NCAA Basketball Betting: Common Handicapping Mistakes for Beginners

Players of the Duke react following a three-point basket by Bates Jones #34. Lance King/Getty Images/AFP

What’s not to like about college hoops, right? It’s a showcase for the NBA stars of tomorrow and nothing beats the atmosphere, brimming with school spirit and electricity throughout the game. And if you like college basketball then you’ll love betting on it.

Below we will discuss the rookie mistakes that are often made by newbies, and provide a few savvy tips as well.

Not Knowing the Teams and Betting Only Frontrunners

When we talk about knowing the teams, we’re not referring to their uniform colors or the name of the head coach. What we mean is understanding how they play the game and what their shooting percentages are from the field and beyond the arc.

If both teams play an up-tempo brand of basketball, then chances are it will be a high-scoring affair.

But remember, the top sportsbooks understand this and will adjust accordingly, so the totals will be higher for teams that transition quickly, shoots often, and are not prone to milking the shot clock.

With the OddsTrader app you can get the latest stats for every game on the board, so you can always have an edge when looking for a mismatch.

Make sure to know each team’s strengths and weaknesses to determine how they will match up. If one team has a big frontcourt full of defensive stalwarts then chances are their opponent will have to kick it outside. But if the opponent doesn’t shoot well from the outside and relies mainly on its inside game then this contest could be a mismatch from start to finish.

We talk about this because new bettors to college basketball often bet the household names like Duke, Kansas, UNC, Kentucky, and lately, Gonzaga. Understand that the vast majority of the betting public does the same which is why the spread is often inflated on these teams. So, if you feel there is value, go the other way and bet their opponent because you will likely be getting more bang for your betting buck.

Doesn’t Bother with Injury Reports

When perusing the college basketball odds, if something looks off, investigate further. It could be a late scratch to one of the team’s stars players. That will cause the line to shift dramatically so make sure to always scan the injury reports before you make a bet. This will save you a lot of money in the long run because there is nothing worse than betting a team than watching the shoot-around without their main man present.

Keep up to date with the latest injury reports right in your mobile device with the OddsTrader app.

Ignores Home Court Advantage

Home court advantage in college is even more important than in the pros. The atmosphere is always buzzing because these are school kids in the stands rooting for their classmates and repping school pride. It gives the home team a lift and that intangible is something that should never be discounted.

Lack of Money Management

The college basketball season runs approximately five months during which thousands of games will be played. Make sure to figure out how much you can comfortably afford to lose in a season and choose that as your bankroll.

If you happen to lose it all, make sure the amount won’t keep you awake at night or cause you to miss paying any bills. Betting college hoops is fun and exciting but betting over your head, and not with your head, can make it a cruel game and one that will give you more anxiety than pleasure.

Once you choose the amount you will work with during the season then each of your bets should be equal to one percent of that bankroll. Therefore, if you decided to allocate $1000 for the season then each bet should be worth $10, or one percent.

It’s not much but it will keep you in action and won’t get you in trouble. The name of the game is to have fun and make a few bucks while you’re at it. Always keep that in mind!

And remember to check back for more betting strategy at the OddsTrader blog. Happy betting!

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