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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 1:00 PM

Recreational bettors often have huge troubles making smart picks in first round NCAA Tournament games matching “teams they’ve heard of” vs. “teams they haven’t.” They know that upsets are common in the Big Dance. But, those point spreads seem so low when a team like LSU (who earned the #1 seed in the SEC) is laying single digits to a team like Yale (does the Ivy League still play basketball?).

Here are the mistakes they commonly make:

*Betting all the bigger-name favorites

*Betting way too much on favorites assuming blowouts are coming

*Randomly choosing dogs because they’re “supposed to.”

*Trusting something they heard some guy on ESPN say

JIM HURLEY knows this is tricky. There are upsets every year, sometimes from teams nobody saw coming. There are blowouts every year because a few of the mid-major entries really are overmatched pretenders. Too many novices zig and zag at the wrong time, losing almost ALL of their picks because they’re favorites showed up flat and their dogs were runts.

With the action about to come at a frenzied pace Thursday and Friday, the HANDICAPPING NOTEBOOK has put together some tips for handicapping these types of matchups. First, let’s isolate the games we’re talking about. Here’s a quick region-by-region list of matchups between power conferences and dangerous mid-majors, only using games with single-digit point spreads. We’re not talking about the projected blowouts in 1-16 and 2-15 games where garbage time will determine who gets the money. If there are destined to be upsets, they’ll probably come from this list. (Seeds are in parenthesis.)



LSU (3) vs. Yale (14)

Mississippi State (5) vs. Liberty (12)

Maryland (6) vs. Belmont (11)



Kansas State (4) vs. Cal Irvine (13)

Villanova (6) vs. St. Mary’s (11)



Kansas  (4) vs. Northeastern (13)

Auburn (5) vs. New Mexico State (12)



Florida State (4) vs. Vermont (13)

Marquette (5) vs. Murray State (12)

If you’ve been following March Madness coverage on TV, or watching the new “sports betting” shows that are popping up everywhere…you’ve heard somebody pick EACH of those dogs to score an upset! Those are the most logical Cinderellas because they’re seeded respectfully and facing favorites who are capable of laying eggs (or who are tired from winning conference championships like Villanova, Auburn, and Florida State).

Note that there are also THREE games currently where a mid-major is FAVORED over a team from one of the Power Six. Those are Utah State (8) vs. Washington (9) and Wofford (7) over Seton Hall (10) in the Midwest, and Nevada (7) over Florida (10) in the West. A fourth will be added soon because Buffalo (6) will be favored over the winner of Wednesday night’s St. John’s/Arizona State game.

If the smaller schools win those as short favorites, they will then be in Cinderella “spots” in the brackets over the weekend against either #1, #2, or #3 seeds. So, the same lessons will apply there.


Bet mid-major UNDERDOGS when:

*The dog can shoot three-pointers

*The dog has some defensive size inside

*The dog has a superstar scorer facing a soft defense

*The favorite closed the season poorly

*The favorite has a soft defense

*The favorite is turnover prone

*The favorite has a head coach who struggles in the postseason


Bet major-conference FAVORITES when:

*The dog is undersized and likely to get outrebounded badly

*The dog plays soft defense by tournament standards

*The dog wins with a “gimmick” that won’t work here

*The favorite has a versatile offense

*The favorite has a stifling defense

*The favorite is talented, but coming off a bad result last week

By “gimmick,” we mean something like a zone defense, or a full-court press. Mid-major underdogs that run a full-court press can shock favorites with bad guards or who are poorly coached. But, that same exact team will get bulldozed by good guards who know how to break a press.

It’s less common now, but some smaller teams will play a “40 minutes of frenzy” approach at a very fast tempo. That can squash bad teams during the regular season. Versus great favorites, it just allows dunk after dunk in a blowout loss.

Note that today’s keys emphasize KNOWING SOMETHING about all the teams! If you haven’t been following college basketball very closely this past season, particularly for those lesser-known dogs, you’re probably wasting your money by betting your own picks. You’ll be lucky to break even in wins and losses, which is a loser anyway against the vig. If you do worse, you’ll dig an early hole you can’t climb out of.

JIM HURLEY is a PROVEN WINNER in the NCAA Tournament because he knows which underdogs have the best chances to cover or win outright, and he knows which favorites are going to blow and go. He doesn’t win them all. Nobody does. But, he does put you in position to make money session by session throughout the most exciting sports betting event in the calendar year.

You can purchase BIG, JUICY WINNERS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, please call us in the office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155. NETWORK has value-priced packages that take you through the NIT and NCAA Tournaments, or through the NBA Playoffs that finish in June. Major League action started Wednesday morning with Seattle beating Oakland 9-7 in Japan. Be sure you ask about combo packages with baseball when you call.

Ever since the Super Bowl ended, you’ve been waiting for March Madness to arrive. IT’S HERE! Be sure you GET ALL THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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