Pregame Blogs

Pregame Blogs
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Team depth is one of the most important factors to consider when handicapping the college basketball tournaments.  Teams that normally play only 30 games for the entire season may suddenly be playing as many as 3 games back-to-back or 4 games in 7 days. 


Some teams may play one or more overtime periods and then be required to come back and play again the next day.  Syracuse, for example, played 6 overtime periods before winning on Thursday night.  The game ended at 1:45 in the morning, and Syracuse had to come back the next evening and play again.  Worse yet, the team had to play a third time on Saturday. 


The best way to bet "tired legs" teams, however, is not necessarily to play against them in the upcoming game.  In the Syracuse game, for instance, everyone knew about the six OT game, and the line was skewed by giving Syracuse an extra 4 points in the game the next day. 


Half-time lines, however, are based on the results of the first half, and in most cases will not be adjusted in the same manner.  Further, if a team is tired, it is the second-half of the second or third back-to-back game in which the exhaustion is likely to have the most effect.  Second half lines are posted for all the college basketball games during the March Tournaments.


In Syracuse?s Friday game against West Virginia they were 6-point underdogs.  Miraculously, they won the game on Saturday straight up by 4 points despite having played to 1:45 AM the day before.  Syracuse racked up a big lead in the first half, but lost the second half even though they hung on to win the game.  On Sunday, Syracuse finally hit the wall.  They got off to a 10-point lead at the half and looked like they may be, to quote Jake Blues, on a "mission from god."   The prayers of the Syracuse fans were not to be answered, however, as Syracuse fell to pieces, their legs went numb and rubbery, and they lost the by 20 points in the second half to give those who bet on Louisville for the second half a no-sweat win. 


Here?s what to look for when betting Tournament second halves:

  1. Teams playing back-to-back when matched against a rested team.
  2. Teams playing back-to-back when the prior day?s game was played at night, and the current game is being played in the afternoon.
  3. Teams playing back-to-back that played one or more overtime periods the day before, particularly when playing against a team that is rested.
  4. Teams playing back-to-back that had hard fought, close, and physical game the day before when playing against a team that garnered an easy win the day before and was able to rest their starters in the second half.
  5. Teams playing in back-to-back that have poor depth, when matched against teams that have good depth. 
  6. Teams playing their third game in three days or their 4th game in 7 days, particularly when playing against a team with an easier schedule or more depth.

The ?tired legs? situations listed above will have the greatest effect on performance in the second half of games.  Even if the rested team has gotten off to a big lead in the first half, there is less worry about a back-door second half win by the tired team because any let-down by the rested team will be balanced by the exhaustion of the tired team.  Finally, second half lines are set based on the score at the end of the first half, and therefore there is no worry about the line being skewed because one team is less rested.

RULE:  In situations in which tired legs is a factor, always bet against the tired legs team in the second half rather in the first half or in the game.

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  • Matty -- Thanks for pointing out Louisville.  

    Has anybody used the system for picking second-half teams?

  • This is master class level stuff!

  • Great stuff Rob - I think Louisville is the best second-half team in the country, and they proved it in beating Villanova and Syracuse easily by double digits after trailing both by eight points at halftime the last two games.