More Keys to Finding Upsets in Major Conference Tourneys

More Keys to Finding Upsets in Major Conference Tourneys

By Wayne Root::

Earlier this week I outlined some keys to finding UPSET SHOCKERS in major conference tournaments. Now that the action is really getting intense, I wanted to pin things down even further as you map out your attack for the quarterfinals, semifinals, and championship rounds of the showcase events.

First, a quick listing of what we talked about last time...

  • Bubble Teams are Upset Fodder
  • Last Year's Tourney Winners Lack Motivation
  • Location, Location, Location!

Those elements will loom large, particularly the last two as you get deeper into the brackets. Be sure you're taking game location and environment into account for every matchup you handicap. And, go back and review last year's tournaments if you haven't already, so you have instant recall of who cut down the nets in mid-March of 2014.

I should also mention...last week I outlined these important fundamentals when talking about mid-major tournaments. These involve nuts and bolts elements of matchup handicapping that too often fall by the wayside when bettors get caught up in tournament hoopla...

  • Beware of highly regarded teams with soft defenses
  • Beware of highly regarded teams who rely too much on the three-pointer
  • Look for underdogs who play excellent defense
  • Look for underdogs who are peaking late in the season.

You can be certain that many of the coming upsets will involve combinations of those factors. By that, I mean underdogs with strong defenses playing in friendly environments will score victories. Favorites with soft defenses will get knocked out in relatively unfriendly territory. Remember that "neutral" crowds often instinctively root for underdogs...which makes some of these feel like road games for overrated favorites.

And...just to set up this possibility as well...if we DON'T have a bunch of upsets over the next few days, it will probably be because favorites with good defenses were also aided by their environment...or because there just weren't great underdog options where the stars aligned properly. Handicappers should weight their anticipations toward the probability that upsets WILL happen in the major tournaments. Doesn't mean it's automatic.

Now, a few more keys for you. I won't talk about specific teams because I need to protect that information for my clients.

  • Look for "short rotation" favorites to fade later in the weekend. Teams who give the bulk of their minutes to just six or seven guys aren't well-suited to play three games in three days, particularly if those games are thrillers that go down to the wire. This type of team is much better suited to the Big Dance...where there are no back-to-backs, and a few days off before the Round of 64, Round of 16, and National Semifinals. It's very common to see "short rotation" favorites fall short of expectations...and that's particularly true when they also have soft defenses, have three-point heavy offenses, or are less-than-motivated as defending champions who have already climbed this particular mountain.
  • Look for underdogs with great guards who are matched up against favorites who have to worry about foul trouble. Sometimes a point guard who can also score can carry an underdog on his shoulders against a favorite that lets him do whatever he wants. A lot of defenses these days are very passive inside because they have to avoid foul trouble. Losing stars after five fouls is a killer in playoff basketball because of what's at the trees in the paint back off as soon as they get two or three fouls. As you watch early round action on television, look for upcoming underdog guards who can put on a highlight show.
  • Look for teams on a "shock the nation" crusade who are able to build on emotion to create a historic weekend. This is one of my favorite angles when it comes along. It doesn't come along every year, though. We almost saw it last week with Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Conference when they shocked Wichita State then jumped to a big lead over Northern Iowa. Illinois State ran out of gas. The better athletes on major conference programs are less likely to do so, particularly if they're getting some help from the crowd. Again, I should mention that this angle is best used in combination with others. A "shock the nation" team matched up against a relatively disinterested favorite (already thinking about the Dance) lacking defensive stoppers will often lead wire-to-wire when scoring their upsets.

One of the biggest sports betting weekends of the calendar year is just beginning! You can purchase my daily BASKETBALL BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card all through this weekend, the NCAA Tournament, and the NBA Playoffs. If you have any questions about which of my long term programs best suits your individual needs, please talk to my representative in the office at 1-877-ROOT-WINS. Remember to take care of business early because of all the daytime tips!

I'll be back with you early next week to talk about finding upsets in the NCAA Tournament. You already know to look in the #5 vs. #12 matchups for some darkhorses, and the #4 vs. #13 matchups as well. By publication time I'll know the official matchups, and we can talk more directly about what may or may not happen.

It's tournament time...which is why it's time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!


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