WEEKLY SPORTS WRAP-UP – Mar 15th, 2007

WEEKLY SPORTS WRAP-UP – March 15th, 2007

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament: 17 days of pure adrenaline and anxiety, a two-week plus national binge of basketball and back stories of perseverance and triumph over adversity.  17 days of upsets and emotions, of Cinderellas and last minute heroics.  This half month known as March Madness is to many the greatest 17 days of the year, when there is no rest as we march on to the coronation of college basketball’s champion.  Also, it is one helluva time for gambling.

If you work in America, then you should know what a tourney bracket is.  If you’re reading this paper, then you might not.  A bracket represents the field of match-ups; you pick the winners, just like that.  Some like to analyze types of teams and personnel in selecting the winners, some go by team colors.  If you want to listen to a writer whose playoff predictions/analyses in the other sports is about 25%, then read on. 

First, the obvious.  #1 seeds have never lost an opening round game, and #2 teams have only lost four times, so it is best not to go against them in the first round.  In fact, a top three seed have won the whole thing in 19 of the last 22 years.  Since high seeds are the preconceived favorites and are set up with the easiest road to the Final Four, it just seems natural.  Coupled with that is the fact that no team below a #8 seed won the tournament since it went to the 64 team format, seeding is pretty good indicator, but not always.  Seemingly every year a 12th seed beats a 5th seed. 

When trying to set up your brackets, one of the best signs of a team that will help you take money from people is having a star player.  Not just a good player, All-America level player, especially a preseason All-American, who had the pressure of that title hanging over him all year.  Also, a high scoring team tend to do well, especially if their frontcourt is putting up the majority of the points.  Balance scoring actually seems to be a bad thing, since it indirectly signifies that a team doesn’t have a go-to scorer.

Don’t care about filling out brackets?  Just want to bet on the games?  Then watch the spread.  Vegas always put out the line right after the announcement of the matchups, then shift the line back and forth.  Why?  The knowledgeable betters put money down early, whereas the majority tend to bet on game day. 

Those who don’t know and are searching for answers pick up on the shift of the spread, thinking the odds makers are reconsidering who will win, or at least how well the teams match up.  Wrong!  It’s actually the opposite.  They want to split up the smart betters from the lazy betters, thereby hedging their odds of taking your money.  So if you want to wait to the last minute, go against the shift of the spread.  Do that and you just might win, or might not.  I, for one, don’t condone gambling, which is an evil, evil thing.  Money is the root of all evil, and gambling is the quickest way of gaining money, which is the fastest road to Hell.  Don’t go to Hell!