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NCAA March Madness

It is the time of year when conference championships are almost upon us and there are several keys that should be looked at when handicapping and filliing out your brackets for the tournaments during March Madness.

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How to handicap College Hoops NCAA March Madness Tournament Edition

It is the time of year when conference championships are almost upon us and there are several keys that should be looked at when handicapping the tournaments during March Madness.
Experience pays off:

One has to look at teams that have played in championships to get back to the championship round. In the last five years teams that have won the championship has made it back to the big game 63% of the time. This has to do with being able to handle the pressure of the big game.

Depth:

Depth is a must for the championship tournament as it will always give an edge to a team when it comes to late in the tournament when teams have played several games over several days. Teams that are strong in depth allow players to be fresher longer and eat up precious time as well as fouls at any given time.

Rebounding:

This one is rather obvious has teams that rebound the ball well get a second chance at missed shots and will often control the tempo of the game for the most part. The teams in conference that have had the rebounding edge has gone to the championship round more often than not.

Free Throws:

Another obvious one is free throws. Teams that can shoot free throws will win games down the stretch and in conference tournaments they are invaluable. With the basics of picking a winner in the conference tournaments out of the way let’s look at some of the intangibles that will make you money ATS.

Ride the Streak:

Hot teams coming into the tournament are always a play in my book. These teams usually get all the bounces, play the game the hardest and take advantage of teams playing out the string. However a note here is if the team is undefeated in conference play when they enter the tournament I suggest a play against them SU and ATS.

Stay away from the last team to make the tournament:

The #8 seed is a dangerous go of things in conference tournaments. They have played the #1 seed before (often twice) and so the #1 seed knows exactly what to expect and is not surprised by the play or the temp unlike March Madness when the lower seeds surprise more often. The #8 seed is not a money maker ATS either as they are just 51% ATS in conference tournaments.

Your upsets will be from the middle of the pack:

This makes sense as the teams ranked #4-#6 are often playing opposition with equal talent or close to it. This is where the dog will become more valuable than not and will have an easier path to getting to the conference championship and often cashing as an underdog along the way.

The conference tournaments to me are very valuable when considering the big dance in March. The reason is simple. When you play close attention to the conference tournaments you are watching teams that will make the Big Dance and you will get insight on how to play them when March Madness starts. For up to date information on March Madness stop by Bang The Book Sports Handicapping Forum at http://www.bangthebook.com

 

Weather Reports and Sports Handicapping

The single biggest mistake handicappers make is thinking potential weather advantages benefit mostly warm climate teams playing in northern cities. No less of an authority on the subject would be Dan Marino. He played his high school and college ball in Pittsburgh and spent a Hall-of-Fame career in Miami, but with many a road game in New York, Foxborough, Buffalo and many other cold-weather cities.

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How Much of An Element is Weather in Handicapping?

Even those few football fans who don’t gamble surely are aware of Brett Favre’s remarkable winning streak in sub 34 degree weather or Tampa’s ineptitude when the kickoff temperature is below 40 on the archaic fahrenheit scale. It though is not just fair but imperative for handicappers to note most of those Favre games were at home where he was rarely beaten and Tampa’s incompetence was compiled when they were a doormat playing on the road.

As far as weather benefitting one team or the other, more times than not the old adage of both teams having to play in the same conditions bodes true. This is not to say though weather won’t decide the spread or SU outcome. Many teams are built for their home field and extreme weather in a battle of dichotomous styles will without question be a factor.

Come playoff time and even late in the regular season we will hear pundits and handicappers question the ability of dome teams to win or even make it to the Super Bowl. Atlanta making it in 1999 and the Rams winning it all in 2000 did take some steam out of those convinced of a dome field disadvantage but both teams were able to avoid having to play in nasty outdoor conditions.

There is one major factor missing from the aforesaid critics. We would actually agree that dome teams clearly built for dome play are at a huge disadvantage in nasty outdoor conditions. We certainly don’t disagree that the Colts horrible defense needs to be improved and nobody can question the genius of Bill Belichick. But the Colts offense is much more high powered than they are great and we question the Colts ability to beat any team in northern winter weather. The same was true for Minnesota in the Randy Moss era.

The exception to the "both teams play in the same conditions” rule would be high powered offenses.
Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Ike Reese said. "Sloppy-weather games are tailor-made for running teams. When you have to put the ball up, you're going to have to worry about sloppy passes, balls getting fumbled."

The famed Dolphins of the early 70s which went to the Super Bowl three straight years, winning two including the perfect season are a perfect example of a team that could win in any conditions. In fact un-Miami like conditions fit perfectly into their smash mouth ball control style.

Teams custom built for their climate or stadium of course will be most effected by conditions that deviate from their comfort zone. But a road team’s style is more quantifying than their city of origin or whether or not there is a roof on their stadium insofar as handicapping weather conditions.

The single biggest mistake handicappers make is thinking potential weather advantages benefit mostly warm climate teams playing in northern cities. No less of an authority on the subject would be Dan Marino. He played his high school and college ball in Pittsburgh and spent a Hall-of-Fame career in Miami, but with many a road game in New York, Foxborough, Buffalo and many other cold-weather cities.

Marino states emphatically that is tougher for a cold weather team to play in a hot weather city than visa versa. Ask any chad hanging seasoned citizen New York transplant in south Florida and they will tell you there is an acclimation period adjusting to the much warmer weather. But eventually one gets quite used to it.

Fans of international soccer will note how for example the USA soccer team admits the brutal conditions of Guatemala and the Central American countries is a huge disadvantage for the Yankees and adaptation is difficult.

As a point of fact, it’s easier for the heavily padded American football players to compensate for cold conditions than it is for the blistering heat of Florida, Texas or Arizona. Yet the handicapper seems to concern himself more so with the December frozen tundra. This is not the case at the Center of the Handicapping Universe.

 

The Big Red Mirage

Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician and philosopher, had a lot of influence on philosophy and religion in the late 6th century BC. In the 21st century, his teachings can help make you some money at the sportsbook.

MLB, baseball, sports betting, online sportsbooks

Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician and philosopher, had a lot of influence on philosophy and religion in the late 6th century BC. In the 21st century, his teachings can help make you some money at the sportsbook.

Pythagorean winning percentage is an estimate of a team’s winning percentage, given their runs scored and runs allowed. Developed by Bill James, it can tell you when teams were a bit lucky or unlucky. It is calculated by

(Runs Scored)^1.83

---------------------------------------------------------
(Runs Scored)^1.83 + (Runs Allowed)^1.83

That formula had smart bettors betting against the Washington Nationals during the second half of last year, despite their fast start. Another team to pay attention to this year is the Reds. Using this formula, their winning percentage should be .541 instead of the .704 clip they are playing at thus far this season.

Now, you don’t need to be a mathematician to know something is a bit fishy about the Reds’ torrid start. Looking at the newspaper on opening day and seeing Aaron Harang as the starter had to make you wonder how this team could possibly escape the NL Central cellar. Bronson Arroyo has been a godsend early on, but how will he do the second time around the league? The aforementioned Aaron Harang has a 4-1 record, but a very mediocre 4.35 Earned Run Average. Brandon Claussen and Dave Williams have ERAs over 6.00. This kind of pitching will clearly burn out a bullpen and catch up to the Reds as the season progresses. The ballpark, which is one of baseball’s easiest-to-hit homeruns, will further tax the pitching staff.

Speaking of that soon-to-be-overworked bullpen, was anyone racing to grab closer David Weathers in your fantasy draft? Weathers has a reputation for having a rubber arm more than actual “stuff.” And even that rubber-arm reputation is up for debate. In each of the last two years, he has faltered in one of the last two months of the season. Last year, he had a 7.15 ERA in September and in 2004, he had a 6.75 ERA in August.

No one can dispute that the Reds put out a very competitive lineup every game. Adam Dunn is one of the league’s top power hitters; Edwin Encarnacion is a promising young hitter; and Rich Aurilla, Austin Kearns and Brandon Phillips have all turned their careers in the right direction. All this, and Ken Griffey, Jr., will soon return.

The Reds lead the NL in on-base percentage with .364, but the pitching staff is near the bottom with a 1.40 WHIP. This is a team that will play a lot of 10-9 games. That’s no way to win a pennant, and games like that will eventually wear out the offense as much as the pitching staff.

Don’t be fooled by their fast start. This team will be a lot of fun to watch, but this is not the Big Red Machine you’re witnessing; it’s the Big Red Mirage. Bet the over when the Reds are playing, but be ready to bet against them as the season wears on.




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