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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, March 10, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Tournament Week is here in college basketball. So, I’ve put together some tips you can refer to all through the week when trying to pick winners in all the major conference tournaments…and the mid-major tournaments that haven’t been played yet. My next scheduled report will run early next week, when we discus tips for handicapping the NCAA Tournament. I reserve the right to come back before then with one or two “read and react” editions of supplemental coursework depending on how the week develops.

 

EARLY, THE MOTIVATION FACTOR IS MOST IMPORTANT

I usually emphasize PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS in my handicapping. But, the early round games of ALL the tournaments played this week will largely be swung by who cares more. So many teams have already thrown in the towel that it doesn’t much matter what their talent level is, or what they’re strengths are. They’re ready for the season to end. They’re sick of their head coach. They’re sick of each other. Do not bet on these teams!

Serious handicappers should review straight up and ATS results from the final three weeks of the regular season to determine who these lame duck teams are. At the very least, leave their games alone (some will be facing each other!). If you can find reasons to back their opponent, do so with confidence.

 

THE MOTIVATION FACTOR CAN ALSO WORK AGAINST GOOD TEAMS

It’s not just “towel-tossers” who should be avoided this week. You also have to guard against a lack of motivation from cream of the crop teams who are looking ahead to the Big Dance. It’s very hard for a team that just won the regular season conference championship to bring peak intensity day-after-day this week in what must feel like an exhibition. Who cares about a conference tournament when the national championship challenge begins next week? There are a few superpowers that I will love next weekend and in the Sweet 16…who I wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole this weekend.

 

BET ON TEAMS WITH SOMETHING TO PROVE

Motivation works both ways…killing the chances for some teams because they’re not motivated…but inspiring others to rise up and play their best ball of the season. Any team that feels “disrespected” is going to get some results in their conference tournaments. Revenge factors also come into play if a team was swept in the regular season, or lost their only meeting against that day’s opponent. I advised you last week to be cautious with “bubble” teams. Try to find those who have PLAYMAKERS and are matched up against an opponent who is likely to be flat. Pointspreads are so cheap in tournaments that you can often get a motivated bubble team as a dog against a flat favorite. Don’t lay big points with inconsistent bubble teams. It’s okay to back them at favorable prices against a distracted or disinterested opponent.

 

BEYOND MOTIVATION, FOCUS ON THE FUNDAMENTALS

It’s easy to get lost in the “intangibles” of handicapping during a week like this. If you watch a lot of games, it will strike you how often the classic fundamentals of basketball still rule the day.

 

*Turnover prone teams lose, often self-destructing late in close games

*Teams who can’t make free throws lose, often blowing late leads

*Teams who can’t rebound lose, because opponents get too many putbacks

*Teams who can’t work for open shots lose, because hero-ball is easy to defend

 

I’m constantly amazed by all the whining in sportsbooks from public bettors who have no idea about the true strengths and weaknesses of the teams they’re betting on. They’re furious about missed free throws, even though that team has been missing free throws all season. They’re furious about turnovers even though that team doesn’t have any trustworthy guards. Those of you who have been students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping should have a good read on team strengths and weaknesses now. Put that to good use this weekend.

If you’d like some help, you can purchase my daily tournament BEST BETS right here at this very website with your major credit card. I’ll have plays for day and night sessions as a general rule. Additional assistance is available in the home office of Vegas-Sports-Masters. You can call and talk to one of my representatives at 1-888-777-4155.

This is one of the most exciting weeks of the calendar year for sports bettors. Many prefer it to next week because there are more games and the schedule is more intense. Best of luck to all of you do-it-yourselfers. I’ll talk to you again early next week at the latest with some guidance for the Big Dance. Check this website regularly for additional bulletins and possible bonus coursework depending on how Tournament Week plays out. Let’s go make some money!

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