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How to Handicap March Madness

College basketball bettors and fans alike can easily make a case for March Madness as the most exciting sporting event of the year, especially when it comes to sports wagering. Only the Super Bowl is a more popular event overall although it is just a single NFL game compared to 67 college basketball matchups that make up the entire NCAA Tournament, starting with the First Four play-in games and ending with the national title game.

Sixty-eight of 334 Division I teams earn invitations to the Big Dance and have a shot at winning college basketball’s top prize, culminating with the champion cutting down the nets after putting together six consecutive wins during the single-elimination tournament over the course of three weeks. The massive volume of college basketball betting action during the month of March as a whole is unmatched when you add conference tournaments to the “Madness” mix, which is the main reason why the sport is so much fun to not only watch but also to wager on.

Handicapping the NCAA Tournament the right way can be very rewarding when it comes down to betting on college basketball games in the Big Dance, and many find the best method to start the process is simply filling out a bracket sheet as early as Selection Sunday. As soon as the bracket is released and college basketball matchups in each NCAA Tournament region are revealed, bettors can pick what teams they think will advance throughout the field all the way to the winner of the national championship.

However, most college basketball handicappers often find that taking home bracket pool money based on making prognostications for every matchup well in advance is tougher than picking winners on a game-by-game basis, making the prediction of upsets critical to any bettor’s long-term success when wagering on the NCAA Tournament. Factor in the point spread though, and the task becomes increasingly difficult.

For example, it is a no-brainer to pick a No. 1 seed against a No. 16 seed since the latter has never beaten the former in tourney play. But in 2014, No. 16 seeds went 3-1 against the spread in four games against top seeds, so it pays to research historical past performances of all of the different seeded matchups.

To give you an idea of how rare it is for all four No. 1 seeds to make it to the Final Four, consider there is a better chance of none advancing that far based on previous results. In 2008, four No. 1 seeds made it to the Final Four for the first time in the NCAA Tournament’s 76-year history. In the past decade alone, two of the three all-time occurrences where no No. 1 seeds made it to the Final Four (2006 and 2011) have taken place with a pair of No. 3 seeds, the Florida Gators and Connecticut Huskies, respectively, winning the championship each of those years.

Furthermore, while No. 1 seeds are 120-0 all-time versus No. 16 seeds, No. 9 seeds actually have a better record against No. 8 seeds at 61-59. Then in the next round, No. 1 seeds are 56-5 vs. No. 9 seeds but 48-11 against No. 8 seeds. These are only straight-up statistics, but OddsShark has recent ATS results and scores for every seeded matchup from a historical perspective to save bettors hours of research time.

OddsShark even has a powerful March Madness Betting Odds Database that handicappers can take advantage of to query any matchup between any schools in any round of the NCAA Tournament. In addition, the database can be used to pit team vs. seed and seed vs. seed to gauge performances under more specific scenarios.

You may already know that one of the keys to winning your March Madness bracket contest is picking the one No. 12 seed that seemingly upsets a No. 5 seed every year, but there is much more to this trend than meets the eye. The No. 5 seed is 76-44 all-time in the series, but the OddsShark March Madness Betting Odds Database shows the No. 12 seed is a dominant 8-1-1 ATS in the past 10 meetings, winning eight of them outright. This is another example of exactly the type of invaluable info successful bettors need to make money wagering on March Madness games.

Upsets are inevitable during the NCAA Tournament both SU and ATS, so putting yourself in the best position to pick each game individually will ultimately determine whether you are a long-term winner or loser. And choosing the right college basketball handicapping tools to help you succeed before the Big Dance tips off could be the difference between your team sinking the game-winning three-pointer as time expires for the final leg in a winning parlay or shooting an air ball and losing it all.

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