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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 4:00 PM

With the conference tournaments upon us, and the NCAA Tournament less than a week away, I wanted to spend some time reviewing for you how sharps (professional wagerers) time the market with their bets.

New lines will be popping up at a relatively random but furious pace these next few days in particular. A result today sets up a new matchup tomorrow…and that new matchup needs a pointspread!

Here’s what you need to remember.

*If sharps like a favorite, they bet EARLY. They know the general public prefers betting favorites to an extreme degree. The best line you’re going to get on a publicly popular favorite is the opener. Waiting just takes away your value because every half point matters. Some squares really don’t care if they’re laying -3.5, -4, or -5 on their favorite team…or on a team they’re convinced is going to win a blowout. Sharps know that enough games land on 4 or 5 that getting in at -3.5 is worth real money over the long haul.

*If sharps like a dog, they WAIT. They’re confident the public is going to drive the line higher. So, they wait to get that +5 if it becomes available rather than jumping in early at +3.5. Because the flow of the market is so close to being universal…smart bettors wait for better numbers on underdogs…trying to use their experience to divine the apex.

Are there any exceptions to those rules? There are rare circumstances that will see sharps vary their course…

*If sharps know that other sharps also love the underdog…in a game where the favorite isn’t particularly loved by the public or media (say an unheralded mid-major that hasn’t been on TV much), THEN sharps will jump in early to avoid a feeding frenzy involving other Wise Guys. Here’s a quick example from Wednesday’s tournament action.

Ohio State opened at -7 vs. Rutgers

Marshall opened at -7 vs. Florida Atlantic

Ohio State is a well-known program that squares like to bet on name alone (particularly against a bad team like Rutgers). Marshall? Squares don’t follow them. First action pushed Ohio State up to -7.5, but Marshall down to -6.5. Not exactly a feeding frenzy on Florida Atlantic. But, dog lovers had no reason to wait in that spot. 

*Talking about “advanced” sports betting strategy now…if sharps know they’re going to really like an underdog in a game involving a public favorite. They may jump in big early to help create false momentum for the favorite. The public piles on…and the line really scoots. THEN, sharps “come back over the top” with a much bigger bet on the underdog at the better price. This gives them preferred pricing AND sets up a middle where they can win both bets.

It would go like this:

Small to medium bet on public favorite at -3.5

Large to very large bet on opposing underdog at +5 or better

The sharp is rooting for a nice payoff if the dog covers +5, a small-to-medium bet victory if the game lands exactly on five, and a huge sweep if the game lands exactly on four. Now, a lot of neutral court tournament games end up very close to the number…so this is great work if you can get it!

So, if you want to think like a sharp and bet like a sharp, you should take favorites early and dogs late. If you’re confident that a line is going to move strongly toward a public favorite, you should bet that favorite small early to set up your position, then come back over the dog much bigger at the later price. Just don’t get distracted later and forget to make that second bet! (If you’re new to betting, keep it simple…if you’re confident you can handle complexity, start working on maximizing your investment strategies.)

Back again this weekend to talk more about market dynamics in college basketball. My annual “how the sharps are betting” articles will resume Tuesday for the play-in games Tuesday and Wednesday in Dayton. Then, we’ll go DAILY Thursday through Sunday for the rounds of 64 and 32…and again daily a week later for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8.

If you’d like some help finding smart bets in the middle of this basketball tornado, 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. You longtime readers know college basketball has always been my favorite sport to handicap and bet. I’ll do my very best to make you a winner this month.

Thanks for reading!

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