This is where Bergs posts the NCAA 2015 locks

bergs

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I have a system that I won't delve into here (it's over on the blue board somewhere) that includes guard play quality, having Jr & Sr guards, having tourney experience both at player and coaching positions, relative matchups (size / speed / emphasize offense vs defense) and Free Throw shooting percentage. This system has helped me pick winners for 24 years.

This year, for the first time, there are NO obvious plays using my system. I struggled mightily with this and ended up with a collection of tepid picks that were, at best 55/45 propositions. Then, while looking at the Valpo/Maryland line and wishing that I had a few extra points on the Valpo side because Maryland shoots so well from the FT line, I had a revelation.

This isn't a straight up bet year.

This is a tease and 1st half bet year.

Why? Here's why:

  • There are a number of matchups between excellent high defensive pressure teams that don't score well. They'll make runs at the over towards the end of games with free throws, but there is a lot of value in first half O/U bets where the first half is at or close to half the total - particularly if one or both teams don't have any tournament experience - these teams will come out tight and score less in the first half as they feel each other out in a slow tempo, half court set game. Also - most NCAA first round games come in with the under (at least, most games where the lines are below 10 and they fit into the system as wagerable games).


  • Teases allow me to get additional points on games where there is a slight FT shooting difference, or games where there are only one negative factor that is moving me towards taking the game but feeling like I'm making a substandard play. Normally, there aren't a lot of these games - you either love a game via the system or discard a game via the system. There just hasn't historically been an opportunity to make a bunch of tease plays, and even where there was, the teaseable games weren't chronologically close together (and who wants to hit one half a bet at 1:55pm and wait until 11:55p to see if it pays?) This year, there are so many of these teasable games (an unprecedented number) than it's very easy to find chronologically close games to tease and get the extra points for value.

The system still applies - and it's always been about finding value - we just need to tweak it this year given a dearth of easy pick matchups and we'll take advantage of an overabundance of defensive matchups between younger teams untested in the tourney.

Picks to come tonight.
 

bergs

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Looking at Friday first - I'm re-assessing my Thursday picks in light of the revelations around the necessity to tease bets this year.

FRIDAY LOCKS - note that locks is relative this year as payouts are dependent on hitting 2 bets per wager, not the usual straight up wagering we do in March Madness...that said, this maximizes value:

1:40p/2:10p TEASE: Wichita State (-5.5 vs. Indiana) teased with Buffalo (+4.5 vs. West Virginia)....teasing Wichita State to -1.5 and Buffalo to +8.5 - FOUR STAR PLAY
4:10p/4:40p TEASE: UC Irvine (+8.5 vs. Louisville) teased with Valpo (+5.0 vs. Maryland)....teasing UC Irvine to +12.5 and Valpo to +9.0 - THREE STAR PLAY
6:50p/7:10p TEASE: Davidson (+2.0 vs Iowa) teased with Oregon (-1.5 vs. Oklahoma State)....teasing Davidson to +6.0 and Oregon to +2.5 - HIGH THREE (ALMOST FOUR) STAR PLAY


- Wichita State has experienced guards, is on a hot streak, and has tourney experience. Indiana is 2-6 and has inexperienced guards that feature 2 starting freshmen.
- Buffalo is a good young team, but will not get rattle (was leading Kentucky at half this year)

- UCIrvine will put up points on Louisville and L'ville can go long stretches of stagnancy (never bet the over on L'ville); tease is a hedge against the U of L dry spells being short
- Valpo will give Maryland a great game and could win on the floor but at the free throw battle, the Terps have an advantage; the tease is a hedge here against FT shooting

- Oregon is a hot team playing against an ice cold OK State team. Just playing the streak and 76% Ducks FT percentage
- Davidson shoots above NCAA average at the free throw line but just slightly worse than Iowa...the tease hedges this; Davidson is a better basketball team
 

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THURSDAY LOCKS - we have the only straight bets of the tournament's first round here, and our first halftime bet (more will be added later)

1:40p STRAIGHT: Georgia State FIRST HALF (+4.5 vs. Baylor) - THREE STAR PLAY
3:10p STRAIGHT: SMU (-3.5 vs. UCLA) - THREE STAR PLAY
9:50p/9:57p TEASE: Wofford (+7.5 vs. Arkansas) teased with East Washington (+7.0 vs. Georgetown)...teasing Wofford to +11.5 and E. Washington to +11

- Georgia State is a very good basketball team that can hang with almost any program in the US - for 20 minutes, because they only play 6 starters. Halftime line play is perfect here.

- SMU is playing an inconsistent UCLA team that has everyone wondering how they got into the tourney - I like SMU to win and with 66% UCLA FT shooting, I like the cover too

- E. Washington value pick...Georgetown is 6-2 their last 8 games but hasn't beaten anybody by more than 7 points, and E. Wash. was 3rd in nation in scoring w/ 2 Sr. guards
- Wofford has a very high ROI via ESPN's PickCenter and can weather Arkansas' scoring bursts via getting 11+ points; Arkansas' point guard is an untested sophmore
 

bergs

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Last addition to my picks:

Thurs 4:40p TEASE: 1st half Ohio State (-1.0) and 1st half under (63.5)....teasing to Ohio State (+3 first half) and under (67.5 first half). HIGH 3/LOW 4 STAR PLAY
 
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