads, so many different storylines, so many roster tweaks, so many questions. The upside, of course, is that more teams means more games, and more games means more opportunities to win money. And so long as you have some idea of what you’re doing, it’s possible to make money betting on college roundball. It’s important to start with a strategy—some kind of gambling niche. Focus on one conference or a definitive number of teams.
Don’t try to spread yourself too thin by tackling as many different tilts as sportsbooks allow. Splitting focus is how you go crazy. It’s also how you lose large sums of cash before you know it.
Rather than dilute your knowledge of the game with a seemingly infinite number of competitors, get down to the nitty gritty of your preferred conference or preordained group of betting friendly teams. Study their stats. See which types of teams—defensive, offensive, fast-paced, etc.—they thrive or struggle against. Stay up to date with injury reports and lineup changes. Know the head coaches and how they like to play.
All of this sounds like a lot of hard work, and it can be at first. But the more experience you get, the easier it becomes.
More NCAA Basketball Betting Tips
Everyone’s different, so not every NCAA betting strategy will work for all of us. But a fairly popular, not to mention effective, approach involves avoiding spreads altogether and manufacturing moneyline parlays.
Moneyline outcomes are easier to predict. You simply need to choose which team you think is going to win, and then go from there. Collegiate upsets happen, but they’re rare—especially when the spread surpasses double digits.
With this strategy, you persuse the biggest spreads, then pick five or more favorites you’re confident will win—not cover the spread, but win. You then combine those moneyline picks into a parlay and presto! You’ve increased your potential return while curbing the risk involved.
This method won’t get you hundred-dollar-bills-for-toilet-paper rich, but it will help you build up your sportsbook purse, provided you do some research on the teams in which you’re investing.
Remember, though, not all big-spread matchups let you bet the moneyline. You need to get in on the action early to ensure that luxury isn’t used up. If you can’t grab the moneyline on a particular game, move on to the next candidate. Maintaining this discipline is important, as you can’t jostle back and forth betwen spreads and over/unders and moneylines and expect to remain consistent in your earnings.
Be Wary of Favorites in March Madness
Betting on March Madness is part and parcel of gambling on NCAA basketball. The tournament is teeming with so much action, even the most casual bettors try to get in on the action.
If you’re someone who has watched the regular season unfold, you’re at a stark advantage. But, that being said, don’t make the mistake of applying everything you see in the regular season to your March Madness bracket.
The best teams seldom win every game, even when they are demonstrative favorites. Yes, seven of the last 10 National Champions have come from No. 1 seeds, but remember, there are four number one seeds per tournament. So in that span, we’re talking about 40 first-place squads, which amounts to a sub-25 percent hit rate—and, again, that’s assuming a No. 1 seed wins the national title.
It’s of course smart in certain games to invest in the favorites. You know, for instance, that the top-seeded 2017 Gonzaga Bulldogs won’t be losing in the first round of the March Madness bracket, because a No. 1 seed has never fallen to a No. 16 seed. You also know it’s almost just as rare that a No. 15 seed upsets a No. 2 seed.
Beyond the first round, though, things can get tricky. You will want to play the matchups, position by position, more than the seeds itself. It may turn out that a first place team like the Kansas Jayhawks run the tables, but you need to maintain an openness to pivot should you notice they catch a bad matchup in one of the later rounds.
Betting on Teams with NBA Prospects
Whether it’s the regular season or March Madness, try not to get caught up in the hype of betting on teams that house some of the NBA’s best prospects.
In theory, this should be a good tactic. The best NBA prospects are the best players. That logic tracks. Why wouldn’t you want to favor those teams, almost without thinking?
Because the team around them isn’t always great, or the coaching is sometimes suspect.
Look at what happened with Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, two of the top-three picks in 2014, when playing with the Kansas Jayhawks? They were bounced from the March Madness tournament relatively early.
Consider last year’s first-overall pick, Ben Simmons, whose LSU Tigers didn’t even make the tournament. It was the same story, different year, for Markelle Fultz with the Washington Huskies this past season.
During regular-season play, it’s sometimes okay to shirk this trend, but only if you’re betting on a team with multiple high-end prospects. The Kentucky Wildcats are always laden with NBA prospects and a genuine country-wide threat as well.
In the grand scheme of things, though, it’s more valuable to pay attention to team play styles. Are they better on offense or defense? Do they struggle against strong defenses? Grapple with inconsistency against great offenses? What types of teams do they beat most easily?
Answering those questions, both during the regular season and the March Madness tournament, will help you far more than just seeking out the biggest names and best players will.
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