Sports bettors and sports fans may cross paths occasionally, but they aren’t necessarily the same person.
Mainstream sports fans gearing up to visit Las Vegas are getting ready for the first weekend of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. There’s no denying how much fun the first weekend of March Madness is in Las Vegas. It’s really one of the most fun weekends to be a sports fan in Sin City.
Sports bettors that love college hoops are often looking at a different amazing experience in Vegas. NCAA college basketball conference tournament week lasts 14 days but is most popular in the second week when the big conferences play. This might be the best time of the year for hardcore college basketball bettors to be in Las Vegas. These two weeks are fun for fans but GREAT for bettors.
There are 32 college basketball conference tournaments to wager on this year. Each tournament has a different structure with multiple games and different angles. Unlike the NCAA tournament, the point spreads for these games are moved by professional bettors. Lines during the first weekend of March Madness could be moved by emotions from novice sports bettors and can be more difficult to read. I’ll leave this to the Covers Experts to expand upon.
I’m not much of a college basketball fan during the regular season but that changes during the conference tournaments. This is really when I start to get interested in the game. The sportsbooks have the perfect buzz for me. The environment is better than a normal day but not crazy busy like major events.
Tournament games begin as early as 9 am and end close to midnight. That's a lot of betting opportunities. This happens almost every day and night for at least week. There's more action than the NCAA Tournament which only has day to night games for the first two days of March Madness.
The crowd in the sportsbook is almost exclusively gamblers with money on the line. They take the games a bit more seriously than the recent college grads rooting for their team while pounding as many Bud Light draft beers as they can find. The intensity of the bettors combined with the action of the games is intoxicating. It’s just a different college basketball experience in Las Vegas and that's what makes it fun.
What makes the week even better is that you can actually watch four of the college basketball conference tournaments in person in Las Vegas.
West Coast Conference Tournament: March 1-6 at The Orleans
Mountain West Conference Tournament: March 7-10 at Thomas & Mack Center
Pac-12 Conference Tournament: March 7-10 at T-Mobile Arena
WAC Conference Tournament: March 7-10 at The Orleans
I’ve been recommending serious bettors visit Las Vegas for college basketball championship week for a few years. While this week is growing in popularity it’s still not nearly as crazy as the first weekend of March Madness - and that's a good thing.
Las Vegas, in general, is less crowded than the first weekend of March Madness. Hotel prices are less expensive, restaurant reservations and show tickets are easier to come by, and because there are fewer people it's easier to get around and there's room to breathe and take in the excitement.