This sports betting article is not about March Madness and brackets. We highlight the brackets in another article, but this one concerns wagering on individual games.
There are 67 games in the single-game elimination tournament, making it a difficult tournament to bet if you’re interested in wagering on every game. With March Madness, sports bettors must be selective concerning the teams on which they wager.
After the initial play-in games, they begin the opening round. There are 4 regions and each region features 16 teams, which means there are 8 games per region. The 1st seed plays the 16th, the 2nd plays the 15th and so forth. Many of the lower seeded teams are playing in the tournament for the first time – or the first time in many years. This round includes a lot of mismatches.
The first through fourth seeds tend to be victorious, while those in the fifth through eighth spots are less predictable. Does that mean the top four seeds always win or cover? The answer is, no. But this is certainly the time when you are most likely to find major mismatches where the top clubs win. At the same time, there are usually one or two upsets.
In round one, put most of your betting units on the games featuring the first four seeds. However, if you bet on four games in each region, you’ll be wagering on a total of 16 games. That number of bets is not recommended.
After carefully handicapping those 16 games, choose 8 to 10 of the 16 that offer solid value on which you can wager.
In this round, you’ll find that the 1st seed, if they survive, plays either the 8th or 9th seed. These games usually offer good value. Also, look for teams that upset a contender in round one. These teams will usually lose in round two.
An 8th seed can beat a 1st and a 7th can beat a 2nd. In the 2014 NCAA Tournament, the Championship game featured a 7th seed (Connecticut) against an 8th (Kentucky). To get there, they had to beat a first and second seed respectively. In fact, the second seed is often vulnerable in the Regional Quarterfinals.
As you get deeper into the tournament, the higher seeds actually become more vulnerable. This happens for three reasons. The first is that every team starts to become vulnerable as their players get worn down and injured. A one seed can just as easily have a major injury as a 10 seed.
Also, once you get to the Sweet 16, no matter what seed teams entered under, they are now fairly equal. Finally, it is an elimination tournament, which means any team can have an off game and go cold and lose to a streaking club.
Elite 8 and Final Four
In every round, you must perform your handicapping duties. Each game has to be carefully evaluated. The Elite 8 and Final Four really demand careful consideration, as these teams tend to be playing at their peak.
What types of teams tend to have an edge? Those that have been there before can usually deal with the pressure more so than those who are new to the spotlight. Also, clubs that can hit from the free throw line will have a better chance of winning. Healthy teams with a deep bench usually have the upper hand at this stage as well.
Make Smart Bets
It is very important to carefully bet on the NCAA Tournament. Top teams fall, some premium clubs won’t cover, and underdogs rise to the top. Because it is a single-game elimination tournament, it is a tough one to predict. Wager using unit bets and look for high-value, low-risk opportunities. If you do well in the first round, you may be able to take a few extra risks in the later rounds.