Look For Bracket Buster Dogs

With handicapping legend Tony Salinas


This is 'Bracket Buster' Week in college basketball, where the weekend card is PACKED with interesting matchups involving mid major programs.

There are always a few tablesetters on Friday Night (with Virginia Commonwealth at Wichita State being the highlight this year). Then, Saturday, it's a smorgasbord of money-making opportunities.

As I tell you every season, smart handicappers will emphasize UNDERDOG selections in the Bracket Buster games. I'm not saying dogs will cover every game. And, I myself may be on a few small favorites if I believe the oddsmaker has misread the teams involved. But, as a general rule, you want to take the points in the Bracket Busters.

Here's why:

*Teams get fired up for this special event. It's like a 'bowl' day for basketball. When motivation is even, you're going to get games that go right down to the wire, and many upsets. College basketball blowouts happen when the inferior team plays flat, or gives up early when things don't go their way. That happens much less often in the Bracket Busters than in normal regular season games.

*An 'us against the world' mentality strikes many underdogs. They may be travelling to a place they've never heard of (kids don't know geography the way they used to). They may be facing a team that's getting more respect nationally (kids are computer savvy, and know the computer rankings). Often a coach will convince them that they HAVE to play well here to have a chance to do anything in March. Or, the players will realize that they're probably not going to the Big Dance anyway, and THIS is their big game of the season. A variety of reasons, but they all add up to the same thing...a motivated underdog.

*Home favorites often get overconfident because they're playing a team they're not familiar with. A lot of these schools have funny sounding names. Kids know all about Syracuse, Kentucky, or UCLA. They watch cable TV on off nights like the rest of us. They've seen limited footage, or NO footage of the team their playing. They figure it's going to be easy, and get caught flat footed right out of the gate.

*Officiating is more fair in Bracket Buster games because nobody wants to be accused of home cooking. Some conferences this year are showing a lot of home team covers with the hosts winning the free throw battle. That's less likely in a spot like this because the refs know they have to call it straight.

*And, as is always the case, the lines are inflated against the favorites because that's who the public wants to bet! You may be getting a free half point or point in every game. Sometimes more. I could probably point to three or four games a year where you were getting a free FIVE points because oddsmakers didn't know these mid major conferences very well, and the public bet bad favorites anyway!

You regulars know I'm an action player, so I'll have money involved in many of these Bracket Buster games. I don't recommend that approach for everyone. My personal clients only get the exact same games I'm betting the biggest myself. Whether you like action or prefer just a few big games, I suggest these guidelines for Friday and Saturday.

*If you LOVE a FAVORITE, make sure you have plenty of reasoning and aren't just having a knee jerk reaction to the line. If additional time doesn't change your mind, then place a conservative Las Vegas bet on the favorite.

*If you LIKE a FAVORITE, you should probably PASS. You're taking the worst of it on the line, meaning favorites are rarely as good as they seem.

*If you don't like a game, PASS it and move on. Plenty of action on a huge weekend.

*If you LIKE a DOG, play it a little big stronger than your normal regular season underdog opinions. Bracket Buster history makes this very clear. Go back and look at all of last year's upsets if you don't believe me.

*If you LOVE a DOG, it should probably be one of your biggest plays in February. Now, for some of you, you don't even know what means to love an underdog! It's either favorite or pass in most games for way too many of you. But if your handicapping isolates a great dog situation, Bracket Busters are where you take a stand. You should ALWAYS bet responsibly within the guidelines of your personal bankroll. Maybe this is 3% or 4% of your bankroll instead of 1% or 2%.

I'm looking forward to a great week of basketball leading up to the Bracket Busters. You can get the exact same plays I'm betting the biggest myself right here at the website with your credit card every day of the week. Selections go up a few hours before first tip. Or, sign up for the full season and enjoy a price break. If you have any questions, call the office at 1-888-536-8880.

From the Big Monday doubleheader...through a week of great TV games...through Bracket Buster weekend...and all the way through the conference tournaments and March Madness, make sure you're GETTING THE BEST OF IT with TONY SALINAS!

'GETTING THE BEST OF IT' is an ongoing series presented by VegasSportsMasters.com and legendary high roller TONY SALINAS. For more information on TONY'S handicapping packages, call 1-888-536-8880.


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