Do ‘Tired Legs’ Actually Lead to Conference Tournament Unders?
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: John Harrar (Penn State)
There are a few conference tournament betting narratives that have floated around for a while, including the “Tired Legs Theory.”
The narrative goes like this — when both teams are playing back-to-back days in conference tournament season, games go under because the teams get tired.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t been true in a while, per our data at Bet Labs. This narrative crushed from 2009-15 but has only been profitable in one season since.
Often, the market catches up to these sorts of trends.
You’ll also hear the narrative that teams will either start the game fatigued so the first-half under is a good look, or they’ll tire throughout the game so the second-half under is in play.
But 1H and 2H unders when both teams are playing consecutive days has actually never been profitable, especially in the last five years.
What About 3 Games in 3 Days?
The juiciest part of this narrative comes Saturday and Sunday, when teams will be playing their third game in three days in the semifinals or finals of their conference tournament.
Over a tiny sample size, this has actually been profitable in recent years, though like the first narrative, it really had its hay-day from around 2009-15.
You can make the system work if you add parameters — games with low totals, in particular, have been profitable — but then you’re just shrinking the sample size.
This narrative may get thrown out a lot in the next few days, and while it may work about half the time, the market is largely accounting for anything related to fatigue and rest.