To the average college basketball fan, March Madness typically represents the NCAA tournament — and his interest level peaks. But for the college hoops betting aficionado, the conference tournaments can often prove more lucrative because they have more games with fewer unknowns as familiar opponents match up against one another. In fact, I know some professional bettors who spend much more time, resources and bankroll on the conference tourneys than they do on the Big Dance, NIT, CIT and CBI combined. For those who might behave similarly, I offer the following betting systems with at least one angle of 60% or better from each conference.
This will be a two-part series. The conferences starting tournament games for this week’s issue, March 4-10, are included. Those playing next week will be in the next issue.
The angles I chose focused on three key areas — bye games, rounds and line ranges — with combinations of each in some cases.
Bettors should understand the significant value of having a bye in these tournaments, especially when that team is believed to be better. In fact, conference tournament favorites or pick-’em teams off a bye are 361-99 SU and 244-205-11 ATS (54.3%) over the last six seasons against teams that had already played in that tournament. That is a winning wager with nothing else considered. Remember that when you try to project chances for early upsets, especially if you are led to believe the underdog might have picked up momentum by beating a lesser team in an earlier round.
— Teams that enjoyed a bye in the previous round are on a 27-1 SU and 20-6-2 ATS (76.9%) run as favorites of four points or more vs. teams that played.
— Semifinal underdogs are 11-15 SU but 19-5-2 ATS (79.1%) since 2007.
— Double-digit road underdogs in the quarterfinals are on a 7-2-1 ATS (77.8%) surge.
— Single-digit underdogs are 11-7 SU and 13-4-1 ATS (76.5%) since 2014, while double-digit favorites are on a 13-6-1 ATS (68.4%) surge.
— Single-digit favorites have been very successful since 2014, going 35-9 SU and 30-12-2 ATS (71.4%). That is highlighted by an 8-1 SU and ATS (88.9%) run in the opening round.
— This is a strange one, and a tight line scenario. But in the last six years, the 13 favorites of -2.5 to -3.5 boast a perfect 13-0 SU and 12-0-1 ATS (100%) record in those games.
— Semifinal favorites boast a 10-2 SU and 8-3-1 ATS (72.7%) record since 2014.
— Teams having already played in the tournament are on a 5-1 SU and ATS (83.3%) run against teams that enjoyed a bye, with the five outright wins coming as underdogs of six points or more.
METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC
— The highest totaled games (154+ ) have trended significantly Under of late, 12-1 (92.3%) in the last 13.
— Two of every three semifinal and championship games over the last seven years have gone Under the total at 14-7 (66.7%).
— Teams that played in the first round are on a 13-5 ATS (72.2%) run versus teams that didn’t.
— Small underdogs of four or fewer points are on a highly profitable 16-4 SU and ATS (80%) run, including 12-1 SU and ATS (92.3%) in the first two rounds.
— All 12 teams that enjoyed byes in the first round over the last six years have won their quarterfinal games, going 8-4 ATS (66.7%).
— Underdogs of six or fewer points are 21-11 ATS (65.6%) in the last six seasons, including 12-2 ATS (85.7%) in the quarterfinals.
— Since 2011, tourney favorites of 5.5 or fewer points are on a 31-11 ATS (73.8%) surge.
— Underdogs in the championship game are on an 11-2 ATS (84.6%) run, including nine outright upsets.
— Title-game underdogs are on an 8-1 ATS (88.9%) run.
— The first two rounds have trended heavily Over the total since 2012 at 24-8 (75%).
— Double-digit underdogs have proven quite pesky lately, going 13-3 ATS (81.3%) since 2012.
— Single-digit favorites have been the wager of choice during that span, going 28-17 ATS (62.2%).
— Single-digit favorites in the opening round are on a 16-6 SU and ATS (72.7%) run since 2011.
— The championship games have leaned Under the total at 8-3 (72.7%), and underdogs are 8-3 ATS (72.7%) since ’09.
— Getting a bye has been hugely rewarding, as teams that did are 22-4 SU and 18-7-1 ATS (72%) against teams that didn’t over the last six years.
— The tournament has been heavy on chalk the last four years. Favorites are 26-10-1 ATS (72.2%) during that stretch, including 20-5-1 ATS (80%) through the quarterfinals.
— The favorite in the championship game has won seven of the last eight times. But they are just 1-7 ATS (12.5%).
— The last 11 tourney underdogs of 20 or fewer points facing a team that had a bye in an earlier round are 3-8 SU but 10-1 ATS (90.9%).
— Quarterfinal underdogs boast a record of 13-4-1 ATS (76.5%) since 2015.