Historically, tournament week in college basketball is LOADED with upsets, shockers, and stunners…as big name programs are often a bit flat the week before the Big Dance…while other teams who are fighting at full tilt pull off big victories. The play-by-play announcers are screaming. The studio guys are scratching their heads. And, fans in attendance are often stunned by the unanticipated matchups they paid big money in advance to see.
For THE KING OF UPSETS, this is an annual GOLD MINE!
Here are some tips for finding live underdogs and great upset situations in the major conference and remaining mid-major conference tournaments.
FADE FLAT FAVORITES
As I mentioned at the top…it’s almost an annual dynamic that many superpower teams get caught napping during their conference tournaments. They’re saving their most intense efforts for the Big Dance. And, that happens while they’re trying to deal with the fatigue of playing on back-to-back days. Heck, some even lose their 1-8 games rested in the quarterfinals. But, the powers are more likely to get knocked off as favorites in semifinal or final action. Be very careful laying points with conference favorites or co-favorites who are already locked into #1 or #2 seeds in the Big Dance. You’re rarely going to get peak performances…and oddsmakers usually price those teams at peak levels because the public wants to bet them.
FADE PERIMETER TEAMS
Some highly regarded programs rely too much on three-point success. This particular style is very dicey in a conference tournament because it’s hard to string together great shooting performances in the first place…and it’s even harder to do over consecutive DAYS on tired legs! Perimeter teams already have trouble playing to expectations consistently in the Big Dance, where there are never back-to-backs. Conference tournaments is when they’re most vulnerable because of accumulated fatigue. Some of my best upset calls every March involve going against perimeter teams who just shot lights out the prior game.
BACK “CHIP ON THEIR SHOULDER” TEAMS
It’s amazing how often an underdog will catch fire in a conference tournament, going on a giant-killing tear as daily underdogs. They enter with a purpose…play with fire (particularly on defense and on the boards)…and they ride that wave of energy all the way through the weekend. Learn how to spot these teams early…which is helpful because so many games are televised. Then, remember to go against them in their first game of the Big Dance after they spent a few days crashing from their high!
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BACK “DEFENSIVE DOGS”
Defense wins championships…and conference tournaments are crowning champions. Be sure you know the defensive strengths and weaknesses of every tournament team this week. Then, monitor performance on that side of the ball on a game-by-game basis as each day unfolds. Be sure to study the boxscores of games you can’t personally watch on TV, emphasizing shooting percentage allowed and turnovers forced. Don’t assume every low scoring game involves great defense! Sometimes that’s a case of pace slowing down. Focus on teams who are getting stops and making plays.
All four of those categories are important on their own. But, you REALLY clean up when you can find some ALIGNMENT! A dog with a chip on its shoulder is particularly dynamic against a flat favorite that’s already looking ahead to last weekend or a team that’s at the mercy of three-point shooting. Flat favorites are particularly vulnerable against defensive dogs who can frustrate them and force more mistakes. It’s impossible to know as I write this what the matchup is going to be. But, I’m confident that I will have at least one (and possibly more) GAME OF THE YEAR caliber selections later this week based solely on these fundamentals. Happens every year!
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The month of March is electric here in Las Vegas. And, WAYNE ALLYN ROOT IS THE KING OF LAS VEGAS! Sportsbooks will be packed this week morning, afternoon, and night for round the clock tournament action. Most bettors will be losing with the wrong favorites. My clients will be cashing ticket after ticket with the right favorites and many upset specials on live underdogs. That means it’s time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!...