When it comes to constant action, nothing beats conference tournament week for the sports bettor.
Here are a few tips to help you win more money along the ride:
1. Bet on teams coming off a bye
The top teams usually get a bye with most tournament formats and then they play a bottom seed that was forced to play the day before. The spreads are usually big but they cover at a cash-hoarding rate of 59.3 (67-46-4 against the spread) in these games. That’s for the eight biggest conferences – the Power 5 plus the Big East, AAC and Missouri Valley.
2. Trust what you know
Oddsmakers will admit this is probably their toughest time of year to set lines.
“It’s definitely right up there towards the top (in terms of toughest weeks of the season to set odds),” says Dave Mason, odds expert and point man with BetOnline. “So many games on such short notice. Also, so many of those small schools that are often trickier to handle.”
Focus on the one or two conferences you know best, especially if they’re smaller ones. You will find some opportunities.
3. Kentucky loves tourney time
The Wildcats are the best bet in the nation at 8-1-1 against the spread over the past four seasons in conference tournaments. Iowa State, Providence, UConn, and N.C. State all covered at better than 75 percent over that time period also.
4. Duke does not like tourney time
Duke is 1-7 against the spread in the ACC tourney over the last four years. Boston College and Oklahoma are in a similar spot at 1-5 against the spread.
5. Big dogs bark
Since 2005, underdogs of 15 points or more cover the spread at a rate of 58.3 percent (54-39-4). The number gets even better when it comes to dogs of 20 points or more. They cover at a rate of 79 percent going back to 2001 for a record of 15-4-1 ATS.
6. Go to Las Vegas during tourney week
If you’re thinking of going to Las Vegas during the first week of March Madness, I highly recommend going for conference tourney week instead. This tip is starting to catch on a little more but basically you get way more action without as much of the chaos and crowds.
7. Set a goal
This may sound simple but don’t blow your budget trying to bet every game of conference tourney week. It’s so easy to get carried away with action going off all the time. Set a strategy in terms of the conferences you want to bet and the goal you’d like to try to win. Also set a budget for the maximum you’re willing to lose. If you’re not a professional bettor, you’re doing this for entertainment and there’s no need to shed tears over something you’re doing for fun.
Hope these tips help you bet smarter and make more cash during conference tourney week.