Sweet 16 Tips

With handicapping legend Tony Salinas


After an exciting weekend of thrills and spills, we're down to the final 16 teams in the NCAA Tournament.

This week brings the Sweet 16 rounds Thursday and Friday, followed by the Elite 8 quarterfinal games Saturday and Sunday. Here are some handicapping strategies that have stood the test of time in these rounds.

*FADE THE POWER PROGRAMS! I've been saying for years that you generally get about 8-5 the best of it by betting AGAINST the big name programs in the sport of college basketball. The public loves betting on these teams. Oddsmakers know that and move the line a point or two against them (which you saw repeatedly this past Saturday and Sunday by the way).

If the line 'should' be -4, and Vegas posts a -6, why would you lay the two extra points just for the privilege of rooting for the powers? Over a 100 games, or a lifetime of Vegas betting, isn't it OBVIOUS that taking those points and putting them in your back pocket is the way to go?

There are many prominent schools still in the brackets obviously. Don't lay points with a legendary program unless you can really make a case for a blowout. This series of articles isn't called 'taking the worst of it.' I want you to GET THE BEST OF IT!

*DON'T ASK 3-POINT TEAMS TO WIN IN DOMES! The shooting backdrop is very strange in any football stadium that's converted for basketball. Every so often a team will make it's treys anyway. But, we're trying to win more than half of our bets, not go 100%. Nobody can do that. Over the course of many years, you'll want to emphasize two-point shooting teams in domes. It's okay betting on three-point teams in NBA arenas.

This year...

Southeast Regional in New Orleans (SuperDome)
Southwest Regional in San Antonio (Alamo Dome)

West Regional in Anaheim (Future home of Sacramento Kings?)
East Regional in Newark (New Jersey Nets)

*PROXIMITY MATTERS! I've known this for years. Some recent studies have come out proving what I've been telling everybody. The shorter the trip, the better it is for a team. They don't get tired from travel. They'll be well represented in the crowd. When push comes to shove, late in a game that's right near the number, this can be the difference between a cover and a non-cover. If the game is pick-em, it can decide who wins the final minute. If the game is a blowout...well, it's very uncommon for the team in closest proximity to get blown out!

*DON'T ASK A DOG TO WIN TWICE IN A ROW! If an underdog scores an upset in the Sweet 16 round to reach the weekend, you're better off leaving them alone or betting the other way in the Elite 8. The games are VERY intense at this stage of the tournament. Lesser teams may have 40 great minutes in them, but not 80. You regulars know I prefer underdogs to favorites as a general rule. I will bet favorites in the Elite 8 if the opposing underdog just scored a big upset. I may even bet the occasional big name program because the line doesn't adjust enough against temporary Cinderella's.

*TAKE BRAINS IN SLOW GAMES, SPEED IN FAST GAMES! Pace is going to play a big factor in the games this season. The ability to control pace will largely determine who wins and covers. To GET THE BEST OF IT you really need to put this element in your favor. Take the smartest teams and smartest coaches in halfcourt games, ESPECIALLY if you're getting points. Take the fastest teams at reasonable prices if the opponent won't be able to take them out of their preferred style.

If you follow those guidelines, you'll do well. I've got a lot more where that came from which I'll use when finding the very best options for my personal clients. If you sign up with TONY SALINAS, you always get the exact same games I'm betting the biggest myself. You can do that online with your credit card. Or, call my office at 1-888-536-8880.

Are you about even or down after the first weekend of NCAA Tournament action? It's time to start winning. 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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