Originally posted on 10/21/2013:

Really dial in on non-conference play, because this is where you will make your money if you are sharp. You want to build a nice roll during non-conference, because once conference play starts it can be very frustrating and much higher variance. Specifically, study mid and low-major teams that have decent talent, decent coaching, and heart, when they go up against power conference teams. Year in and year out, the books set very inefficient lines for a lot of these matchups and if you can spot them you can cash in.

In my experience, a lot of these matchups end up very polarized into two categories, and you need to get good at figuring out which is which. On the one hand, there are the truly live dogs that end up matching up well with the big team. They will be double digit underdogs but every putz that just checked into his hotel in Vegas and hits the sportsbook is pounding the favorite like a hamburger, thinking to themselves "Louisville only laying 12.5 points to who? Who the hell is Illinois State? Louisville is going to win by 40!" And then the underdog ends up covering with ease, maybe even winning straight up. And as you watch the game you feel like a genius, and you can crack a beer (or ten) and enjoy the game, just hoping for the hell of it the underdog wins straight up because you already covered the spread.

The other category is essentially the opposite. Big double digit underdogs that have an overinflated reputation for being "scrappy" but in reality are simply outsized and outclassed by the big team. In these scenarios, that same putz in Vegas is saying "damn I know it's Kentucky, but they are laying 24.5 points to a decent Loyola Maryland team, and they will probably play down to their competition, and blah blah blah...gotta take the points here!" And the underdog may even hang in there for the first half, but ultimately they get gassed and the big team wins by like 40 points.