Conference Tournament Betting Tip: First Round Favorites Are Overvalued

Conference Tournament Betting Tip: First Round Favorites Are Overvalued article feature image

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Central Michigan Chippewas guard Gavin Peppers

  • Favorites in the first round of conference tournaments have received a majority of spread tickets in more than 80% of games.
  • Using Bet Labs, we share a profitable against the spread system for fading the chalk in these early tournament games.

It’s Championship Week, and over the next seven days, 19 conference tournaments will be played. Afternoon basketball and a March Madness atmosphere, what could be better?

I’ll be watching, certainly. But the first round of conference tournament play can be boring. These matchups often feature the worst teams in the league. While this doesn’t make for great a viewing experience, it does create an opportunity for gamblers.

My theory: first round favorites will be overvalued because of the familiarity between opponents (likely the second or third time playing that season) and the increased motivation of the underdog to extend their season.

Using our Bet Labs database, we find that underdogs have performed well in the first round of conference tournaments. The bigger the underdog, the more profitable it has been to fade the chalk:

So what’s the optimal strategy?

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