Make Money in the NIT
by Allen Eastman - 03/12/2007
It's been beaten to death. Drexel and Syracuse got left out of the dance. So did several other deserving schools. But whether it's fair or not, it's time to move on. Both schools will be in the N-I-T, which is loaded with 20-win teams that also feel THEY got shafted by the selection committee. While most of the focus this week will be on the NCAA Tournament, there is serious money to be made in the NIT.
This year the NIT was shaved from 40 teams to 32 teams. Teams were seeded just like the NCAA tournament. The top four seeds in each region open on their home campus. Immediately those 16 teams will have a huge advantage against road teams who, for the most part, just wont have their hearts into competing to be the 65th best team in the nation. Then there are those teams with a chip on their shoulder and want to prove to the NCAA selection people that they made a huge mistake. I would place schools such as Drexel, Florida State, Syracuse, West Virginia, U-Mass, Kansas State and Mississippi State in that category. There are countless more but the point is when you've got a team that's got something to prove against a team that would rather not be there, isn't that a tremendous betting advantage?
For the record, of the 32 teams that made the N-I-T field, 25 of those teams had 20 wins or more. That should make for some great games. But again I'm looking for a few bargains. Taking the home team in the first two rounds is one of the things I'll be looking for. Maybe a mid-major taking on a school from on the of the major conferences like any team from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac Ten, etc. Also be aware of teams that folded like lawn chairs down the stretch. On that list I'd place Air Force and North Carolina State. One other bit of advice I would offer -- and it has helped me hit over 60% of my college plays this year -- is read the local newspapers and read between the lines. Coach speak and player speak can really tell you if a school is happy to still be playing or would rather be focusing on spring break.
Finally, with the oddsmakers focusing so much time this week on the NCAA Tournament and the NBA, you may find some line mistakes that you can turn into instant cash. In my experience I've found most of those errors occur when setting the totals and I've found lots of value betting the UNDER. We'll see if that form holds true this year.