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Wrapping Up the 2005 NCAA Tournament

--by Rob Gillespie

Aside from the three-pointer that forced overtime between Kentucky and Michigan State during the regional finals, and maybe that one buzzer-beater between Kansas and Bucknell, there really weren't many last-second, rim-dancing buzzer-beaters over the course of this year's NCAA tournament. But there were plenty of miraculous comebacks and nail-biting overtimes!

Thoughts and key stats

This was a year dominated by parity. You had lower ranked teams taking out top seeded teams. Early on, we witnessed a No. 12 team (Wisconsin-Milwaukee) beating a No. 5 team (Alabama); Bucknell surprised everyone and took out a No. 3 team (Kansas). Television ratings were up, handle was up, and teams that had the big lead going into the second half couldn't hang on to win the game, so the momentum switch was fun to watch.

From a sportsbook perspective, though, here are some key stats from the tournament (*based on closing lines):

  • Favorites straight up were 46-15 (2 games closed at Pick'em)
  • Round 1 favs were 26-6
  • Round 2 favs were 10-5 (one Pick'em)
  • Sweet 16 favs were 4-4
  • Elite 8 favs were 3-0 (one Pick'em)
  • Final 4 favs were 3-0
  • Favorites ATS were 30-33 (2 games closed at Pick'em)
  • Round 1 favs were 15-17
  • Round 2 favs were 9-6 (one Pick'em)
  • Sweet 16 favs were 3-5
  • Elite 8 favs were 0-3 (one Pick'em)
  • Final 4 favs were 3-0
It was interesting to see how much the spreads affected Round 1 (11 of 32 games had favorite win but not cover). Six games had pointspreads that opened, closed or moved through the closing margin of victory. In other words, getting the best line on that game by shopping for lines could have made the difference between win/loss/push in nearly 10% of the games!

Best games for the book were (in order):

  • Round 2 - NC State +4 upsetting UConn
  • Round 2 - Wisconsin-Milwaukee +3.5 upsetting Boston College
  • Elite 8 - Villanova +10.5 covering against North Carolina
  • Round 1 - UAB +4 upsetting LSU
  • Round 2 - Texas Tech +2 upsetting Gonzaga

Best games for bettors were (in order):

  • Round 2 - Kentucky -3 over Cincy
  • Round 1 - Arizona -5.5 over Utah State
  • Round 1 - Boston College -7 over Penn
  • Round 1 - Iowa State -1.5 over Minnesota
  • Elite 8 - Illinois -10.5 over Wisconsin-Milwaukee

    When all was said and done, for the first time in 25 years we had a championship game between a No. 1 team and a No. 2 team. North Carolina may have taken home the hardware, but it was Illinois' season from the start. They began a season with a 29-game win streak, held onto the No. 1 ranking, and tied an NCAA record with 37 wins.

    Hard to believe this is Issue #100 already. When I started 3.5 years ago, I never expected it would grow to the distribution level it is now. It has been a lot of fun writing this column but I am running out of ideas and would like to open it up to some of the other great people we have at Bodog. Thank you to all who have read the columns and an even bigger thanks to the thousands who have written in over the years. I will still be writing the occasional column, but the next time you see "From the Frontlines", it will have a new look and a new feel to it.

    For now, with the passing of another peak season and as I hand the reins of this column over to others, let me leave you with my key tips to being a successful bettors.

    Sportsbetting tips to keep in mind

    As a final wrap up on the NCAA tournament and looking ahead to the coming weeks, I'll leave with you with the following key betting tips that you can easily apply to all your sports bets:

    1. Money management is key. Keep your bets to a consistent size and small enough to absorb a bad streak. There is no sense betting $300 a game in round 1 and going 3-7 only to have to shrink your bets to $100 in round 2 where you go 5-1 so you send up 8-8 but down a lot.
    2. Shop for lines! Six games in the tourney had line moves that would have affected the outcome of your bet. Getting a half point on each of these 6 might have turned an 0-3-3 record (down 3 units) into 3-0-3 (up 3 units)! What a difference at the end of the tourney.
    3. Don't bet on a game just because it is on TV. I know it's tough every Monday night in the fall and during March Madness, but the people who make a living betting sports know that these games don't necessarily provide better betting ops than non-TV games (although they can if the betting public drives a price up creating value on the other side). If you really want to have a bet in because you are going to watch a game, have a look at 1H and prop wagering as well.
    4. Don't branch into bet types or sports you are not familiar with. Do your homework before expanding your wagering portfolio.
    5. Spend some time learning about moneylines, totals, first half and half time bets. These present some excellent betting opportunities and if you only look at spreads, you are really handicapping yourself.
    6. Be careful buying picks. There are some great guys out there, but there are even more sharks. Do your homework and try and get a personal referral where possible. Also, make sure you understand what the costs are and how much you need to bet/win to cover the costs.
    7. Have fun!

The enjoyment of your wagering experience with us is my number one priority. Should you have any questions, concerns, or comments, I will personally ensure you are satisfied with your BoDog experience.

Good luck with your wagers!

Rob Gillespie

This article courtesy of Rob Gillespie, President of "America's Sportsbook" Bodog exclusive providers of offshore odds for ESPN!

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