How Does Conference Play Differ From Non-Conference Play in College Hoops?

How Does Conference Play Differ From Non-Conference Play in College Hoops?

Santa came…you know what that means, right? Presents, presents, and more presents! Assuming you’re not Tiny Tim Cratchet, that is.

You know what else it means? Conference play is starting up!

For most people, this is the start of the college basketball season. We’ll start seeing good games on a regular basis and get a better idea (idear, as some whackos pronounce it) of which teams are for real. For bettors, however, there are many trends you should be wary of as we switch over from non-conference to conference play.

Non-Conference Trends

TrendATS RecordUnits WonROI
Favorites7856-7576-319 (50.9%)-147.68-0.9%
Home teams6118-6097-245 (50.1%)-299.39-2.4%
Double digit dogs3037-3115-125 (49.4%)-225.8-3.6%
Teams getting 30% of bets or less2636-2843-106 (48.1%)-327.45-5.9%
Ranked teams vs. Non-ranked teams1381-1301-37 (51.5%)+4.59+0.2%

By looking at some very simple trends, we see why public bettors fancy themselves a little early season non-conference action. We also see why Josh “Action” Appelbaum hardly bets on college hoops before the calendar hits January.

Taking dogs and being a contrarian bettor is just not a strong approach in non-conference games. Sure, you can still pick your spots as a contrarian and get some wins, but you start out with a historical disadvantage. Favorites, publicly bet teams, and ranked teams all do well against lesser known small schools as they warm up for the “real” season.

This season, non-conference favorites have won over ten units, home teams have won over 20 units, and ranked teams vs. unranked teams have won over ten units. Told you so.

Will those trends continue as we enter conference play?

Conference Trends

TrendATS RecordUnits WonROI
Favorites13291-13586-601 (49.5%)-1031.96-3.8%
Home teams13064-13739-600 (47.7%)-1380.51-5.0%
Double digit dogs3559-3303-173 (51.9%)+72.62+1.0%
Teams getting 30% of bets or less4136-4112-186 (50.1%)-181.73-2.2%
Ranked teams vs. Non-ranked teams2016-2120-89 (48.7%)-215.05-5.1%

No! Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick, every single trend has flip-flopped! Any trend that hit at over a 50% rate in NC play has hit at less than a 50% rate in conference play and any trend that hit at less than a 50% rate in NC play has hit at over a 50% rate in conference play. Well I’ll be a son of a gun…

Favorites, home teams, big favorites, public teams, and ranked teams all play like garbage against the spread against conference opponents. In fact, betting against a ranked conference foe was one of the trends I touched upon in this year’s betting against the public report. None of these trends are something you’d blindly bet on or against on their own, but they are a strong starting point when making a system in Bet Labs or deciding what teams to bet on.

The next couple of months will be when contrarian bettors and sportsbooks start making some real profits and then, we enter March Madness, when fading the public is essentially free money.

What conference pooches are offering value tonight? Check our free NCAAB odds page for the latest lines and percentages each day.

Photo via Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Gallant

I'm the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy.

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