In the wake of last week’s sports gambling massacre, and in hopes for a weekend of redemption, let’s take a dive into the Do’s and Don’ts of betting on March Madness.

Virginia v Pittsburgh

Parlays – Don’t

In case your eyes weren’t opened last weekend, this doesn’t work during March Madness. The odds mean nothing, so just throw them out the window now. Last week if you parlayed Buffalo and UMBC both to win, $20 would have won you over $1000…but no one parlayed that. In all likelihood, you probably took the exact opposite. You have to understand these are a bunch of 18 – 21 year old kids. Do you remember what you were doing at that age? Imagine being 18, trying to perform on national television, and having the slightest thing go wrong, your night might as well be over at that point. And you’re thinking about trying to pick two of these groups of teenagers to get it right on the same night? – Good luck

 

Betting Heavy on Favorites – Don’t

“But what about if I choose a heavy favorite, $200 to win a quick $68, it has to work, right?”

Go ask people who took Virginia or Arizona last week how that worked out. Not to say that this never works, but this is nothing like betting on Warriors to beat the Mavericks. Most of these teams are meeting for the first time in this tournament, you have NO IDEA how they’re going to match up against each other. So, unless you are really willing to lose that bet, I’d think twice.

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Watched Less then 15 College Basketball Games This Season – Don’t

You can do all of the research you want. Last week I thought the scorching hot Providence Friars had a really good chance to upset Texas A&M……… until 30 seconds into the game you hear the announcer refer to the 2 big men on A&M as “The Twin Towers.” I lost before the game even started.

 

Taking the Spread – Don’t

These teams could give a shit about you having them -4.5. At the end of the game when Kansas is up by 7 against Seton Hall with 6 seconds left, the Senior from Seton Hall doesn’t care that the game is over, he’s going to take one last glory run up the court and pull his final career 3. That’s his national championship, that moment right there…. and don’t think that exact moment can’t happen again during this tournament. Also, there have been a total of 14 Upsets so far in this tournament, and that does not include the 11 other teams that won the game but failed to cover the spread. That means 25 out of the 48 games so far the favorite either lost or failed to cover, so take that into consideration before you throw confidently throw in your Gonzaga -5.5 bet today.

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Leveraging a Noticeable Height Advantage – Do

Finally, something we can rely on. It’s college basketball, teams are streaky shooting, and are going to go on stretches of missing shots at least once a game. One of the few things you can rely on is the laws of gravity. The 6’11” guy is always going to out-rebound the 6’6” guy. This is an easy bit of research you can do, and often pays dividends. Don’t confuse this as “Oh, this 11 Seed has a 2-inch height advantage against Duke…” It’s Duke, they’ll make shots, and in all likelihood, outrebound you anyway. But for those close matchups, this is often a huge difference maker.

 

Favoriting Teams with Good Free Throw Percentages – Do

Very obvious, but the difference this makes in College Basketball is huge. Florida State can give a lot of credit to free throws, in their 5-point upset over Xavier. Florida State shot 86.4% (19-22) from the line, meanwhile Xavier shot 63.3% (19-30). The numbers often speak for themselves, and at the end of the day it comes down to being able to make your free throws.

 

 

Be warned, as none of this is guaranteed to work or not. It’s still college basketball, with a bunch of 18-year-old student athletes being put on national stage for all to watch, ridicule, and envy. Many of these players will have bright futures in the NBA, but that doesn’t mean they will shine during this tournament. This isn’t an attempt to take away from the handful of the very talented future NBA players remaining in the tournament, (Marvin Bagley III, Mikal Bridges, Kevin Knox… and many more), but don’t forget about the future first rounders who were already bounced in the first 2 rounds. (Deandre Ayton, Jaren Jackson Jr., Trae Young, Miles Bridges….and more.)