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    Alternate March Madness Betting Strategies

    Veteran handicapper Mike Somich offers alternate ways to bet on the NCAA Tournament.

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    Other Ways to Bet March Madness

    Now that we’ve tipped off the tournament let’s take a quick look at a couple of successful strategies I have been able to deploy over the years. Let’s face it: March Madness can be difficult to bet game by game. I have found that over the years, the single-game edges are marginal at best compared to a normal Saturday of games. It’s logical that you will not have as much of an edge when you are looking at 16 games per day at most that are attracting significantly more money than any game during the regular season.

    Openers get hammered quickly to what the market considers the correct number on both the side and the total, and if you see a big move, it is hard to decipher if it’s a public side or a sharper group that hammered it. Additionally, variance is extremely high in one-and-done tournament games. Teams and players tense up or step up. Three-point shooting becomes paramount in gyms these college kids have never shot in before and often can determine an outcome. My unit size drops significantly from the regular season to the tournament for all of these reasons, but I do like to take some shots at other markets.

     

    To Win the Region

    I have talked about this bet on multiple shows over the last week since I have been able to beat this market over the last few seasons. You can find teams that stylistically have advantages over the rest of the bracket or target a weaker region with a team you like.

    This year, I pegged Tennessee as the team to win the Midwest at +350. They looked great last night and I would still play them at the currently offered price of +360. The draw sets up beautifully for them. They have Creighton as the #3 seed, who has struggled shooting the ball on the road this season and has seen a dip in their offensive efficiency numbers when playing away from home. That’s a team I want to be against. If they do play in the Sweet 16, it will be Creighton’s first time shooting with new sight lines, a spot they would presumably be most vulnerable.

    On the top half of the bracket, #1 Purdue has shown they can be beat at any time in the previous two years in the dance and with a bad loss in the Big 10 tournament. The #4, Kansas, is missing a star player and is over-seeded. That’s the type of region I want to try to target a team I like.

    To Make the Elite 8

    You can play to make the Sweet 16 as well, but since we are already tipped, I would rather look to the Elite 8 market. The team I want to target here is Iowa St -120. They are a tournament tough team winning the Big 12 tournament in resounding fashion over the #1 seed Houston in the finals and have one of the stouter defenses left in the tournament.

    They are favored by 6.5 points over Washington St, a team that should struggle to score against the Cyclones defense and then would presumably face Big 10 champ Illinois.

    I love the Illinois matchup for Iowa State. Illinois is at their best when they are running and gunning in transition and want to play fast. That is what Iowa State consistently has been able to shut down. Illinois also has exploitable weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball, which a balanced Iowa State team should be able to exploit.

    Keep checking back for alternate markets as March Madness continues. Often, betting on the Most Outstanding Player can pay better than a team to cut down the nets!

    Mike Somich
    Mike Somich
    Mike Somich is the host of the Handle on weekends for VSiN. He brings over 20 years of gambling experience including playing poker professionally, multiple $75,000 horse racing tournament scores and years of betting sports. He currently focuses on the NFL, NHL and College Basketball.

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