Don?t Fade Good FT Shooters

With handicapping legend Tony Salinas


A lot of us out here in Vegas were watching the St. John's/St. Mary's college basketball game late Monday Night after the Eagles/Redskins NFL blowout ended. Vegas is a town of night owls, and we'd rather stay up late to watch basketball (11 p.m. local time start) then get up early for those 7 a.m. games that ESPN was showing on Tuesday!

Anyway, you may have heard that the last two minutes were kind of wild. St. Mary's led 57-49 with about two and a half minutes to go. The final score was 76-71. That means 41 points were scored in the last couple of minutes, after only 106 were scored in the first 38 minutes!

You can guess a lot of Under bettors were furious. The whole scene reminded me of something I should remind YOU. Don't bet on short underdogs if the opposing favorite can make free throws!

St. Mary's was a three or four-point favorite in this late Monday matchup. Here's what they're scoring chart looked like on the play by play late in the game:

2:25 left: 2 made free throws
2:01 left: 1 missed free throw
1:49 left: 2 made free throws
1:36 left: 1 make, 1 miss
1:20 left: 1 make, 1 miss
1:01 left: 2 made free throws
0:43 left: 2 made free throws
0:36 left: 1 make, 1 miss
0:27 left: 2 made free throws
0:20 left: 2 made free throws
0:15 left: 2 made free throws
0:09 left: 2 made free throws

That's 19 of 23 made free throws. Even though a feisty dog kept scoring points and trying to cover the spread, St. Mary's just kept marching to the line and taking care of business:

  • If St. Mary's has only made 15-16 of those free throws, the Red Storm would have covered.
  • If St. Mary's had choked (which we see all the time in this sport), and missed about half...the Red Storm easily could have won the game (and they would have stopped fouling with about 45 seconds left too because they'd have tied the game or been ahead).

You see...if the opposing favorite has inconsistent free throw shooters, your underdog bets are that much stronger. You can win outright without even having to sweat the ending. You may be in a nailbiter where the teams run out the clock waiting for a last shot and you get the money. Or, you can be behind by as many as 10 points but still have a real shot to cover because the other team can't seal the deal.

But, if the opposing favorite has one or two ballhandlers who can make pressure free throws, you may win riding time most of the night but still lose at the end. Or, you can kiss your bet good bye when you're down 10 in the last few minutes because you've got no real shot of catching up. You almost HAVE to win OUTRIGHT to win your bet because the free throws are going to kill you if you're trailing.

Keep that in mind as you try to pick out your best underdog bets in college basketball this week and all season long. Some live dogs aren't as good as they seem. Some dogs that don't seem so live at first glance are actually GREAT plays because the favorite doesn't know how to finish off a game. I strongly urge you to look up the free throw performances of the ballhandlers in the games you're most focused on. And, as you watch all the games on TV this month and through the Big very close attention to what's happening late in games. Teams who choke early in the season often show that tendency for months...particularly in high pressure games late in the season.

When ESPN started that big TV showcase earlier this week...I saw a lot of hoops fans in sportsbooks who wanted to bet, but didn't really know who to take yet. They hadn't prepared. They were caught flat-footed by the start of the season because they've been paying so much attention to football. Does that describe you? Are you ready to win some Las Vegas basketball bets...but you're just not ready to handicap? Let TONY SALINAS do the work for you!

My HIGH ROLLER picks are available daily here at the website. The exact same games I'm betting the biggest myself go up a few hours before tipoff. You can also sign up for seasonal packages, or add basketball to any existing football package. Call 1-888-536-8880 for details.

If you try to fade teams who know how to make free throws, you'll be taking the worst of it. Sign up with TONY SALINAS and start GETTING THE BEST OF IT!


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