For fans and bettors who understand that the madness of March encompasses the entire month and not just the NCAA tournament, the opening of the conference tourneys, even the mid-majors, puts some pep in your step. Many in the industry prefer the volume of games, as well as the familiarity of opponents, that conference tournaments bring. In fact, some professional bettors spend much more time, resources and bankroll on the conference tourneys than they do on the Big Dance and the other postseason tournaments combined.
If you behave similarly, check the following betting systems, with at least one angle of 60% or better for each conference starting its tournament by Monday. Part 2 of this series, in the next issue of Point Spread Weekly, will focus on conferences playing their tournaments next week.
The angles I have chosen focused on three key areas: bye games, rounds and line ranges.
Bettors should understand the value of having a bye is typically significant, especially when that team is believed to be better. In fact, conference tournament favorites or pick-’em teams off a bye are 387-108 SU and 261-222-12 ATS (54%) over the last seven seasons against teams that played earlier in the tournament. That is a winning wager with nothing else considered. Remember that when you try to project chances for upsets earlier in these tournaments, especially if you think the underdog might have picked up momentum from beating a lesser team in a preliminary game.
All these betting systems include games heading into the 2021 tournaments.
— Teams that enjoyed a bye in the previous round are on a 28-1 SU and 21-6-2 ATS (77.8%) run as favorites of four points or more vs. teams that had already played.
— Semifinal underdogs are 11-15 SU but 19-5-2 ATS (79.1%) since 2007.
— Double-digit road underdogs in the quarterfinal round are on an 8-2-1 ATS (77.8%) surge.
— Favorites are on a 33-17-1 ATS (66%) surge in Round 2 through the semifinals but are on 4-12-1 ATS (25%) slide in the opening round and championship.
— Single-digit underdogs are 12-10 SU and 16-5-1 ATS (76.2%) since 2014, while double-digit favorites are on a 15-7-1 ATS (68.2%) surge.
— Single-digit favorites have been very successful since 2014, going 40-11 SU and 35-14-2 ATS (71.4%), highlighted by an 11-1 SU and ATS (91.7%) surge in the opening round.
— A significant benchmark line point in recent years has been 7.5 points. Favorites of that much or more are 12-0 SU and 8-3-1 ATS (72.7%) since 2014, while underdogs of seven or fewer points have gone 20-7-3 ATS (74.1%) in that span.
— This is a strange one and a tight line scenario, but the last six years of the tournament have included 15 favorites of -2.5 to -3.5, and those teams boast a perfect 15-0 SU and 14-0-1 ATS (100%) record in those games.
— Semifinal favorites hold a 12-2 SU and 9-4-1 ATS (69.2%) record since 2014.
— Teams having already played in the tournament are on a 6-3 SU and ATS (66.7%) run against teams that enjoyed a bye, with the six outright wins coming as underdogs of six points or more.
METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC
— The highest-totaled games (154+ ) in the tourney have trended significantly Under of late at 12-1 (92.3%) in the last 13.
— All five games played in the 2020 tourney went Under the total.
— Underdogs of six or fewer points are 23-15 ATS (60.5%) in the last seven seasons, including 13-3 ATS (81.2%) in the quarterfinals.
— The tourney is typically a low-scoring bracket, and over the last seven seasons, Under is on a 22-9 (71%) run on totals of 131.5 or higher.
— Underdogs in the championship game are on a 12-2 ATS (84.6%) run, including 10 outright upsets.
— Seven of the last eight quarterfinal games went Under the total.
— Title-game underdogs are on a 9-1 ATS (90%) run.
— The first two rounds have trended heavily Over the total since 2012 at 25-11 (69.4%), but three of four games in 2020 went Under.
— Double-digit underdogs have proven quite pesky, going 14-5 ATS (73.7%) since 2012.
— The quarterfinal round has trended Over on totals at 16-8 (66.7%) in the last 24.
— Single-digit favorites in the opening round are on a 17-6 SU and ATS (73.9%) run since 2011.
— Overall, favorites are on a 43-12 SU and 32-20-3 ATS (61.5%) surge.
— Championship games have leaned Under the total at 8-4 (66.7%), and underdogs are 8-4 ATS (66.7%) since 2009. However, both bets lost a year ago.
— Seven of the last eight (87.5%) semifinal games have gone Under the total.
— Getting a bye has been rewarding, as such teams are 25-5 SU and 19-9-1 ATS (67.9%) against teams that didn’t over the last seven years.
— The tournament has been heavy on chalk over the last five years as favorites are 29-13-1 ATS (69%), including 23-8-1 ATS (74.2%) through the quarterfinal round.
— The last 16 underdogs of 20 or fewer points facing a team that had a bye in an earlier round are 4-12 SU but 13-3 ATS (81.3%).
— Quarterfinal underdogs boast a record of 14-5-1 ATS (73.7%) since 2015.
— Favorites in the semifinal and championship rounds are on a 15-6 ATS (71.4%) run.