Illinois coach Weber waves to the crowd after winning the Big Ten Championship
Frank Polich  /  Reuters file
Looking to take this year's March Madness office pool? offers some helpful hints.
updated 3/17/2005 4:15:38 PM ET 2005-03-17T21:15:38

It's March Madness, baby! Whether you are a serious gambler or a casual office-pool punter, our ten tips for betting on the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball tournament will give you a leg up on the competition.

This year, rather than relying on statistics or pressing your luck, we've culled the gambling dons for some betting advice. While we're not promoting gambling, if you're going to wager, we figured we'd try and give you all the help we could.

According to the gambling gurus, the betting market — run online or out of Las Vegas — is extremely efficient. When you factor in the bookmaker's “vig” — the charge taken on bets — and the “wisdom of crowds,” breaking the bank is highly unlikely. Rodney Paul, assistant professor of economics at St. Bonaventure University in Olean, N.Y., where he teaches “The Economics and Finance of Sports” warns, “It is difficult to come out ahead on NCAA basketball gambling.”

Lucky for most gamblers, the office pool — where most of the NCAA tourney picks are made — is a much less efficient system. Justin Wolfers, assistant professor of business and public policy at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches “Finance, Behavioral Economics and Sports Betting,” says he's very optimistic about betting in office pools.

“The simple reason is that there isn't a house take like there is in Vegas, so someone has to win,” he says. “There is also a lot of uninformed money in the office pool, making it even more attractive.”

So forewarn your fellow cube-dwellers, you're in it to win it this tournament season — the money and the bragging rights, that is.

© 2012


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