The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is one of the best times of the year for basketball fans and, arguably, is the best four-day stretch to be a basketball bettor. With games tipping at 12:15 p.m. ET and running well past midnight, there is a never-ending supply of action.
That can be good if you get hot but can also lead to very poor decision making when you find yourself on tilt and trying to recoup some losses from earlier in the day. In any case, the sheer volume of games to fire on makes for a thrilling day and for a lot of opportunities to get weird and a bit reckless.
Some like to spray the board with small bets, while others will get much heavier on their action in a few focused and strategic places. For heavy hitters, the early rounds provide an opportunity to get aggressive on money line parlays of big favorites. Those don’t pay out at a high return rate, but they tend to be safe, and if you’re willing to put a lot of money on the line, you can make a solid chunk doing this. The problem with this strategy is when one goes wrong it will go very wrong.
For example, when Virginia fell in a stunning 20-point blowout loss to 16-seed UMBC, becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, a lot of money line parlays got busted up, including one poor bettor who watched a $20,000 bet to win $870 go up in flames. The mystery bet was casually announced in vague terms by CG Technology’s VP on Twitter, and ESPN’s David Purdum followed up to get the details on the three teams involved.