NCAA Bracket 2009: How To Make Your Bracket a Winner

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
NCAA Bracket 2009

When it comes to the NCAA Bracket 2009 development, there are always some key strategies that should be employed.

Among them:  Remember the oddsmakers know best (in most cases). 

Immediately following the Selection Sunday outcomes, visit online bookmakers that tend to post their odds quickly such as Bookmaker.com but, more importantly, review these same odds during the morning hours.  A shop like Bookmaker.com is known for its "sharp" bettors (professionals who are not afraid to lay $10,000 and up on a single game).  When these "sharps" hit a game, the line will move dramatically, sometimes by more than a point.

A move of a half point in either direction at the so-called "sharp" sites early on is also indicative of "wise guy" action.  Sites like Bookmaker.com, while they do have volume and can move on volume, will tend not to do so the first 24 hours.  Volume, which is brought on by the general public (or your typical recreational player base) will be recognized after a day of betting.  Line movements will continue to fluctuate over time, but again, it is that first 24 hours (and really the first 12 hours) where early "sharp" action can be recognized. 

You also want to check out Gambling911.com regularly for potential updates.  Look at odds to win each region and if a lower seeded team has better odds of winning that region, there is a good chance that there could be an upset.  You might want to look closely at teams like Arizona, with much shorter odds than their higher-seeded opponent.  UCLA is also getting much shorter odds than their seeding suggests they should. meaning the oddsmakers really like them. 

One piece of advise Gambling911.com feels compelled to give in regard to office pools:  Do not hand in your 2009 NCAA Bracket the first day.  Study those line movements.  Review sites like this one - Gambling911.com - in order to review which teams these so-called "sharps" are on early in the tournament.

Now this doesn't mean the "sharps" are going to be right, nor will this concept get you far beyond the first round for those who need to have their office pools in by Wednesday of this week.  Analysis of lines is useful for the sports bettor throughout the tournament. 

The line to watch may not necessarily be the spread, however.  Gambling911.com suggests watching the money line movements and any dramatic shifts as well.  Keep in mind that the spread is a cover and doesn't necessarily suggest an opinion on an outright win.  The money line represents an outright win, so if you see a particular dark horse getting substantial action on the money line (via a 5, 10, 15 point movement or even greater), that is a team you might want to seriously consider for your NCAA bracket this year. 

An example of this would be if a team were listed with +400 odds on the money line and suddenly dropped to +380.  This indicates that some money is coming in on the underdog to win outright.  Similarly if the favorite had odds of -500 and the money line drops to -400, also consider the underdog.

This is just one of many tools to use when creating your 2009 March Madness bracket.  Study these teams and - if available - review past head-to-head history.  For sports bettors this becomes more widely available as we get into the later rounds since there is a higher likelihood that the top seeded teams will have played one another in recent times. 

There is this historic trend that simply cannot be ignored: 

In the last 20 years, No. 1 seeds have won 70% of the NCAA tournament. No. 2 seeds have won the title 10% of the time - Duke won as a No. 2 seed in 1991 and Kentucky won as a No. 2 in 1998.

Interestingly, No. 3 seeds have actually won 15% of the last 20 NCAA tournaments. Michigan was a No. 3 in 1989; Syracuse was a No. 3 in 2003; and Florida was a No. 3 in 2006.

Add it all up, and 95% of the last 20 tournaments have been won by one, two, or three-seeds.

Dave Deland of SCTimes.com had this to say:

"The easiest way to win an NCAA pool, of course, is to correctly forsee some darkhorse making a run through its regional. But darkhorses don't usually do much running beyond the tournament's first weekend; once you get down to the round of 16, talent and depth and tradition take over and Cinderella usually packs up her pumpkin and goes home.

"Last year's tournament was a perfect example. The men's Final Four? All No. 1 seeds. Only one team below a No. 3 seed - No. 10 Davidson in the Midwest - even made it to a regional final. You can do some damage in your pool if you correctly pick this year's Davidson, but chances are you don't want to pick them too far."

Deland offered some additional top advise for anyone filling out an office pool this year.

"In all likelihood, the champion will come from a small group of the usual heavyweight suspects: North Carolina, UConn, Duke, Oklahoma, Pitt, Louisville, Memphis. When you're filling in your sheet, start with them and ride that pony through the brackets. After that, pick your spots for a few No. 4 vs. No. 13 upsets - but only during the opening week, when the preponderance of NCAA upsets happen. Don't pick teams based on their colors, or nicknames, or mascots. It may sound cute, but it's not a winning strategy."

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher


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