The madness of March is about to begin this weekend when the NCAA Tournament kicks into gear with a full slate of games on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For bettors, March Madness is a busy time of the year with the 68-team tournament taking over the sports world for the next few weeks. And if a bettor approaches these games in the right manner, the NCAA Tournament can be a great way to make a profit on college basketball. Let's take a closer look at the 2016 NCAA Tournament and figure out the best way to wager on the event. All odds come from Bovada.
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Bracket pools : the easiest way to wager on the NCAA Tournament is through a bracket pool. This can be done with your friends or family, but bracket pools are typically done at work with your co-workers, and the person who follows the sport the least typically ends up winning it. Brackets are always fun and exciting, but if you are looking to make a profit on the tournament, betting individual games is the way to go.
Tip : do not pick the No. 16 vs No. 1 upset, it never happens. Look for upsets in another spot.
Spreads : taking the spreads on individual games is the place to make a profit this March Madness. Bovada will have lines for every game, including the play-in matchups, and picking out individual spots will be your smartest play at making some money. How frustrating would it be to go deep in your office pool and not make any money? If you are unsure which teams to bet during the first round, Doc's Sports has a full slate of tournament coverage to help you make the best picks, and Doc's Advisory Board of expert handicappers are some of the best in the entire world if you are interested in buying picks - you can let the experts do all the heavy lifting for you.
Tip : experts are calling the 2016 tournament one of the most open fields in March Madness history. In short, there should be plenty of upsets, so look at taking a well-timed underdog plus the points.
Totals : if you are not sure which way to wager on a certain game, skipping the spread altogether and wagering on a total or "over/under" is another excellent way to make a profit. NCAA games are shorter than NBA games with two 20-minute halves instead of four 12-minute quarters, so the total number usually fallings into the 120- to 150-point range.
Tip : the key for picking a totals line is to know your teams and the style of ball they play. Up-tempo squads that love the 3-point shot are great over bets, while defensive-minded teams that play in the post tend to be a great under.
Futures : if wagering on individual games feels too intimidating, skip the spreads and totals and wager on the futures odds. Bovada currently has National Champion and regional champion lines. Michigan State is currently the favorite to win the entire tournament, while Kansas, North Carolina and Oklahoma are the favorites to win their respective regions. Futures bets are a great way to stay in action over the course of the tournament without having to handicap games on a daily basis. Bettors will also receive a decent payout if the bet hits. Michigan State is receiving +525, and a bettor would win $525 on a $100 bet if the Spartans win the national title.
Tips : Most experts believe the field is wide open and that 10 to 15 teams have a shot at winning the tournament. There were no powerhouse squads this season. So if you have a feeling about your school, this year is the perfect time to make a futures bet.
In-game betting : for the advanced bettor, Bovada provides in-game betting, which is a tool that offers updated spreads throughout the course of the game. If a player took Kansas at -10 before the game started and the team jumps to an early 25-point lead, the in-game line might be adjusted to -20 points. In-game betting is a chance to double down, middle or even take the opposite side of a spread, but it should be done with caution since a simple $50 bet can be doubled or tripled within seconds.
Tips : taking a spread larger than the original number is never the ideal situation during in-game betting. The best way to use the wager is by looking for smaller spreads on the favorite and larger ones on the underdogs. Say Kansas is a 10-point favorite and goes down by 10 early in the game, and the new in-game spread shows the Jayhawks at -3 points. This would be the ideal situation to use in-game betting to grab a better number than originally offered.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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