March Madness is upon us, the best time of the year for a sports betting aficionado. You have NCAA (mens and womens) tournaments, NBA, NHL, and preseason MLB action all going on at once. And the NCAA action goes on throughout the day, making the workday bearable again, for a few weeks at least.

 

This is also the time of year where Vegas has the potential to make a huge profit. Billions of dollars in wagers, both on bracket style pools and actual game bets, will be made, worldwide, throughout the NCAA tournament. Vegas, and bookies for that matter, stay in business because they always have an edge over the bettor and that will never change. The house advantage is always, at minimum, 11-10. Combine that with the fact that during tournament time in particular, the highest number of recreational bettors come out of hiding to place wagers on games en masse, and you have the perfect conditions for Vegas to clean up.

 

All this extra public ("square") money floods the betting market and presents a perfect opportunity for the books to capitalize.

 

In order to do this, Vegas will inflate lines, particularly on favorites (public darlings like Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Duke, etc.) and overs, throughout the tournament. Vegas does this knowing that “square” recreational bettors (usually not as savvy as more seasoned, knowledgeable bettors) will still bet these inflated lines (particularly on favorites and overs) regardless.

 

"Squares" say to themselves, "Kentucky is the best team ever! They will annihilate University X!"

They don't research the game, they don't look at the numbers, and they don't realize that the line should really be lower than it is.They're like a race horse wearing blinders. It's long been the case that casual bettors wager on a game, they lean toward favorites, especially the popular teams or the teams perceived as "hot". In addition, they love to bet overs when it comes to game totals. Betting unders is not as exciting because you are essentially rooting against scoring. It’s opposite to everything the "square" wants to do -- bet an over and cheer on every basket.

With all these factors in play, this is arguably the best time of year for smart, knowledgeable bettors to make a profit.

The opportunities will present themselves. You must be selective and pay attention. You have to research games carefully, pay attention to line movements, look for edges, and identify skewed numbers. To capitalize, betting underdogs and game unders will be a necessity.

The sportsbooks are willing to leave the door open for smart bettors to score and that's what I intend to do. Good luck!

Related:


Thursday's NCAA games you should play hooky for

2012 NCAA Tournament: Breaking down the bracket

Guy's guide to the NCAA Tournament