Handicapping College Hoops
I've delayed my annual guidance for handicapping college basketball here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping because I wanted to see the impact that increased foul calls would have on the sport.
While it's clear that the increase in whistles have had an influence on the game, I don't believe that this adjustment will greatly impact the fundamentals of my approach.
First, let's review the main keys:
- PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS
I was concerned that the impact of elite talent might be diminished because of foul trouble. If the most important players on each team are on the floor for fewer minutes per game, and aren't even on the floor in the final minutes because they've fouled out...then handicapping based on projected impact could be significantly hindered.
To this point, things have largely balanced out. On the one hand, the best players ARE getting called for more fouls...and sometimes are off the floor for extended periods of time. On the other hand, these studs are now able to score much more easily when they have the ball. It's no longer legal to mug them! Maybe now the best players are putting up big numbers in 32 minutes instead of 36 minutes. They're still deciding who wins and covers for the most part. And, teams with smart coaches have already learned how to make sure the best players haven't fouled out before crunch time.
- THE MOTIVATION FACTOR
This is still as big as ever. Flat teams are playing flat. In fact, you could argue that the new emphasis on calling "handsy" defense exacerbates the issue because un-motivated teams get lazy on defense. Betting against flat teams might be a stronger angle than ever.
Also, motivated teams are still bringing peak intensity, particularly in the area of FOCUSING on not getting called for fouls. A team trying to earn a statement victory will do what it takes to get the job done. I will admit that I've seen a few games where poor officiating sucked the life out of a motivated underdog. But, much more often than not...teams best positioned to exploit THE MOTIVATION FACTOR are getting the job done.
Here are the adjustments I believe you should be making in this new world:
- Pay more attention to the bench than you used to
- Pay slightly more attention to coaching quality (which was already important)
- Work harder than you may have in the past in assessing potential peak or flat spots
Here's what hasn't changed:
- Vegas is still overrating many big name programs. Make they pay for their mistakes!
- Vegas is still underrating too many up-and-comers. Be sure you find them!
- Vegas is still underrating the best three-point shooting teams
- Vegas is still overrating teams with the softest defenses
- Vegas doesn't pay enough attention to offensive turnover tendencies
A lot of handicappers are doing very well so far in college basketball because the fundamentals are largely still working...and because they've adjusted well on the fly to the new dynamics. You should have no fear of this sport at the moment. You'll be picking winners every night if you apply the lessons you've learned over the years here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping.
Right now is a GREAT time to get started if you've been dragging your heels. The annual Big 10-ACC Challenge starts Tuesday Night. That should get your energy pumped if you're a fan of this sport. And, most every team has now played at least 3-5 "relevant" games that will give you a good read on their strengths and weaknesses. You won't be flying blind. The information you need to make proper assessments is already on the stat sheets.
If you'd like some help in college (or pro) basketball, you can sign up for my BASKETBALL BETS BETS right here at this very website with your major credit card. Questions can be answered by my representative in the Vegas-Sports-Masters home office at 1-800-755-2255. I want to emphasize that RIGHT NOW is the perfect time to get started because of how this week's schedule lays out as a bankroll builder for upcoming football.
I hope you had a great holiday weekend. And, I hope you're ready to handicap at top speed between now and Christmas with the jam-packed sports schedule. Opportunities abound in all sports. The hard work you've always put in (and that's always been appreciated by The Dean of Sports Handicapping) will be rewarded time and time again because you know how to exploit weaknesses in the Vegas line. See you again soon!