College Basketball Handicapping: Go Against Public Teams for Profit
by Aaron Smith - 2/11/2010
In the world of college basketball handicapping it’s all about finding an edge over other sports bettors and the oddsmakers. As you bet on these games do remember that oddsmakers set college basketball odds at the point where they will receive even money on both sides of the bet, thus ensuring a profit via the vig.
Knowing this and understanding that there are some teams, known in the industry as ‘public teams,’ that get a whole lot of love from the betting public, you should be able to take advantage of lines that are shaded toward the public favorite more than they should be. While it can be difficult to bring yourself to place a wager against one of the better teams in the country, it is a solid strategy if done at the right time.
The Duke Blue Devils are often considered the most popular team in the country, so let’s take a look at their against the spread record over the last few years. In the five years from 2004 to 2009 Duke went 61-67 ATS. This is certainly not a terrible record, but considering they won 30 games just about every year it does show that the line must have been moved a little for the public. The Connecticut Huskies also get a lot of love from the public, and 2006-08 is a good example of that. Connecticut went 22-30 ATS during this time frame despite going 41-23 straight up.
Sometimes you have to pick your spots when you start fading a team that the whole country seems to love, because after all they usually are a very good team. Bandwagon jumpers don’t just jump on the bandwagon of a team that loses all the time! This is why finding a publicly adored team that is having a historically down year can be a terrific strategy.
North Carolina has typically been a very good team ATS, but this year they are just 6-15. Everyone knows North Carolina is having a down year, but because they are loved by the public the oddsmakers go ahead and let the money pour in on the Heels at an inflated line. For another example, take a look at North Carolina in both the 2001-2002 season and 2002-2003. In these years their ATS record was 8-16 and 14-19 respectively. In this time frame the Tar Heels actually lost more games than they won SU, going 27-36. What does this tell you? It tells you that even when a great program like North Carolina is having a down year they still receive love from the oddsmakers and the public, which gives you a perfect chance to fade them.
A final way to look at fading a big-name school is to find teams in this category that can’t seem to play good basketball on the road. This year there are a few good examples of teams that are far from road warriors. The Ohio State Buckeyes are a very good team this year, but they are just 2-6 ATS on the road. The Washington Huskies are one of the top contenders in the Pac-10, but they are 0-5 ATS on the road this season. Even the Duke Blue Devils, who are 12-3 ATS at home, have gone just 3-5 this year ATS on the road.
As you can see, there are several different angles to consider when looking into fading a popular team amongst the betting public. The best way to think of it is that you are doing your research and finding solid value in a play while most of the betting public is piling onto the fan favorite. This is a classic case of betting with the statistics and facts to back you up rather than simply betting on emotion. Pick your spots to go against those popular schools and beat the books by doing your homework!
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