Tomlin’s Tips: 2022 NCAA Tournament Gambling Tips

by Michael Tomlin
2022-23 Super Bowl LVII Football Bets

It's been a long year but the 2022 NCAA Tournament Gambling Tips post is live because we have brackets to fill out!

There are two times a year when the casual gambler really puts attention to betting on sports: the Super Bowl and March Madness.

However, there is a massive difference between the amount of time put into the two sports before the events. That is why this 2022 NCAA Tournament Gambling Tips post is so important to read before you fill out your brackets!

You would be hard-pressed to find someone that did not watch a single second of NFL football until the Super Bowl that was going to wager on it. Anyone that is serious enough to lay hard-earned cash on the game has done some time throughout the season formulating opinions.

I would say that the majority of people who will be gambling on March Madness have not watched a second of college basketball. And yes, filling out a bracket in a $10 an entry bracket pool is gambling.

Some people reading this are thinking that there is just no way. Think about this: a GREAT rating for a regular-season college basketball game comes in just under a million viewers. The AVERAGE NFL game comes in at around fifteen million viewers.

“Well, there are only 32 teams in the NFL compared to 350 college basketball teams.” You have to figure that the bottom 250 teams or more are pulling significantly fewer numbers.

That was all a long-winded way of saying that the majority of people you are gambling with have little to no actual knowledge and research. Whenever that happens, there is an edge to be gained.

2022 NCAA Tournament Gambling Tips

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Click here to read the South, East, West and Midwest region previews!

The American Gaming Association estimates that there are about 40 million people in the country filling out 70 million brackets for a total pool of over two billion dollars each year. It is without a doubt the most popular form of gambling every year.

And people are terrible at them. I mean most brackets are just awful. You always hear about the office pool won by the person who picked off their favorite mascots or colors.

Why is this? Because the calendar turns to March and the average/casual college basketball “fan” has done zero research but uses engrained prevalent stereotypes to fill out a bracket as if they are an expert. To beat the bracket, you have to avoid these stereotypes.

Blue Bloods

Do you want to know the fastest way to lose your bracket pool? Put Kentucky, Duke, Arizona, and Kansas in your Final Four. Do you know why? Because there will be several other brackets even in the smallest of pools with the same Final Four!

I mean this year, all four teams have shown massive holes. These are not the veteran blue bloods of old that can romp their way through a region.

College basketball has changed due to the number of one-and-done players and other professional leagues taking the best high school players.

The past four Final Four’s have included teams such as Oregon, South Carolina, Loyola-Chicago, Auburn, Houston, Baylor, and my own alma mater, Texas Tech. None of them are anywhere close to the college basketball Blue Bloods.

You cannot judge a team based on their history. Anthony Davis is not walking out that door for Kentucky. Michael Jordan is not walking out of that door for North Carolina.

However, do factor in the coaches that can do a lot with a little. The Tom Izzo’s and Jim Boeheim’s of the world are still dangerous when their teams are lower seeds and counted out.

#1 Seeds in Final Four

In 2008, all four top seeds reached the Final Four. Since then, all but one Final Four has had two or fewer #1 seeded teams.

Only seventeen of the 48 Final Four teams have been top seeds in that time frame.

This is a good time to mention that you must take stands on teams. Taking the favorite or higher seed every game is a terrible way to go. I mean, there’s a reason it’s called March ‘Madness’ right?

So, you need to find the top-seeded teams that you want to fade. Don’t be afraid to fade them early either. I’m not saying take a #16 seed to win, but don’t be afraid to knock out a top seed in the second round.

This is especially useful in bracket pools where the team’s seed is multiplied by the round, which brings me to…

Know Your Bracket Pool Rules

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Bracket pools have as many variations as Fantasy Football leagues now. Some are straight point-per-win, while most give more points the deeper into the tournament.

My favorite setup is the one I just mentioned, where you get a single point in the first round and it goes up by a point each round. However, the number of the seed that won is multiplied by the round point total.

This really gives an advantage to those of us that have done our homework. If you pick the four nine seeds to win the first round correctly, you actually get 40 points.

The 8/9 and 7/10 games are seen as coin flips every year. However, there are always a few that have a clear advantage. If you can ace these games, as well as fade the top seeds, you can add a ton of points in this format.

The #12 Seeds

As I just mentioned, the three middle-tier games are already seen as toss-up contests. But there is something about that 5/12 matchup that makes you think the five seed should be a massive favorite. However, we all hear about the twelve-seed upsets every year.

Three times in the past eight tournaments there have been THREE of the four #12 seeds advance. Overall, the twelve-seeded teams were 13-19 in that time frame. So, you have to take some twelve’s right? WRONG!

Do NOT just blindly take a #12 seed. Make sure the matchup fits, which it can do since these teams are the major conference teams on a hot streak or the best of the mid-majors.

But the worst thing you can do is just blindly take a couple of them. Because what happens if you pick the wrong two? Say two of the twelve’s pull the upset but not your two. You then head to the second round without a single team from this seeding matchup into a game which is usually a coin flip game as well.

In the past three tournaments, five of the seven fifth-seeded teams that won in the first round went to the Sweet Sixteen. One of them went to the Final Four. You sacrifice too much value to your opponents when you lose that fifth seed in the first round incorrectly.


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It is too late for this stuff but at least you can know going into next season.

My biggest piece of advice when I am asked about filling out brackets or betting on March Madness: fill out CONFERENCE tournament brackets.

Obviously, there’s not a huge pool of people wanting to do this for money, and you shouldn’t want to. What this does though is give your research a head start over 90% of other people.

Of course, the best research is to watch college basketball all year long, but I get it; it is tough. I really did not until Texas Tech got really good. Once they did though, my finishes in bracket pools and betting have become exponentially better.

So, fill out printable conference tournament brackets and watch the games. You can really see which teams you like and more importantly what styles they play. Styles make fights in March Madness so it is good to know this.

Another component, especially this year, is which teams are on a hot streak. Ride the team that is probably under-seeded because of early-season struggles but have won ten of their last eleven games. This is one stereotype that rings true every year.

Knockout Pools

Without question, the best way to gamble on March Madness is the knockout pool. The rules are laid out here.

It’s just like the NFL survivor pools except it’s two picks in the first two days and you can buy back in. I have run one for a decade (get at me on Twitter if you want in, @Tomlin3) and every person that joins comes back for more, culminating with a $2,000 pot last year off $20 entries.

It seems easy with such disparity between teams in some of the early games. However, there was a year where the pool ended on the third day and another where almost 90% of the people were knocked out on day one.

I promise, once you try it, the brackets will take a back seat.

Hopefully, these 2022 NCAA Tournament Gambling Tips can help you win your bracket pools this year.

One last non-strategy tip but more for just fun: do not sweat the first two days. Your bracket won’t be perfect and you will drive yourself crazy over every game.

Remember: it is supposed to be fun!

Breaking Down the Brackets

East Region
South Region
West Region
Midwest Region

Check out Keith's 2022 NBA Mock Draft!

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