The Best College Basketball Betting Strategy

The Best College Basketball Betting Strategy

Find the best college basketball betting strategy and start making winning college basketball picks. Read about major lines, small school lines, and more.

Many college basketball experts have their own system when it comes to betting college games. Some like to bet the overs when a fast paced team plays against a slower tempo team. There’s a school of thought that playing slight home underdogs can yield big winnings over time. Some college basketball fans like to bet against one specific coach or another, particularly in big games.

The truth is many of these strategies might work, but nothing is automatic. No one strategy is producing even 60% winners or else everyone would do it. But there’s one strategy we’ve found to be most effective over time. You should specialize in smaller college basketball. This is not to say there is one particular conference you should follow, but what you need to do is pick a non-major conference and become one of the world’s experts in that league.

Major Lines vs. Small School Lines

When oddsmakers set the line for a Duke versus North Carolina game, as much thought has gone into setting that number as it went into deciding the line for a Clippers-Lakers game. Most sites will have nearly identical betting numbers for the Duke-UNC game. But what about Iona versus Drexel? There is no way the oddsmakers know as much about the inner workings of the Iona Gaels as they do the Duke Blue Devils. There is no full-time professional beat writer for Drexel basketball the way North Carolina has multiple reporters covering the team’s practices. If you really apply yourself, you can know more about Iona basketball than even the people who set the lines.

How do you do that? First find any possible sources of information on the teams in question. Join the message boards, scour Twitter and Reddit, find the superfans if there are no pro experts. Consume as much information about your league as you possibly can.

How do we know that betting on small schools will pay off more than betting on major conference teams? Well, there is proof that the spreads for lesser known teams are less accurate than the power conferences.

Here are the teams with the best records against the spread in 2019-2020. These were the only six teams to cover 68% or better of their spreads:

TeamWinning % vs. Spread
Hofstra75.8%
Southern74.1%
North Florida71.0%
South Dakota St.70.0%
Penn69.2%
St. Francis (PA)69.0%

The six teams with the best records against the spread were all not in any of the six major power conferences. They aren’t even in the second tier mid-major conferences, like the A-10 or the American. These are all small programs who the oddsmakers missed wildly on. Hofstra covered the spread in a ridiculous 25 of their 33 games. Southern was 5 points, per game, better than the spread, easily the best number in the country. The top major school against the spread was Iowa, who went 19-9-3.

The same way that the oddsmakers missed on determining which teams are winners, they also overestimated certain team’s abilities. Here are the worst 12 teams against the spread, you will notice a trend among these teams:

TeamWinning % vs. Spread
Kennesaw St.27.6%
Samford27.6%
WI-Milwaukee28.6%
CS-Bakersfield29.6%
Wagner29.6%
James Madison31.0%
Columbia32.1%
VCU32.3%
TN Martin33.3%
Toledo33.3%
Illinois St.34.5%
Chicago St.34.6%

Not a major, or even mid-major school to be found in the bottom dozen teams. The Samford Bulldogs covered only 8 of their 30 games. They were, on average, 6.4 points worse per game than the experts anticipated. The worst major conference team, Xavier, was only 1.4 worse per game than expected.

Kennesaw State is frequently one of the worst teams in the nation, so it is perfectly logical that the oddsmakers just did not have enough information to make accurate assessments, and they only covered the spread 8 times all season. Where are the Kennesaw State Owls experts or beat writers? They don’t really exist, but you should view that as a good thing. Challenge yourself to become a Kennesaw State Owls expert.

However, there isn’t enough value in becoming an expert in just one time. So, the challenge is to pick a full conference and become an expert on all of those teams. If you need a push, choose Kennesaw State’s league, the Atlantic Sun. Not only does the conference contain Kennesaw St, but the North Florida Ospreys went a sensational 22-9 against the spread. Stetson was a fantastic 19-12,as well. The oddsmakers just don’t know how to evaluate the A-Sun, and now the league is adding another team, the Bellarmine Knights, who are not just new to the conference, but are a new Division1 basketball team. If you are willing to put in the work, your college basketball betting strategy should be this: bet on the Atlantic Sun.

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