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NIT Home Teams Remain Good Bet

DENVER - MARCH 10:  Richie Williams #3 and the San Diego State University Aztecs celebrate after the Aztecs defeated the UNLV Runnin' Rebels 63-60 in the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference Basketball Tournament on March 10, 2006 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Paul SwaneySenior Analyst IMarch 24, 2009

Those of us who bet on sports are always looking for an edge to get us the profit we seek. For me, creating formulas to help predict the outcomes of games has become an obsession since winning my tourney pool in 2005 behind a formula that included winning percentage, wins against the field of 65, shooting percentages and assist/turnover margin, among others.

This year, my formula helped me to predict 14 of the Sweet 16 teams correctly, and 12 of 16 NIT first round match-ups. However, leading into tonight's NIT quarterfinals, there has been no greater predictor of success than simply determining who is playing as the home team.

Home teams were 19-5 in the first two rounds of the NIT. So the obvious bet tonight was to parlay the home Auburn Tigers and Florida Gators.

But here's the thing—statistics will only take you so far when it comes to picking basketball games, and sometimes you just have to buck a trend. So, there I was, picking Baylor and Penn State instead.

Well, what do you know? The visiting teams prevailed. So what do you do tomorrow? Statistics would say to pick Notre Dame and San Diego State. Basketball sense tells me to go with St. Mary's and Notre Dame over Kentucky. I guess that's why they play the games.

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