The annual NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is one of the most heavily-bet sporting events of the year with everything fromwagering on the individual games, playing any number of team and player props to filling out the tournament bracket in hopes of striking it rich. While multi- millions of dollars will be wagered over the next few weeks, there will be far more bets lost than won.
The expert handicappers at Doc's Sports are proven winners, and they make their living off finding an inside edge that fuels their biggest plays with Doc's Unit Betting System, especially when it comes to releasing selections for this tournament. The following are a few of this week's expert betting tips to help turn the excitement of March Madness into cash in your pocket.
Betting on the Spartans as Cover Machines
Michigan State is coming off successful run on the court to this season's Big Ten Tournament title following Sunday's 66-62 victory against Purdue in the Championship Game. While the Spartans failed to cover as five-point favorites on BetOnline's closing spread in both their semifinal matchup against Maryland in a three-point victory as well as against the Boilermakers, you need to take a step back and take a look at their performance against the spread since late January.
Going back to a 74-65 victory against Maryland on Jan. 23 as a 3.5-point home favorite, Michigan State had a perfect run of 12-0 ATS before failing to cover in those last two games. The Spartans actually lost to Purdue SU during that same stretch, but they still covered as 2.5-point road underdogs in the tight 82-81 defeat.
For its efforts during the regular season and the postseason tournament, Michigan State earned the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region. The Spartans open play on Friday against Conference-USA's Middle Tennessee Blue Raidersas heavy 17.5-point favorites. They are 20-10 ATS in 30 games as favorites this season , and even more impressive is a 7-1 record ATS in their last eight games as double-digit favorites.
Using Futures Odds to Pick Your Final Four
There are an endless amount of tips when it comes to filling out a NCAA Tournament bracket, but one of the simplest guides is the oddmakers' futures odds to win both a region as well as a national title.
The Big 12's Kansas Jayhawks are the No. 1 seed in the Big Dance out of the South Region, and they are Bovada' current favorite to win it all at +500 betting odds, followed closely by Michigan State at +550. Next on the list is the ACC's North Carolina Tar Heels at +700 playing as the No. 1 seed in the East. And even though the SEC's Kentucky Wildcats are the No. 4 seed in the East Region, they are the fourth favorite on the board to win it all at +1000.
When you take a look at Bovada's betting odds to win each region, Kansas is a +150 favorite to win the South, with Villanova next at +300. Pencil the Jayhawks right into the Final Four.
Michigan State's odds to win the Midwest Region are +175, with No. 1 seed Virginia a +250 second-favorite. Once again, keep moving the Spartans along the Final Four, especially in light of how well they have played in this tournament over the years under head coach Tom Izzo.
The East Region is a bit more tricky given that two of the top four favorites will have to face each other in the Sweet 16. I would lean towards North Carolina at +200 odds instead of Kentucky at +500 odds to win that region given the Tar Heels overall body of work.
The top favorite to win the West Region is No. 2 Oklahoma at +225 betting odds followed by No. 1 Oregon at +325. The Sooners' futures odds to win a national title are the exact same as the Ducks at +1400. Since I believe that the Big 12 was probably the most competitive major conference this season, I am giving the slight edge to Oklahoma to complete my Final Four.
Musketeers and the Hoosiers on the Move
It is pretty obvious that I am high on Michigan State in this year's NCAA Tournament, and so is the betting public. According to Covers, the Spartans opened the season as 40/1 long shots to win the 2016 national title only to start play in the NCAA Tournament as second favorites.
A few other movers and shakers you can add to the list would be the Big East's Xavier Musketeers and the Big Ten's Indiana Hoosiers. The Musketeers were second to Villanova in the Big East this season and they will start this tournament as the No. 2 seed in the East Region. Their betting odds to win it all started at 100/1 but has been bet down to 20/1, according to Covers and using Bookmaker's futures odds. Xavier made an earlier-than-expected exit from the Big East Tournament in a loss to Seton Hall, but it has sportsbooks nervous all over the board as legitimate contender to make that improbable run.
Indiana won the Big Ten regular-season title at 15-3 in conference play, but it bowed out of the Big Ten Tournament with a stunning 72-69 loss to Michigan. The Hoosiers still garnered the No. 5 seed in the East, and their odds to come out of this very competitive region to win a national title have gone from 50/1 to 25/1 at GTBets. They would have to get past the likes of Kentucky and North Carolina in the first few rounds, so I would question the value in their current odds. Ironically enough, if Indiana was to somehow survive that gauntlet, it could very well set up a showdown against Xavier in the Elite 8.
Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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