College Basketball Betting Overview
It’s up to you whether you want to follow one of these services or if you want to go the more fulfilling route of handicapping the games yourself (obviously, we’ll focus more on handicapping the games yourself within our guide, but we will review some of the best services within our last chapter).
For most people, the college game is much more pure than the NBA. Right or wrong, that’s the general consensus you’ll find. You’ll also find many more passionate fans, and more fans in general, simply because of the number of Division I schools.
With that passion comes a desire to bet…typically on their favorite team, no matter how wrong it might be. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that if you’re a recreational player and just want a little action (and you’re betting within your limits).
However, if you want to be smart about it, then there is a lot to learn. And that’s exactly what we’re here for; to educate you on how to properly handicap and bet on college basketball.
It’s crucial to understand some very important college basketball betting advice before ever placing a bet on the college game. The criterion we cover here should serve as the foundation to your college basketball handicapping philosophy.
As with our NBA Betting Advice chapter, we’ll continue to follow the same strict guidelines when betting on college hoops…as you should with any sport you bet. In other words, the initial college basketball betting advice we list here should be followed no matter what the sport is you’re wagering on.
With that being the case though, I’ll be adding a few tidbits to each criterion that specifically relates to the college game. We’ll also be adding one additional piece of college basketball betting advice that relates to college basketball in particular.
So let’s line out how we’ll approach this chapter. Directly below, we’ll list our general criteria. Clicking on each one will take you to that specific section within our NBA Betting Advice chapter.
Below that, we’ll hit on a few points about each criterion as it relates to college basketball. Nothing groundbreaking, but rather some college basketball betting advice that should always be followed.
After this, we’ll touch on a piece of advice that relates specifically to college hoops. It may not be new to you, but it’s something I’ve always followed within my own handicapping and can serve as a great starting point to going in the right direction.
As previously stated, click on each link below to read our insight on each piece of advice.
Money management for college basketball really isn’t any different than it is for any other sport. You have to be strict and always stick with your strategy.
College basketball has over 300 teams, which means there are literally thousands of lined games throughout the year. If you have the time and know how, then by all means feel free to handicap them all…but if you do, you’re going to be wagering on a lot of games (most likely) which means you should probably only bet a small percentage of your bankroll the majority of the time.
However, if you narrow your focus to a couple conferences (as we suggest below) then you may be able to average around 2% of bankroll per wager. It really just depends on your own personal style of handicapping and the expected cover percentage you’ve handicapped for each game (in other words, a team that you believe has a 60% chance of covering should have a larger percent of bankroll bet on them than a team with a 55% cover percentage).
Regardless of how you handicap, it’s vital to always follow this piece of college basketball betting advice. Money management can’t help you win more games, but it can help preserve and grow your bankroll. Even more important though, it will help you get through the inevitable losing streaks.
Multiple Sportsbook Accounts
Nothing new here with this piece of college basketball betting advice. However, with college lines being so volatile, this tip is absolutely crucial.
College betting lines, especially totals, can vary 1-3 points depending on the sportsbook. If you can’t take advantage of the best line, then you’re just throwing money away. The more erratic the lines, the greater the importance of multiple outs.
Just as we explained in the NBA Betting Advice chapter, this can turn wins into pushes, and pushes into wins. In college hoops though, with lines differing so much, this can turn losses into wins quite easily.
If you’re just starting out, then simply go with a couple sportsbooks. I would recommend a sharp book like The Greek and square one like Bodog (the lines can vary greatly between these two because one caters to professionals, who typically bet more, and another caters to the square handicapper, so their lines will be shaded a bit).
Once you have a couple accounts open, you can then open another after you have added to your bankroll…and so on and so forth. Regardless, multiple outs in college basketball can have a dramatic positive effect on your overall ROI through a season…JUST DO IT.
For fantastic college basketball information and data, I would definitely recommend you check out Ken Pomeroy’s website at KenPom.com. He offers by far some of the best college basketball information I have ever found…and the funny thing is, it’s not even geared for handicappers.
We’ll definitely talk more about his website within our College Basketball Betting Guide, but I wanted to introduce it to you here simply because of the valuable research it offers. Another website to check out when it comes to college basketball betting advice is The Prediction Tracker.
It’s another very valuable research site that offers a ton of predictive statistical data from a number of handicapping sites. If you’re into statistics, then you’re going to love this site (they offer power ratings, strength of schedule information, game predictions, tracking, etc.)
Prediction Tracker is basically a site that keeps track of game predictions from a number of different statistical handicapping websites. We’ll talk more about it later in the Guide, but again, I just wanted to introduce it here.
As you can see, just from the two sites I’ve recommended, there is a ton of data out there that is absolutely free and can be quite valuable to your handicapping (if you’re the statistical type). Again though, we’ll discuss how this data can be useful to your handicapping later on in the guide.
Keep Precise Records
Really not much to add here with this piece of college basketball betting advice. Record keeping is important and it’s vital that you keep track of your wagers and where they’ve been placed.
Once you have 3 or 4 sportsbook accounts opened, this is more important than ever. However, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. A lot of sites like SBR Forum offer tools for tracking purposes.
You can always create your own spreadsheet, but they have a decent one to get you started. The bottom line: Just keep precise records
Stay Focused and Set Goals
Again, nothing earth shattering with this piece of college basketball betting advice, but it’s surprising how many people don’t take the time to set some goals before the beginning of the season.
It’s been proven that individuals who set career goals are much more successful than those that don’t…and I believe the same rules applies when it comes to betting on college basketball. It’s not hard and doesn’t take any time at all.
Sit down, take 30 minutes and write down what you’re wanting to accomplish for the season. This way, you’ll have something you’re working for and can always look back on to see where you are at in accomplishing those goals throughout the season…not to mention they will keep you focused when you’re going through the tough times you’ll be sure to experience.
Narrow Your Focus/Become an Expert
A final piece of college basketball betting advice is somewhat specific to college, but can also be applied to other sports as well. When first starting out (or even if you’ve been betting college hoops for a while with a less than successful win rate), narrow down your focus to 1-4 conferences.
What I like to do is focus on the BCS conference of the region I live in, the Big 12, because there is a lot of easy access to information through the newspapers and sports talk radio. Obviously, the more informed you are, the better you’re handicapping will be.
However, even more important in my opinion, I recommend you focus all of your other handicapping efforts on 1-3 small/medium conferences that don’t get nearly the attention. Become an absolute expert because this is where value and soft lines can be found.
You need to be able to carve your niche and learn everything you can about these conferences because in college basketball handicapping, there’s just to many teams to have time to focus on all of them…and the oddsmakers are well aware of this.
I truly believe in this strategy and feel it’s the best way to get started in college hoops. Eventually, you can start to handicap more conferences if you have the time and data. However, I would personally just stick to your niche.
The Wrap Up
So there you have it…some college basketball betting advice to help build the foundation of your college hoops betting strategy. While you may have read this before or are maybe even following some of this criteria, it truly will have an impact on your long term success.
Don’t get me wrong, nothing is more important than picking more winners than losers. However, anything that you have the opportunity to control (all of the college basketball betting advice listed here), you must take advantage of it.
So now that we have the groundwork laid out, let’s move on to some college basketball betting tips. Be sure to bookmark this page so you can always come back for a little reiteration (because it can be tough at times). As always, best of luck in all your sports betting endeavors.
Now that we’ve established a good foundation, let’s look at some college basketball betting tips. I would consider these to be ideas and tidbits that could and should be followed on a daily basis.
Of course, none of them will make you rich overnight (nothing will, no matter how many touts and get rich quick systems tell you otherwise), but all of these college basketball betting tips can help to increase your overall ROI.
These certainly aren’t the end all be all, but rather some ideas that have proven to be successful for most handicappers playbooks. You may have heard of some, while others may be brand new.
What we’re tying to do here is introduce some quality college basketball betting tips that can serve as a starting point to your daily handicapping checklist. Overtime you will continue to add more and you may even take some off as they may lose their value.
What’s important is that you have a daily routine for your college basketball handicapping. Don’t overwhelm yourself at first. As we said earlier, start with some basics and continue to add to them overtime.
So with that said, let’s get into our college basketball betting tips.
Look At The Moneyline For Small Underdogs
In other words, don’t be afraid to bet the moneyline on small dogs (heck it can be a large underdog if the odds are in line and you’re (reliable) data is showing value). For me, it’s typically around 5 points or less.
Every situation is a little different, so I’m not going to say one particular spot is better than the other. Most people get so caught up in taking the points (which certainly is fine), but if your objective analysis is pointing to an upset, then by all means, pull the trigger.
Upsets do happen, and they happen quite frequently no matter what time of the season (although an upset at one point of the season may in reality, not actually be an upset when the season is said and done).
College Basketball Betting Tips –
Know the Injury Report
This is one of those college basketball betting tips that certainly isn’t groundbreaking. However, you’d be surprised by how many people forget to simply check the injury reports.
It takes little time at all and can be extremely revealing as to why your data may be showing perceived value that you thought you may have uncovered in your handicapping…in other words, if that key player is out, then their goes your great wager.
Please check the injury report. It’s easy, they can be found at just about any handicapping (or non handicapping) website and over time, they may end up saving you from placing some non-informed wagers.
Don’t Bet Just Because It’s A Big Game Or On TV
If you’re a recreational bettor, then that’s one thing, but if you’re trying to supplement your income or trying to do it as a full time job, then that’s an entirely different situation. Recreational bettors can do whatever they want because their just placing bets randomly here and there, simply for a little enjoyment.
However, if you fall into the latter category, then please don’t bet just because you can watch it on TV. Granted, I fell into that when I first started out and learned very quickly from my experience.
The only reason you should ever bet on a game is because your handicapping of that particular game is showing that the line is off from where you think it should be (no matter if it’s on TV or not).
If you must bet because it’s on TV then you’re probably not cut out for seriously betting on college basketball. The only way I would ever recommend it is if you’re only betting about a tenth of your normal unit size.
Take Note Of Reverse Line Moves On Televised Games
(particularly public teams)
I thought this coincided well with our previous college basketball betting tip. For those that aren’t familiar with a reverse line move, it is when the line of a game moves in the opposite direction that it normally should i.e. the team receiving a lower percentage of wagers is getting a worse line.
Typically this type of movement occurs when sharp(professional) money is coming in on a particular team. However, it’s even more important when it involves a game on TV since it will normally have more action on it.
And even better yet, is when a reverse line move occurs when it’s against a public team (UNC, KU, Duke, etc) playing on TV. These are very significant to take note of (and some people just bet them blindly), but if they coincide with your own handicapping, then you may have uncovered a great game to invest in.
Here’s an example of a reverse line move for those not familiar: Midd. Tenn St. is +18 receiving 31% of wagers and playing against UNC. However, the line opened up at +19 and has quickly moved against Midd. Tenn. St. Typical line movement would be in the opposite direction but, this is what’s called reverse line movement and is a sign of sharp money coming in on Midd. Tenn. St. (if that doesn’t make sense, then please contact me).
College Basketball Betting Tips –
Look At Heavy Favorites In The First Half
Let me first preface this by saying that you must be objective and of course do your research. If you’re aware of my guidelines, you know I don’t like betting favorites of more than 14 points at home or 12 points on the road…they’re just to tough to handicap in my opinion.
However, I do look at betting these heavy favorites in the first half. Again, you just can’t bet them blindly, but I would highly recommend you look at data of how the team performs, as well the coaches’s tendencies, in first halves when they are heavy favorites whether it’s home or away.
As a general rule of thumb, most teams will try to get out to an early lead and simply maintain that lead in the second half. Again though, it’s not a set in stone rule and much more research and data must be examined.
This is one of those college basketball betting tips that can serve you well for a long time, but your quantitative and/or qualitative data and research must be able to back up your reasons for betting.
College Basketball Betting Tips –
Beware of Home Court Advantage
In other words, all home court advantage isn’t created equal…some home courts are much better than others and it’s up to you to find out which ones (although some are already pretty obvious with bigger schools).
With that being said though, a lot of schools (typically smaller) have extremely small crowds thus resulting in little to no home court advantage. Since there are over 300 division I schools, a lot of the smaller (especially bad and smaller) schools get very little of a crowd on a regular basis.
So for the astute handicapper, this can mean value when playing against a small favorite at home…trust me, the sportsbooks have a very difficult time putting a solid line on every single basketball game and home court advantage (or lack of) is one of those college basketball betting tips that you can capitalize on.
A number of handicapping sites will list attendance for college basketball games. So, like injuries, it’s a very easy thing to track and really can give you a slight advantage over many bettors (especially if you specialize in a couple small and mid major conferences).
Since we’re on this tip, I thought I’d also point out that you need to be aware of neutral court games as well. You’ll never know if it’s a neutral court game unless you actually do a little extra research (and by extra, I mean a few seconds).
At first glance, it will look like a normal vistor/home situation, but (especially in the first 2 months) it could be a tournament game or just plain neutral site situation. This can be a huge factor since, on average, home court can account for about 3.5-4 points. If it’s a neutral court, then that advantage is no longer there or at least it’s certainly reduced.
College Basketball Betting Tips – Bet Early
It may be tough for some, but I really encourage handicappers to get their action down as early as possible. Granted lines may move in your favor, but there’s also the same possibility that they move against you.
Overnight lines are excellent if you’ve done your handicapping early, but it can be tough for the majority of people and injuries can also play a factor as well. I think the point I’m trying to get across here is to get your plays in as early as you can.
Take advantage of the value because it may not get any better if you wait (especially on favorites, see below). Once you get your bets in for the day, you can then follow line movement and play those games that match up with your criteria, because the line moved, later on (trust me, there is nothing wrong with playing against the steam).
College Basketball Betting Tips –
Play Underdogs and Unders Late (typically)
I know, I know…this contradicts my last tip, but this is more a general rule of thumb. For the most part, the public loves betting favorites and overs…meaning that over the day, these lines will slowly be adjusted upwards, giving more value to the underdog and unders.
This obviously isn’t the case 100% of the time, but it will be the case the majority of the time. So, when placing your wagers (when you normally do), pay particular attention to any underdog or unders that you’re wanting to bet.
I would definitely encourage you to place your favorites and overs early, without question. However, you may want to wait on some underdog and under wagers (especially if they’re against a popular team). If you can, I would wait to see where the action is coming in because you may be able to take advantage of the movement.
However, you may also be risking the value if the lines go against you. Let me put it this way; if you have the time, you may want to wait on your underdog and unders and watch the line movement. If you don’t have the time, then get all of your wagers in as soon as possible.
There’s really no fast and easy rule because it depends on the time constraints of the handicapper. Regardless though, it does pay to follow and understand line movement as much as you can.
College Basketball Betting Tips – Find Value With
Smaller Schools (when playing a big conference school)
This is something we certainly stress here at Sports Betting Insights…if you couldn’t tell by now. We love betting on the lowly underdog when playing a perceived superior opponent.
The reason that this certainly applies in college basketball, is that a lot of times a smaller school will have starters that have played together for four years thus creating a great chemistry. So even though the perceived “powerhouse” team has freshman and sophomores that will be bound for the NBA, they may not play nearly as a team like the smaller school.
Big name schools are often overrated and known as public bettors “darlings.” The sportsbooks (especially the public ones like BET US and Bodog) are more than happy to shade the line a half point to a point to the benefit of the small school underdog.
Beware of this situation and know when to take advantage of it. You’ll be surprised at the number of investing opportunities you’ll find in betting small/mid major schools against the perceived “big boys” in college basketball.
College Basketball Betting Tips –
The First Month Can Be Difficult
This probably should say, “The first month can be difficult…if you haven’t done your homework.” In the first month of the season, it can be difficult to know where a team actually stands without really digging into the off-season of that particular team.
What starters did they lose? How many are returning and how many played significant minutes last year? Will underclassmen need to have a significant role? Do they have a new coach? Who and where are they playing in the first 5-10 games?
All of these questions and more should be known if you are going to be betting on early season games. I truly believe that if you’re going to, then you’ll need to take a much more qualitative approach rather than a quantitative (I typically wait 7-10 games before really relying on my numbers when handicapping teams).
Because it can take a little longer to handicap those first few games, you may be better off specializing in just one or two conferences as we recommended in our College Basketball Betting Advice chapter. It basically comes down to how much time you have to do your research.
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The Wrap Up
So there you have it, some very good college basketball betting tips that you may or may not be familiar with…hopefully you at least picked up a few new ones. Obviously, this isn’t meant to be everything you need to know, but rather some tips to really get you thinking about your approach to betting college basketball.
Overtime, you’ll develop your own and expand on the ones listed here. What’s important is that you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Over the course of a season, it can be tough at times…but as long you as you have a disciplined approach, you’re going to be better off than 95% of all other bettors.
So now that we have some solid college basketball betting tips in place, it’s time to move to a few college basketball betting strategies in our next chapter. As always, best of luck in all your sports betting endeavors.