College Basketball Betting Advice: Difference Between Wagering Conference Play
December isn't just about the holidays. Thanks to the change in scheduling, December is now also about the beginning of conference play in college basketball. It's not universally the case, but some conferences have now thrown in a conference game or two in December. And even if they don't, the shift to conference play happens just as soon as the calendar turns to the new year. And conference play is a different animal for bettors than nonconference play is. Nonconference play can be about extremes - very tough games, and very easy ones. The range is typically narrower in conference play. And the stakes are higher. Bettors who are successful betting college basketball over the long term are the ones who can recognize the differences between the two phases of the season and can adapt and adjust to maximize their chances of success. Here is a look at six of the bigger differences:
Experience: College basketball seems to be getting younger and younger. Or, more accurately, the young guys just seem to be getting better, sooner. There is little time for adjustment for young guys. Superstars hit the ground running. But even when they are as good as they are, there are still advantages to be gained from experience. They have become more used to the pace of the game, have seen more styles of play and learned how to deal with them, seen adversity, and have learned more about how to play with their teammates and for their coaches. These guys are dangerous out of the gate, so just a little experience can have a massive impact on the effectiveness of these youngsters. And it's not just blue chip one-and-done types can benefit here. Guys in new roles, ones carrying heavier workloads, and grad transfers can all take big steps forward with extra experience. The more teams are relying on these types of players, the more different they can become as the season advances.
Similarity: In nonconference play, there can be a very wide range of styles of play and locations. Teams can play a high-tempo squad one game and a painfully slow one next. They can play in their own gym on the east coast one game, and in a ballroom on the west coast the next. It can be painful to handicap nonconference play given the wide range of styles and how often things can change. In conference play, though, teams tend to play a more similar style to each other. They pretty much have to - they are built to be their best in conference play, and that means being equipped to match up to, and hopefully beat, the other teams in the conference. Teams will play a lot of teams that are more like what they know, which makes it easier for us to understand how the team will handle the challenges in front of them.
Familiarity: In nonconference play, we often see situations where teams are playing for the first time or for the first time in a long time. Scouting is done from a distance and lacks the insight that comes only from firsthand experience. In conference play, though, teams play each other at least once per year, and often twice. Unless things have changed significantly, teams know the tendencies of the coaches and the key players and are going to be better prepared. Better scouting means that performances tend to become more predictable because teams are better prepared. And more predictability is a very good thing for bettors.
Intensity: Teams can easily get up for nonconference games against the best opponents and biggest nonconference rivals. But a Tuesday night game against a nothing school that is just a schedule filler can be tough to get excited about. Good teams don't often lose those games - though Kentucky and Duke already this year have shown us that it is possible. But even if they do enough to win, they quite possibly won't give a full effort. And it's very tough for us to figure out how much effort a team will give, and if it is good enough. In conference play, though, every win matters, so teams are much more likely to show up at full strength. We don't have to figure out who is going to show up, how much, and what it means. We can spend less time acting as a psychologist and more time as a handicapper.
Health: By the time conference play rolls around, teams have played two months of games. That will have created some inevitable health issues with teams. And as the intensity of conference play ratchets up, players can get even more banged up. The further into conference play we get, then, the more attention we have to pay to the health of teams.
Betting: As conference play gets rolling, football season is winding down. The college football regular season has ended. The NFL season is winding down. Playoff games are important and draw attention, but there are few of them each week, so there is room for distractions in the minds of sports bettors. And the NHL and NBA seasons are in the dog days of winter, so they aren't necessarily at their most exciting. Combine all that with the higher stakes of conference play, and the approaching postseason, and betting action increases significantly once conference play rolls around. And a lot of that new action is dumb money. The more dumb money there is in a pool, the better it is for the people who at least try to have a clue.
Doc's Sports college basketball handicapping team has set some lofty standards worldwide for college basketball handicapping. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free . No credit card needed, and you will never deal with a salesman. Get daily free college basketball picks on Doc's Sports NCAA hoops predictions page.
Most Recent College Basketball Handicapping
- 2020 Pac-12 Tournament Predictions with Betting Odds
- 2020 SEC Tournament Predictions and Betting Odds
- Free College Basketball Picks Wednesday 3/11/2020 and Opening Line Report
- 2020 Atlantic 10 Tournament Predictions and Betting Odds
- 2020 Big East Tournament Predictions and Betting Odds
- 2020 Big Ten Tournament Predictions and Betting Odds
- Free College Basketball Picks Tuesday 3/10/2020 and Opening Line Report
- 2020 Big 12 Tournament Predictions and Betting Odds
- 2020 MAAC Tournament Predictions and Expert Picks
- 2020 ACC Tournament Predictions with Betting Odds