Major Tourney Tips

With handicapping legend Tony Salinas


Last week I outlined several proven handicapping tips for making smart Las Vegas bets in mid major conference tournaments. All the majors will be played this week (Big East, Big 10, Big 12, ACC, SEC, and Pac 10). You have a much higher quality of team on the floor here, and unique motivational dynamics that create some great underdog spots.

Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • First, remember that many (possibly MOST) teams who are already locked in to the NCAA Tournament will get caught flat at some point this week. The coaches and players can talk all they want about trying to win a conference tournament. These events don't mean nearly as much as the Big Dance to the vast majority of players. And, in fact, many of the coaches know you're better off losing after 1-2 games this week than you are killing yourself three days in a row just before the most important event of the season.

That's why there are always so many upsets in the big tournaments. That's why the semifinals and championships often feature "surprise" teams that spoiled the matchups the TV networks (and local ticket buyers) were dreaming of. The public usually bets the big name teams and loses. You need to look for upset spots so you can win!

  • Also, remember that it's much more common for "bubble" teams to choke than it is for them to play great and earn their way into the tournament. This has been one of my strongest edges for years. ESPN and the rest of the media will hype the "must win" teams on the bubble. The lines will go up 1-2 points because everyone's betting on "need." Then, the teams go out and play the most nervous games of their lives. They get too conservative. They miss shots they used to make. And, they're actually playing much WORSE than normal when oddsmakers have priced them to play better than normal.

If I just stopped right here...and told you NOT to bet on the biggest name superpowers and NOT to bet on bubble teams, I'd have probably fixed the biggest leaks in your past betting strategies. Stop throwing money away!

  • Remember that fresh legs usually mean OVERS in college basketball, and tired legs mean UNDERS. The public loves betting Overs in TV games. That often bites them in the butt in the semifinals and finals. You really want to look at Overs in early round action with up tempo teams. They haven't played since the weekend, and they're excited about the tournament atmosphere. I'll only look at first round Unders if the teams are slow-paced and defensive minded. Be sure you're thinking about fatigue as each tournament progresses. You'll GET THE BEST OF IT over a large sampling of totals bets by keeping that at the forefront of your process. You'll pass on losers you used to bet. You'll find winners you never noticed before.

  • If you have access to first half lines, use your full game principals in those as well. I've found over the years that this is a great way to add to your profit. If you like an underdog for motivational reasons, those reasons don't wait until halftime to show up. It's amazing how many flat favorites each year fall behind early against a fired up dog and just never get their mojo back. If you like an Over with fresh legs, the players don't wait until halftime to start running.
  • Bet on athletes rather than brains. That's one of the biggest differences between the majors and the mid majors. The mid major tournaments are often won by the smartest and most disciplined teams in the conference (or the best coached). But, it's very tough for a "finesse" team to string together wins on consecutive days in a major conference tournament. The games are much more physical, and offenses are much more aggressive about attacking the basket (with just a few exceptions from coaches who prefer old-school basketball). The most dangerous teams in major tournaments are those with the best athletes, particularly if they can avoid looking ahead to the Big Dance. Darkhorse teams that go deep are usually athletic teams that underachieved during the regular season.

I'm really looking forward to this week's basketball action. I'm an action player, so I'm very heavily involved in first half and full game personal bets in all the day and night sessions. I don't advise that for most players though. I've made a living as a high roller out here for decades. YOU need to be focusing on the very best plays as you build your bankrolls. That's why my clients get only the games I'm betting the BIGGEST myself.

The very strongest HIGH ROLLER games are yours at a great price right here at the website for credit card purchase. You can sign up for the rest of the season up front at a great rate. Or, log in a few hours before the games start each day and try things out for awhile. Remember we have EARLY sessions all week because there's so much afternoon action.

If you have any questions, call the office at 1-888-536-8880.

Back next week to talk about handicapping tips for the NCAA Tournament and the NIT. Make sure you're GETTING THE BEST OF IT all month long with TONY SALINAS!


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