March Madness is officially here and it’s time to get your brackets ready!!

This is the most exciting time of the college basketball season and the most anticipated and watched event in sports next to the Super Bowl.
I have correctly pegged 2 of the 4 teams who made it to the FINAL FOUR in eight straight years.
This year I am giving you some of my top advice on what it takes to be a champion. Of course, you can never foresee injuries, suspensions, foul trouble, poor officiating, etc. throughout the big dance.
Everyone likes underdogs and Cinderella teams but you have to look at the team records, their strengths and the conferences that they play in.  There is usually one team that surprises everyone but fails to win it in the end, such as Utah in 1998 vs. Kentucky and Butler coming up short in 2010 and 2011.
Since 1998, the Championship team has not been seeded lower than a #3 and in 1997 Arizona was a #4 seed and won it all. As you can see in the past 15 tournaments, the top teams usually go all the way. Digging even deeper you have to go back to 1988 when a #6 seed Kansas team coached by Larry Brown won it all, but things were different back then as players didn’t bolt to the NBA after one season in college. As much as I like to select a solid #4 or #5 to go all the way, it’s not a smart idea. Nineteen of the last 22 National Champs have been a #1 or #2 seed.
Before I start to bore you with all of my numbers and trends, let me share some of my top tips for picking your brackets. Great teams do not lose more than 7 games in a season, so if a team has 8 or more losses, stay away from them.  Also, each of the past 15 champs were from one of the major 6 conferences (Big East, SEC, PAC-12, BIG 12, ACC, BIG 10). The teams in these conferences play the toughest games night in and night out on a regular basis and have been more battle tested.  Mid majors/small schools tend to make it to the Sweet 16 or Elite 8, but not the FINAL FOUR.
So, if you are like me and really like the way Gonzaga, St. Louis, Memphis and New Mexico are playing this season, you might want to think twice about advancing them deep in your brackets.
Looking at the teams who lost 7 or fewer games this season, play in a major conference, and are seeded #3 or better this year, you can narrow down your Final Four selections from this list of nine teams. 
From here, I would look at how these teams faired on neutral courts and on the road during their season. It is also important to consider each team’s starting guards, their defensive strength, team rebounding, and if they can make their foul shots.
From my 20 years of experience, I offer you my professional advice and helpful tips. My hope is that this article has fed your excitement for the tournament while giving you a competitive edge to turn some heads in your company pools!  Enjoy the tournament and remember, pick with your head, not with your heart!
Follow Tony Karpinski for more updates and information throughout the tournament at

Sports Betting Secrets: Pro Bettors Never Panic or Press Their Luck

Yes, even the sports betting experts have slumps. The
key for a quality handicapper is to stay the course. My occupation is my
addiction. As a result the only time I give myself off is the all-star break in
baseball. Off betting that is. We use that time to write articles.

Every now and then Christmas Eve will have no action, so I go to Midnight Mass. The
point is (you were wondering) when we gamble more than 360 days a year, there
are peaks and valleys.

With two-plus decades of experience, we know our
peaks greatly outnumber the valleys and thus cannot and will not panic during
our fleeting slumps even though each losing day seems like a month to us. We
don’t decrease the size or number of bets nor do we increase during our more
prevalent winning streaks. Heck I’ve seen that screaming dude from Philly on
CNBC, Jim Cramer talk about the highs and lows he’s had on Wall Street.

But he’s considered the mogul of stocks. Discipline no doubt is a major

As the ole saying goes “It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon”. No
self-sustaining gambler lives and dies off of a few nights. Pressing one’s luck,
panicking, chasing, are among the deadly sins of gambling.

One of the symptoms of a degenerate gambler is someone who lives and dies by the game. Not
only is there no such thing as a bailout game, but self-control ensures there
should ever be a need for one.

In the pre-Internet days I announced on
the scorephones, which at the time were the pre-eminent source for gambling
information and also where sports services salivated to advertise. Regrettably
the owner of the company did sell advertising to the highest bidder and
inevitably every Monday Night Football promo for the 800 number scamdicappers
involved the buzzword “bailout”. They knew there were so many degenerate
gamblers in a state of panic from losing money in the two days previous and were
desperate to cancel it out on one game.

Lucky for the books and casinos,
restraint is something few gamblers have.

Many money experts will advise
smart investors to bet the same amount each month into their 401(k ). It’s the
same principle in gambling. Don’t panic during losing streaks or press during
winning streaks. Stay the course.

We gamblers tend to be the most
superstitious people in the world. It’s fine if it affects your rooting and
watching habits but should never cross the line of impinging your handicapping.

Yes even we professionals have been there where every late run seems to
go against us. I’ve sat in front of the television waiting for the missed free
throw by my team followed by the meaningless wide open three-pointer by the bad
guys at the buzzer for the half-point cover. When Lady Luck has screwed us over
the previous 72 hours, we see it coming again better than Nostradamus ever did.

While I won’t deny even those of us who make a living picking winners
are not immune from the snake bitten feeling of doom, we still tow the line
knowing with proper handicapping and willpower we win a lot more than we lose.

Feeling bedeviled from a short-term string of last second losses has had
me chomping at the bit wanting to hedge a “so far, so good” winning play on the
half-time line. Rejection of the power of that nasty whore Lady Luck actually is
easier said than done for the short-sighted and sometimes even so for those who
know better.

Greed when placing bets can turn a 55 percent ATS winning
percentage into a “losing” record, quickly in fact. Hysteria during stagnant
periods can turn 45 percent into the bankroll equivalent 10 percent less. Often
the biggest difference between the wealthy and destitute gambler is not mere
winning percentage but the ability to use self-control during the downturns.

A lot of things go into making money gambling, with the ability to pick
winners far and away No. 1. Being a good line shopper increases that. But more
times than not, the degenerate gambler is not someone who always loses, but
somebody who can’t properly manage losing.

Written by Joe Duffy of