How Do I Know Which NCAA Basketball Games to Target?

Gonzaga University students hold their arms in the air during a watch party. David Ryder/Getty Images/AFP.

Betting college basketball is as exciting as it gets but it reaches a fever pitch when March Madness rolls around. Here at OddsTrader, we pride ourselves on giving our readers the best informational tools available for wagering on college hoops, replete with the latest college basketball odds at all of the best online sportsbooks.

Below we will discuss a few key strategies to use when trying to determine which games are the best to focus on when there are so many available on any given day throughout the college basketball season. Let’s use these techniques to make money in the schoolboy ranks and enjoy watching all the games from tip-off in November through the national championship net cutting ritual in April.

Don’t Be Popular

In the Dark Ages, before the internet, the bookmakers would deal odds on the major conferences, with television games being the most popular. Bettors like to watch their games and before we had instant updates on every contest on the board, the only way to know the current score on a non-televised game was to call a score phone where one would have to listen to a prerecorded message from one or more paid handicappers before the latest scores were delivered.

But things are much different these days as odds on virtually all of the D-1 matchups have lines assigned to each game. But one thing hasn’t changed, the overwhelming majority of bets are made on the household names and most popular conferences like the ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big East, Pac-12, and the West Coast Conference featuring Gonzaga. Those games are heavily monitored and scrutinized by the books because there is so much money to be won and lost due to the sheer betting volume.

Small Conferences Mean Big Money

As a result, the lesser conferences are often overlooked and the lines get stale because the activity is focused mainly on those more popular games. There are approximately 350 D-1 teams and they play every night of the week throughout the season. The Saturday college basketball menu will make you go blind as it is the most heavily scheduled day of the week.

Therefore, get acquainted with the teams in the Sun Belt Conference or the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) to name but a few of the smaller ones. You will find if you do your research, the lines don’t move as often and can be exploited by those who know those teams well. Look for teams that are traveling, some are on a bus and not a jet, as they don’t have the budget as the bigger schools, which makes the travel even more burdensome for an effective performance on game day.

Have Multiple Outs

Getting the sharpest lines can when choosing your college basketball picks is imperative if you want the best chance to beat the books over the long grind that is the college hoops season. Therefore, it is a must that you not only choose your bookmaker wisely but make sure you have accounts with at least two or more.

On Saturday, November 27th, Army welcomed Marist to West Point, the former hailing from the Patriot League while the latter resides in the MAAC. Two lesser-known conferences where there was little betting action. In that game, Army was anywhere from a 3 Β½ to a 4 Β½ point favorite depending on where you shopped.

When the dust settled, Army won the game 65-61, which means if you had accounts at multiple books from which you could choose the best line, Army -3 Β½ would have covered but if you laid a bad number and bet them -4 Β½ you would have lost your bet. It pays to go shopping!

Lastly, make certain you do your research as diligently on the online sportsbooks you choose as you do when studying the games. OddsTrader has a list of all of the best books in your jurisdiction so choose wisely, open accounts with many, get the best lines, and make betting college basketball more than a hobby but a side hustle to win lots of money!

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