College Basketball Betting: Are Big Ten Games Really That Low-Scoring?

Over the years, Big Ten basketball has developed a reputation for tough, physical and low-scoring games. Back in March of 2011, Wisconsin was held to just 36 points against Penn State…and the Badgers still won by three. Sports fans will argue whether this paltry output is a result of inept offenses or elite defenses, but for college basketball betting fans it’s a moot point.

Our hypothesis was that based on these woeful scoring outputs, bettors could have built an impressive bankroll by simply pounding the under. To test this, we first used our BetLabs software to find that the under had gone 691-605 (+47.95 units, 3.7% return on investment) in games featuring a member of the Big Ten.

The next step was to examine conference games to see whether or not betting the under would be even more profitable if the game featured two Big Ten opponents. While there was little change in the units won, the return on investment (ROI) nearly doubled. The table below, using line data from Pinnacle, displays the record and units earned from betting unders in the Big Ten.

Filter Record Units Earned ROI
Conference Games 390-323 +45.75 +3.7%
Conf Games <49% 272-213 +43.9 +6.4%
Conf Games <25%  52-39 +10.7 +11.8%

Using the public betting percentages from our seven contributing sportsbooks, you can see that using a basic contrarian filter can prove to be quite profitable in college basketball betting. Since 2003, the under has gone 272-213 in Big Ten games in which at least 50% of bets have been placed on the over. You can see that although the units earned remains essentially unchanged, the ROI jumped from 3.7% to 6.4% when using our betting against the public philosophy.

Our research also reveals that the under has gone 52-39 in games in which less than 25% of bets were placed on the under. Although the overall units earned drops off significantly based on the smaller sample size, you can see that the return on investment is far higher at this percentage.

Additionally we have found that the higher the total, the more likely the under is to hit. Our database indicates that when a member of the Big Ten plays in a game with a total of at least 131.5, the under has gone an astounding 349-249 with 78.96 units won and a 13.2% ROI. Based on these betting trends, we have flagged one of tonight’s college basketball games as a potential play.

The fourth-ranked Michigan State Spartans, who opened as 1.5-point home underdogs against top-ranked Indiana, are currently listed as 1.5-point favorites at BetOnline. However, with a total of 141 there appears to be value on the under in this highly anticipated contest.

Do you like the value on the under? Who will you be taking in tonight’s showcase of top-five teams? Please leave any college basketball betting related questions or comments in the section below.

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