If you've been betting on college hoops since the season officially started on Friday, you've noticed one thing above all others: the fouls.
After a push in the offseason from the NCAA to call fouls more tightly this year - with the goal of increasing scoring - officials have come out tweeting. And not the social media kind.
According to a report in the Associated Press, men's and women's hoops games are averaging 42 fouls per game so far. That's an increase of seven fouls per game from last year for men and 10 fouls per game from last year for women.
Scoring is also up by 12 points from an average of 134.28 per game last season to 146.29 per game this season according to Statsheet.com. The over/under is 37-29 heading into Wednesday's college hoops action for a win percentage of 56.1.
Sportsbooks aren't taking any chances and most have adjusted to the trends by releasing totals later than usual for college hoops - often just an hour or two before game time.
"The way they're calling the game, if you get to the basket with the
ball there's a 90 percent chance there's going to be a foul called,"
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said Tuesday. "I think they're overreacting a
little bit. Now, almost virtually any contact is a foul. I think it'll
take awhile for everybody to get used to the rules and the calls — the
referees as well as the players."
With a huge TV audience Tuesday in what may have been the biggest college hoops day in the first week of the season ever, here's a look at how a few games broke down:
Syracuse-Fordham: 55 fouls, 72 free throws
Kansas-Duke: 53 fouls, 63 free throws
UC Irvine-Pacific: 66 fouls, 77 free throws
South Carolina-Baylor: 55 fouls, 79 free throws
In all four of those games, the team that had the better free throw percentage covered the spread. In short, if you aren't looking at free throw percentage when betting college basketball right now, you aren't handicapping college basketball properly.