College basketball is back, putting one of the strangest betting options back on the board for sports bettors.
For the most part, the general public doesn’t start looking at NCAA hoops until January and even then, most don’t think about it until March Madness begins. That’s when everyone becomes an instant expert, with brackets and bets in hand.
College basketball is and will always be a market ruled by the sharps, but if you’re looking to jump into those shark-infested waters in November and December, here are some helpful tips and tactics to help you wager on college basketball like a wiseguy:
Tip No. 1: Narrow down your options
There are more than 350 Division 1 college programs taking the court this season, and there’s no way you can stay on top of them all. The best way to approach the season, especially in the first two months, is to focus on a few conferences you care about – whether that’s conference in your area or ones that house your Alma Mater. Slimming down your focus allows you to really dig into a select number of teams, and truly understand them on a game-to-game basis.
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Tip No. 2: Size matters
Unlike college football, which only has 11 conferences and groupings, college basketball has 32 different conferences and leagues, from Power 5 groups like the ACC and Big Ten, to small mid-majors like the Northeast Conference and Patriot League.
Because there are so many teams, oddsmakers dedicate themselves to the big-name conference which draw the most betting action, leaving them exposed when it comes to small conference lines. That means that if you can become an expert in one of these mid-majors, you give yourself an advantage over the bookies. But keep in mind that some small conference games don’t get betting odds, so research your wagering options.
Tip No. 3: Take on totals
Ask any oddsmaker or bookie and they’ll tell you the one market they fear the most is college basketball totals. On top of setting spreads for more than 300 games a week, sportsbooks will offer totals on those contests as well. These numbers are often attacked by sharp bettors the second they hit the board and adjust quickly, so if you can jump on a steam move and get a good Over or Under number before it adjusts too far, you’re at least on the wise side of the total.
Tip No. 4: Find value in the futures
For the most part, the NCAA tournament futures odds look the same every season with perennial powerhouse programs like Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina at the top of the board. And even as the season plays out, those odds stay relatively unchanged from week to week.
If you can spot a March Madness sleeper beyond those college basketball blue bloods, you’ll likely get a number of 10 to 1 or higher and set yourself up for a solid pay day once the tournament kicks off in mid-March.
For more NCAA basketball betting news and notes, visit our NCAAB home page and be sure to follow us on Twitter @Covers.