March Madness 2011 Bracket: Using the Vegas Sports Odds to Fill out Your Bracket

James Brown@@chasingballgameSenior Analyst IMarch 17, 2011

March Madness 2011 Bracket: Using the Vegas Sports Odds to Fill out Your Bracket

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    Every year when the seedings are announced, people scatter to gather information that will help them fill out their March Madness brackets.

    They collect information on how teams play on neutral courts, how much experience the teams have in the big dance and how coaches perform in the tournament.

    There is one tool that people do not look at and that is the Vegas line.

    The Vegas line reveals a lot about a team that can change your brackets drastically. Here are a few lines that changed my brackets and that could help your brackets from being destroyed on the first day.

If It Looks Too Good to Be True, It Usually Is

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    The latest college basketball line on Kansas State vs. Utah State has the Wildcats favored by just two points.


    A Kansas State team that ended the year on fire and beat top-tier teams like Kansas and Texas, is just a two-point favorite? That looks too good to be true and it is.

    Kansas State is inconsistent and could have put it all on the line just to make the tournament and will exhale and get caught napping against Utah State in the first round. Utah State has experience in the big dance and is basically playing a home game in the first round.

    Utah State beats Kansas State in the first round.

Small Lines Are an Indication of Close Games

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    St. John’s is an unbelievable team this year that is on an amazing run. They upset a handful of teams and they had a body of work that would stand up against anyone, but they are just 1.5 point favorites over Gonzaga.

    Something stinks.

    Gonzaga has experience being the sweetheart of this dance and they are playing good basketball. The Zags will have a home court advantage playing out west and they will take advantage of a Red Storm team that has been inconsistent in the past.

    Gonzaga beats St. John’s in the first round

Stay Away from the Public

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    In sports betting, it is often good practice to fade, or go against the public picks. The most popular pick for the first round on Thursday is the Louisville Cardinals.

    The Cardinals are in the Big East and coached by Rick Pitino, which is already a popular team/coach to follow. The general public is not familiar with Morehead State, and therefore Louisville should easily win and cover the spread.

    Louisville is currently 9.5 point favorites and they will not only fail to cover but they will lose outright as Morehead State advances to the next round. By the end of the day everyone will know who Kenneth Faried is.

Lower Seeded Team Is the Favorite

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    Conventional wisdom would suggest that a team is seeded based on how good they are. For example the No. 1 seed is better than the No. 16 seeded team, so the No. 1 seed will always be the favorite. This is not always the case.

    For example Michigan State are one-point favorites over the UCLA Bruins. This is odd considering that the Spartans are a 10-seed and the Bruins are a 7-seed. Conventional wisdom would suggest that the Bruins should be favorites, but the Vegas oddsmakers know better.

    They know that Michigan State is the better team and so they are listed as favorites. Don’t be tricked into thinking that you are getting points with a better seed. Michigan State is playing good basketball and has a history of going deep in this tournament.

    The Spartans send the Bruins packing.

Another Tool

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    These are just a few examples of why the latest sports betting line should be used as a research tool to filling out your brackets.

    The line could possibly alert you of upset possibilities that otherwise would be missed.

    Enjoy March Madness and may your bracket avoid being busted!

    Matt Regaw is a B/R Featured Columnist and the founder of, your one-stop shop for sports articles, previews and predictions. Feel free to contact Matt at

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