There is no doubt that the men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament is one of the greatest sports betting events of the entire year, but the large number of individual conference tournaments leading up to the Big Dance offers sports bettors a tremendous opportunity to get a jump start on March Madness.
Just about every Division I college basketball conference offers up a season-ending tournament in the early part of March. The actual winners of these tournaments help fill in many of the blanks for the final 68-team field for the NCAA Tournament with an automatic berth, so the drama is high for almost every single game.
This winner-take-all format also makes NCAA basketball conference tournament games great betting opportunities as long as you know how and where to look for the best value in the odds. One of the most interesting ways to bet on a conference tournament, as a whole, is to seek out the futures odds to win for each team involved. The top teams in each of the major conferences just about have their place in the NCAA Tournament already set, so there is far less on the line as opposed to a bubble team that needs a great showing in its conference tournament to punch a ticket to the Big Dance. Betting on these bubble teams, especially in the early rounds of its conference tournament can be a quick and easy way to cash a few tickets.
Finding the hungriest team in each of the major conferences and riding them all the way to a championship can add up to quite a handsome return on investment. One of the other big things that you want to look for in the major conference tournaments is any team that ended the regular season on a strong note both straight-up on the court and against the spread at the betting window. Momentum is another huge factor this time of the year so there is always a built-in edge betting on hot teams.
When it comes to conference tournaments in the Mid-Majors, it is even easier to find some solid value in the betting odds. Some of these conferences were highly competitive during the regular season and there might be two or three teams that are more than capable of winning it all in a single-elimination tournament format. In this case, defer to the ‘hot team’ theory and go with the one or two that are playing the best right now.
Some Mid-Majors have been completely dominated by one top team in the regular season. Even though all the NCAA Tournament experts may have that particular team penciled-in somewhere on their 68-team bracket, there is no college basketball head coach that is going to leave something to chance with the tournament committee because their team got sloppy and bowed out early in the conference tournament. These could be some of the hungriest teams out there right now, so riding them in their conference tournament as heavy favorites could be a viable betting strategy.
One of the best reasons to get neck deep in handicapping some of the conference tournaments is to give yourself a jump on the NCAA Tournament later in the month. Unless you have an unlimited amount of time, your best strategy would be to lock onto the two or three conferences that you bet the heaviest in the regular season. You can still make quite a bit of money betting on just a few conference tournament games as long as you have a really good feel for the teams involved.
The main thing to keep top of mind is that finding a few hungry teams on the bubble and few hot teams both SU and ATS are a great starting point to making the most of college basketball betting the first two weeks of March.