The 30-Second Shot Clock and Its Effect on Handicapping College Basketball Games
By Mike (@misterquinnbets), College Basketball Handicapper, Predictem.com
Over the past twelve months, the NCAA and a little network based in Bristol, CT have quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) begun the campaign for a 30-second shot clock in college hoops. They claim that the college game isnt exciting enough and that increased scoring will enhance the game. Nevermind the real issue at hand which is that fundamentals, including shooting, are not emphasized enough in the AAU world of high stakes basketball recruiting. Additionally, lets be honest, a lower shot clock favors Power 5 schools because the more inferior teams cant shorten the game as much to give themselves at least a fighting chance. For the record, Im totally against this idea and it proves that money is the heart and soul of college athletics anymore. Nevertheless, the focus for bettors is what effect this potential rule change could have on handicapping.
The natural by-product of a lower shot clock will be more possessions, which means more shots, thus increased scoring. The problem with that is with field goal percentage way down this year and trending downward over the past decade, does more shots really mean more points? More than likely, yes, but probably not as much as the NCAA and TV networks would like. I also think it will lead to an increase in hurried/rushed shots which would trend to more misses, and it also takes away the ability to run real offenses and not just NBA Iso.
There is also another growing trend across college basketballthe increase in the 3-point attempt. While field goals attempted have been trending down, 3-point attempts have been trending up. A lot of analytics experts will say that the ideal basketball team should focus on 3-pointers and layups. I wont fault that logic and the numbers behind it, but the problem lies in the fact that the ability to make those 3 pointers still doesnt show in the data.
The change in handicapping from this rule change would be in how you emphasize and weight rebounding. The ability to rebound, which always has had an important place in developing a handicapping approach, becomes more vital because of the increased possessions for each team and the probability of increased misses. The ability to limit an opponent to only one attempt per possession and increase your shots per possession becomes more critical in a shortened shot clock environment where maximizing possessions is part of the natural flow of the game more so than before.
In the off-chance that field goal percentage goes up, then under these new rules turnovers become a more weighted piece of your approach because the importance of limiting empty possessions is emphasized even more because of the increase in possessions in general. Strong guard play and ability to take care of the basketball are key.
Its interesting how a rule change that effects five seconds per possession could have such a profound effect on the approach a handicapper needs to take when examining a potential wager. Although rebounding and turnovers are factors already taken into account when handicapping, the weight that aspect of the game has within your approach is going to need to change if this rule goes into effect. Small adjustments in weighting can produce different results. The goal of every sports investor is to be ahead of the marketplace and anticipate changes. Being prepared increases the likelihood you will be a winner.
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Good luck and keep cashing!