Why Making Your March Madness Picks Early Pays Off

Small schools like Dayton often have a lot of value on the early March Madness betting lines. (Photo credit: ChadCooperPhotos via Foter.com / CC BY)

As I’m writing this, there’s 3 weeks to go before March Madness tips off (technically, a little less than 3 weeks because of the play-in games, but I refuse to acknowledge those as being part of the NCAA basketball tournament.)

Most people will wait until a day or two before the tournament before doing some light research and making their March Madness picks.

However, you can get a real leg up on the oddsmakers and improve your chances of making money on the NCAA basketball tournament if you start doing your homework now.

Pinnacle Sports wrote an article today about how there’s often so much value available in the NCAA basketball opening lines. Here’s an excerpt:

In NCAA basketball, it’s not uncommon for a total to move as much as 10 points, or for some handicaps to move five points. The early NCAA basketball sharps will bet heavily on these openers – which can be very profitable.

When you make your March Madness picks the day of the games, or even a day before, most of the value in the betting lines is already gone.

Sportsbooks like Pinnacle Sports and BetOnline post opening lines at lower limits and then allow the sharpest bettors to ‘shape’ the lines for the rest of us. In other words, if a line is off, the early betting action will indicate that to the sportsbook and they’ll adjust the point spread or total accordingly.

With more than 300 teams in NCAA basketball, it’s virtually impossible for oddsmakers to have a good read on all of them. If you focus on one conference (ideally a mid-major or even one of the small conferences) and become an expert on all the teams, coaches and players, you’ll be ready to pounce on those soft opening lines Selection Sunday before the sharp money hammers them into place.

RELATED: 10 Tips for making your March Madness picks