College Basketball Betting Strategy: Handicapping Early Season Games
By Broad Street Cappers
Action has tipped on the college hardwood yet again and as you navigate
the first few weeks of non-conference games and early season tournaments,
keep in mind that the conference schedule that starts in January will be
here sooner than you think. The conference schedule is where big money can
be made as certain situations arise. Let’s fast break through some of the
scenarios that you should keep an eye out for come January.
Multiple Road Games In A Row
The difficult part of college basketball compared to college football is that the teams are playing three games a week in most cases, sometimes four. This leaves little rest and preparation time. Those conundrums are magnified when a school is forced away from home for sometimes as long as a week straight. There is value to be had when fading these teams against a somewhat rested home opponent. The travel aspect of these situations can be tricky and one of the best ways to find out what the team’s travel plans are is to review the team’s website or a local beat reporter’s write-up. That type of information is valuable when attempting to assess the value of a line when fading teams that find themselves in these situations.
Another angle to view here is the first home game back after a long road-trip. If facing a sub-par opponent sandwiched between the road trip and a more talented foe, it is likely that between trying to get back to normal at home and looking ahead to a big game later in the week, that team will stumble a bit. That presents a great ATS (Against the Spread) situation for bettors to capitalize on.
Look Ahead to Big TV Games
Another positive for bettors due to the condensed scheduling of college basketball is the old look ahead to a big game. This situation is especially profitable when we’re examining a home dog that is playing against an opponent with a big TV game on deck. The key here is to find home dogs that are live; meaning, home dogs that can bring some bark to the table and feel motivated.
Conference schedules present a unique scenarioyou typically see teams twice in a year. That allows for the revenge factor to be taken into account when handicapping college hoops. Obviously, you shouldn’t base your betting decision on just revenge, but it is another edge to factor into your methods.
Getting to Know Teams
As discussed earlier, college hoops teams are playing three or four games a week. This allows a bettor to really get to know these teams and understand their biorhythms. You get to know their ebbs and flows. This is especially profitable for the “under the radar” teams and conferences. Don’t just focus on games that are on TV each night. Take time to read box scores and more importantly, play-by-play logs, to get a feel for the flow of each game. This will help in determining the ebb and flow of a team throughout the season. Sometimes you will find yourself on or against the same team for three or four straight games. If you’re doing your homework, you can really add to your bankroll in these types of situations, because you really are getting to know the teams and because they are playing so frequently, you can get into a rhythm in understanding how these teams will perform night in and night out.
Know What’s At Stake
When deciding where to spend your hard-earned money, it is important to view the game from all angles and perspectives. This includes knowing what is at stake each night. It could be revenge from last year in the conference tournament or from earlier in the season when a team got beat at home in embarrassing fashion. It might be jockeying for position in preparation for the forthcoming conference tournament. It might be building a resume for an at-large bid. It is key to understand what motivating factors a team may or may not have on any given night. It is also worth noting that just because a team has something to play for, doesn’t automatically mean they are going to show up and cover. An example of this is when Northwestern hosted Michigan in 2011 in what could have potentially clinched a first-ever NCAA Tournament bid for the Wildcats. Even though they were leading at the half, they blew the lead late and lost in overtime and didn’t cover.
Experienced Teams Early, Young Teams Late
A good rule of thumb is to back experienced teams earlier in the conference schedule and to back the younger teams later in the conference schedule. As the younger teams get more comfortable with the system and playing with one another, they typically will play better later in the year because they have more confidence and that will help you get to the window to cash.
What has been discussed above are only a few of the factors and angles a bettor needs to focus on during the conference schedule of the college basketball season. It will be up to the bettor to find what works for them and develop their own combination of edges. College basketball is one of the hardest sports to handicap because there are so many teams and they play so frequently. Nevertheless, college hoops can also be one of the most profitable if you are doing your homework and taking advantage of soft lines and finding value.
Good luck and keep cashing!
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