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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Monday, March 6, 2017 at 7:00 AM

One of the biggest misconceptions about betting Futures prices is that you have to win your bet to win money. It’s true that…IF THAT’S YOUR ONLY BET…then you have to win it to cash. But, sharps don’t bet Futures that way. Sharps bet futures to position themselves to guarantee profits with later bets.

Let’s say you have your eye on an “off-the-radar” team that you believe has a good chance to reach at least the Sweet 16. Maybe they’re playing great of late and the media hasn’t noticed. Maybe they’re a veteran team with a solid point guard who’s just been kind of chugging along lately. They’re built for tournament basketball, and may be ready to grab the headlines soon. Maybe there’s a head coach you trust to get the job done in the Dance. Remember that Butler was always a longshot back when Brad Stevens was coaching!

You don’t necessarily believe that your team is going to run the table and cut down the nets. But, you think they’re a bigger Dance threat than the market is giving them credit for. Here’s one way to go about it.

*Place a relatively small bet at big odds to win the championship (“bet a little to win a lot” as they say).

*If the team does make it to the Sweet 16, start hedging that big payoff by making moneyline bets on their opponents.

Remember, you only bet a little initially…so there’s plenty of “air” between that first bet and the huge payout if they run the table. If you’re thinking like a sharp, your bet is really that they’ll make at least the Sweet 16. From that point on, it’s like selling stock. You start betting on their opponents in a way that covers your initial small bet if your team is eliminated…but still allows a solid profit if they keep winning.

I get that a lot of you aren’t used to “betting against yourself” like that. Your mindset is to keep rooting for Dayton, Iowa State, Northwestern, or whoever your pick was to keep winning all the way. Well, that first bet is still doing that! Now you should be rooting for yourself to maximize the strength of your position. Dayton, Iowa State, or Northwestern are all capable of getting some wins…but probably aren’t capable of winning the event unless there are a slew of surprises knocking out dangerous threats all over the brackets.

Squares look at the Futures prices and limit themselves to thinking about who’s going to cut down the nets before the TV network plays “One Shining Moment.” Sharps look at the Futures prices to find ways to make money.

Are you the type of bettor who only looks at the prices on the superpowers because you figure one of them will win the tourney? Here’s a composite of Futures prices that are available offshore right now for select teams that are further down the list…

West Virginia and Baylor: 25/1

Florida: 28/1

Purdue and Virginia: 33/1

Notre Dame: 60/1

Iowa State and Wichita State: 100/1

Dayton: 150/1

Northwestern and South Carolina 200/1

Based on computer and market Power Ratings, the first few teams I mentioned are expected to make it to the Sweet 16. And, it wouldn’t be a shocker if any of those other teams won a couple of games in the Dance and snuck into the second weekend. Look at how big some of those prices are!

I know longtime sharps who will play it this way with several teams entering the Dance. And, they don’t necessarily wait until the brackets are announced. They’re positioned already on Dance-bound teams they respect. Solid handicapping will be rewarded with a lot of doubles and singles with this approach, and maybe the occasional home run. What’s the worst that can happen? Losing a few of those initial very small bets.

The goal of these articles is to teach you how to think like a sharp and bet like a sharp. Too many squares want “a sure thing” that they can win big on RIGHT NOW. Sharps position themselves intelligently to take what the market is giving while managing risk. Do your best to start thinking along those lines as you study college basketball through this week’s conference tournaments.

If you’d like some help finding the sharpest plays on the daily betting board, you can purchase my BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about longterm packages, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155. As I mentioned last time, “rest of the season” packages will also cover the NIT, the CBI, and the College Insider Tournament.

Thanks for reading. See you again in a couple of days as market coverage will continue on an accelerated schedule through my favorite betting month of the calendar year.

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