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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Monday, February 26, 2018 at 2:00 PM

We have some conference tournaments getting started this week, including the high profile Big Ten tournament featuring potential #1 NCAA Tournament seeds Michigan State and Purdue. With that in mind, I wanted to go over how professional wagerers prepare for conference tournaments.

*I’ve always emphasized to you the importance of being ready EARLY. Sharps know their numbers in every game before anything hits the board. That’s why they’re able to pick off soft openers and get their money positioned well from the outset. Have your Power Ratings locked in as soon as the regular season ends in each league. Make your lines for every upcoming matchup the minute the brackets are announced. That way, you’re ready to go once openers hit the board. This might be the single biggest difference between sharps and squares in the conference tournaments. Squares (the public) wait to see what a number is before beginning their process. Sharps have finished their process before the first number comes up. Because the bulk of tournaments don’t begin until NEXT week, you should be getting your ducks in a row right now for ALL the major and mid-major conferences.

*Sharps pay attention to late season form. Many of the models or algorithms place a greater weight on the last 5-7 games. I know a few guys who ONLY look at the last 5-7 games because everything before that is old news. If you want to bet the tournaments like a sharp, forget anything that happened back in November or December. Teams have changed a lot since then. Some for the better, some for the worse. Try to lock into current form as best you can.

*Sharps pay attention to injuries! There are a lot of teams right now who are hoping to get a key player back in time for the postseason, or who just now got a key player back after an injury. Be sure you know what each team typically does at full strength. Evaluate as best you can what the impact of any recent injuries could be in the postseason. Some middle-rung teams throw in the towel if an important player is lost. Others play great if they “just” got healthy, often going very deep or pulling off a shocking tournament win. Don’t be a square who ignores injury reports and just assumes everything will work out.

*Sharps pay much less attention to “intangibles” like “need to win” and “revenge” than you might think. If a team “needs” to win because it’s on the bubble for the Big Dance, it’s probably not talented enough to go out and make anything happen. Quality teams are already locked in. Do you want to bet on a likely overpriced mediocre team just because it “needs” to win? If anything, sharps will take the opponent with those extra points if too many squares are betting based on what they heard about the bubble on an ESPN studio show.

Thus far, YOU might be on the wrong side of all these. You don’t pay attention to injuries or the most recent form, you DO pay attention to “bracketology” chatter when you shouldn’t. And, you wait until sharps have taken away line value before you even get involved in the betting process. I want you to think like a sharp and bet like a sharp. Get focused!

One final point for when the tournaments begin. Sharps pay a lot of attention to how teams may or may not be affected by the grind of a tournament. Every winner plays again in the next round. Which teams have the depth to string together victories? Which are more likely to fall back to earth with a thud after scoring a big but draining victory? Who got lucky in their first win with hot three-point shooting? Who advanced despite having a poor day from long range? Sharps either read a lot of boxscores, or scrape them into their databases so that their models can do the right work for them. Don’t you make the mistake of thinking that watching the games you bet on and rooting for your teams is enough to get the job done. Do the work it takes to stay up to speed across all the tournaments you plan to bet. 

You regulars know that college basketball has always been my favorite sport to handicap and bet. Obviously, the arrival of the tournaments is my favorite TIME to bet my favorite sport! My personal Power Ratings are locked in. I’m ready to go.

You can purchase my nightly BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155. I have very affordable rates for basketball through March Madness or the NBA Championships. Let your friend behind the line in Las Vegas guide you through the most exciting month on the sports betting calendar.

Thanks for reading. See you again later this week to talk more about the winning strategies of sharp betting in college basketball.

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