College Basketball: Betting Against Top Ranked Teams

College Basketball: Betting Against Top Ranked Teams

Our College Basketball Best Bets continued their stellar performance with a 2-1 record yesterday and our Square Plays went 3-1, placing both of our NCAAB betting systems in the green for the season. This success (combined record of 59-43, +11.6 units) is in large part based on the value of picking against top ranked teams.

Many bettors will place a lot of stock in the Coaches Poll despite the fact that active coaches cannot possibly watch all of the teams that they are voting on. This causes a false sense of security for bettors and can create excellent value betting against the nation’s top ranked teams.

In yesterday’s action, we bet against three of the country’s top five teams including number one Kentucky. The Wildcats were 6 point road favorites against an up and coming Indiana team, who were flying under the radar despite an undefeated record. However, due to the Hoosiers struggles over the past few years only 25% of the public opted to bet on the home underdogs.

This lopsided betting moved the line .5-1.0 point at most books and, as we have learned, a half point line movement can increase your winning percentage by two percent.

This contrarian philosophy also guided our decision to pick Washington (24% of spread bets against #5 Duke) and Kansas (who received just a fraction of public bets against #2 Ohio State).  Of course, all three of our plays covered and once again Premium Pro subscribers enjoyed a winning day.

At the time we released these picks, each of our plays were receiving less than 25% of spread bets. As detailed in our 2011 NCAAB Betting Against The Public article, there is great value betting on games where an underdog is receiving under a quarter of all spread bets. The following chart, with data compiled from 2008-2011, illuminates that point:

College Basketball and Point Spreads (Betting Percentage < 25%)

Point Spread Winning Percentage
all games 50.1%
all underdogs 50.1%
underdogs more than 6 points 51.5%
underdogs more than 10 points 53.2%
  • jay crossman
    12/15/2011 at 12:55 pm

    According to your figures above, the best winning % is +10 dogs at 53.2%. At -110 juice how can that be a winning system?

  • PJ
    12/15/2011 at 1:03 pm

    When factoring in -110 juice, you have to hit 52.4% of your games to break even, so fundamentally, that is a winning system, but a small one.

    As wiith all betting systems, we recommend factoring in more filters, like Smart Money triggers and shopping for the best line (which can improve your win percentage 2%-5% if you’re consistently betting dogs and finding books that shade .5 point to 1 point off the market.)

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