When handicapping college basketball you have to look at more than the obvious statistics. Don’t get me wrong. Statistics play a big role in the handicapping process. It’s just there there are also a lot of situational advantages that can be found.
For instance, a team that goes on the road and loses to the No. 1 ranked team in the country might have a letdown performance in their next outing. Or, maybe they respond with a dominating win. It is important to know how teams react in various situations so you can avoid falling victim to a trap game.
You will see a lot of trends floating around about how teams perform off a loss. Some even base it on the win percentage of their previous opponent. I have never put a lot of stock in this, but figured it was worth a look.
Facing one of the country’s top ranked teams is completely different than facing a team with a good record. Rankings heavily weight a team’s strength of schedule. It means nothing to me if a previous opponent is 10-2 if they played soft opponents.
Coming Off a Road Loss to a Good Team
To run the numbers on this seemingly popular trend I first had to determine what is considered a good team. Typically a team that makes the NCAA Tournament has over 20 wins. Most play somewhere close to 35 games. But, not every team in the NCAA Tournament is actually good. So, I set the criteria at a win percentage of 75 percent or more.
At the mid-point in the season a team that has won 75 percent of their games may not finish the year at that same pace. Yet, it is still an indicator of a good team.
The previous game being played on the road is also a key factor in this system. It is only logical to assume a loss on the road is going to have an impact on a team. They have to travel home, usually for several hours, and think about what happened. That can make or break the morale of a team depending on their mental toughness.
The numbers played out just as I suspected. Teams coming off a road loss to an opponent winning 75 % or more of their games covered the spread 50% of the time. Following this trend would result in a losing effort. You need to hit 52.4% to break even in sports betting when you factor in the vig.
There is clearly no advantage to be had when following this system blind.
However, these are the results for over 5,000 college basketball spreads. One individual team may have vastly different results and could be worth a look.
To successfully handicap college basketball you have to know more than general situations. You also have to factor in the team you are playing on, as well as the team you are playing against.
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