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March Madness: Getting the Jump On Oddsmakers
by Bovada Sportsbook

March Madness delivers some of the most entertaining college basketball of the year. With so many games on the board every round of March Madness guarantees at least a few major upsets. For bettors wanting to get a jump on the action by learning how to bet on the March Madness point spreads, here are some things to keep in mind:

Understanding NCAA Basketball Point Spreads

The point spread is the number of points allocated and shown with a "+" sign for the favorite and a "-" sign for the underdog. The favorite has to win by more than the point spread in order for you to win if you bet on the favorite.

During March Madness, the NCAA basketball point spreads are much more affected by the general public because it tends to attract a larger number of novice bettors than the regular season. Oddsmakers take that sudden surge into account and adjust their point spreads accordingly. But for bettors who have been following the regular season and are familiar with different teams from different conferences, they can still get the jump on oddsmakers early on in the tournament.

Location, Location, Location

Linesmakers adjust their March Madness point spreads for travel and home-court advantage during the NCAA Tournament much like they do during the regular season, but they don't always adjust them enough. This small oversight gives the informed bettor added value when it comes to wagering on teams playing in "friendly" courts and against teams forced to travel across the country.

In 2006, for example Duke played "neutral site" games a the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina en route to the Elite Eight, while UCLA parlayed two "neutral site" games at the Cox Arena in San Diego into wins, and then captured two more victories (Sweet 16 and Elite Eight) in the Oakland Arena before earning a spot in the title game. Playing all their games in California really seemed to make a difference.

As soon as the selection process is completed and the participating schools are announced, placed and seeded, it's a good idea to take a close look at the schedule to determine the teams' travel times.

The Madness that is March

With the bulk of the games being played during the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, if there are any surprise victories to come out of that first round you can pretty much expect oddsmakers to overreact in setting their March Madness point spreads. This leaves the door open for sharp bettors to take note and take advantage of second-round opportunities.

However, oddsmakers tend to get stingy with their March Madness point spreads with big-name schools like North Carolina (so you're not likely to gain much ground there), but for lesser-known schools there is still good value to be found for bettors looking to take that leap of faith.

5Dimes Sportsbook