When NCAA Tournament seedings matter; or don’t
March Madness is still a few weeks away, yet there is already a lot of chatter about which teams will be seeded where, and what that means to the teams and more importantly — college basketball handicappers.
And while seedings may be important in certain ways, in others it can be nothing more than a distraction. So, serious bettors need to be able to distinguish between ways seeds can help and can hurt their college basketball tournament picks.
So, seeds might matter for the following reasons.
First, they can be a great indicator of how strong a team really is, and for handicappers that have not been able to spend a lot of time following teams from smaller conferences during the season, that can be a big help.
If small conference champion is seeded 10 or 11, it could point to a team that could perform well early on, versus a 15 or 16, which may not make it any further.
Next, seedings can help handicappers determine which teams in the same conferences are the strongest. This is very useful since the tournament is loaded with teams from major college conferences.
For example, in the Big XII, if Kansas was seeded two and Baylor three, that would indicate to handicappers that the selection committee views the Jayhawks to be dramatically better than the Bears. This can especially help when trying to decide between two strong teams.
Finally, seedings shape public opinion, and smart college basketball handicappers know that the sports betting public puts a lot of significance on seedings. Thus, as a result, in most cases the higher seed will be the favorite in most games. That can be used in favor of backing the underdogs in certain matchups, as public opinion can often sway the action away from the better team, creating some real untapped value.
So when do seeds not matter?
Well for starters, seedings don’t necessarily always indicate that a team is particularly strong. Nor are they always better than lower seeded teams.
The reasons are simple.
Unless a team is ranked during the season, it can be very tough for conference champions from mid-major conferences to break into the top half of the seedings. Of course, that doesn’t mean one of those teams wasn’t worthy based on pure skill and talent. It’s just the way it is.
Next, seedings can represent selection committee bias. It never fails that the every year the committee falls in love with a particular conference. Thus resulting in that conference gaining a lot more higher seeds, not necessarily based on skill and talent.
Lastly , handicappers need to remember, and believe, that lower seeds can win.
With that, March Madness seeds can suck bettors into traps, betting blindly against lower-seeded teams. Smart college basketball handicappers know that even lower seeded teams are in the tournament for a reason, and that it is often all too common that lower seeded teams emerge victorious from 5-12 matchups.
And while seedings can help shed a spotlight on a handicappers betting decisions — it should never be used solely as an betting edge to wager on the tournament.