NCAAB Season Review 2008-09

College Basketball Betting Strategies, Betting Against the Public and Competitive Games (November 2008) is a sister company of, focused on researching sports investing strategies.  The 2008-09 College Basketball season has just gotten underway and the staff at BettingCharts worked with the team at to put together some interesting information for our members.  What kinds of systems and strategies work well for college basketball and “stay true” to SportsInsights’ philosophy of seeking out sports investing values?  Check our latest article out for some new tidbits of sports betting information!  The information on this site is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Use of this information in violation of any federal, state, or local laws is prohibited.

Thoughts on College Basketball

College basketball is a unique sport for sports bettors and sportsbooks.  What kinds of problems and opportunities does this present to sports bettors?   Let’s take a look:

  • There are tons of games on Saturday.  With so many games concentrated in just a few hours on Saturday’s (especially with college football going on), there is a lot of risk for sportsbooks to manage.  This also means that there are also many potential opportunities for sports investors.  Just remember to limit your plays because it’s hard to beat the “vig” that sportsbooks collect.
  • To manage risk, sportsbooks will need to move “point spreads” to balance their book.
  • “Smart money” methods work well in College hoops.  That is, follow line moves — especially when they are opposite the direction of the Public’s betting.
  • In hockey, “betting against the Public” works on games expected to be “more competitive.”

Betting System Ideas

Over the years, SportsInsights has shown that “Betting Against the Public” can help give you an edge.  SportsInsights has also put together tools for its Members that track “Smart Money” as well as “Steam Moves.”  With so many games concentrated in such a short amount of time (Saturday’s!), it is good to use all the tools at your disposal to narrow the number of potential sports investing values down.

College basketball has been underperforming slightly over the recent past — so we thought we would look at various methods that could help improve results.  One thought we had was to take a look at a method that worked well for the NHL (hockey).  In particular, we have learned that in the NHL, a filter that helps “fading the public” results is to take a narrower range of odds.  Please visit our recap of academic studies on sports betting on the NHL and other sports as well as on football.   Here are some other thoughts on betting system development:

  • Historically, games with a national “focus” or “audience” draws more interest from the general betting public — and provides more of an edge for “value” sports investors.
  • By looking at games with a smaller point spread, we get a better sampling of the “more exciting” games that the public may be following.
  • Fewer parameters are better than more parameters.  However, if there is a logical reason behind a method, it could improve the information in your systems and ultimately, its results in the future.

Betting Against the Public — NCAA Basketball

Betting Against the Public” has traditionally worked in college basketball.’s Square Plays had averaged about 55% up until the past two seasons.  The past two seasons have been around 50%, bringing overall results since inception down to about 53%.  The overall data set results in slightly sub-par results compared to SIs Square Plays.  What is the difference between Square Plays and pure “betting against the public?”

  • With such a large selection of games, is able to focus not only on games that the Public loves, but also games that indicate the existence of Smart money and Sharps.
  • Focus on games that have a higher number of bets and a national audience.
  • Industry contacts are helpful in finding “circled games,” “trap lines,” and “Sharp money” — especially on super-busy college sport Saturdays!

Betting Against the Public — Competitive Games

In the NHL, we saw that we could improve results by fading the Public in games that are expected to be more competitive.  The researchers at BettingCharts analyzed this factor — and interestingly found the same to be true on college basketball.  More specifically, we found that in games where the “opening line” was -3.1 to -8.1 (small home favorites), “betting against the Public” resulted in a 56% winning percentage and +50 units over the past two seasons.

The interesting thing is that this point spread range is almost centered around the average point spread.  (The average college basketball team favored by around -4 or -5 points).  We’re pleased that a method that worked in one sport (hockey) works in another sport.  We don’t “love” using an additional parameter in our approach to researching betting systems — but this approach seems to make sense and is another contrarian approach that can help investors identify “value.”

Table 1: NCAA BB and Betting Against the Public (-8.1 to -3.1 Pt Spread)

Betting % on Home Team Opening Pt Spread (Home Team Spread) Play Win % (2 Seasons,  2006-08) Win %(4 Seasons,  2004-08)
< = 30% -8.1 to -3.1 (Small Home Favorite) Take Home favorite 59.8% (+18 units) 55.2% (+12 units)
> = 70% -8.1 to -3.1 (Small Home Favorite) Take Visiting dog 54% (+32 units) 52.5% (+24 units)

We hope you will use this information and other SportsInsights tools to help you invest in the sports marketplace.  Our Premium and Premium Pro Members can access even more tools to make the NHL, NBA, and College Basketball Seasons — as well as NFL and College Football Seasons — “profitable Sports Investing campaigns.

We do not guarantee that the trends and biases we’ve found will continue to exist. It is impossible to predict the future. Any serious academic research in the field of “market efficiencies” recognizes that inefficiencies may disappear over time. Once inefficiencies are discovered, it is only a matter of time before the market corrects itself. We do not guarantee our data is error-free. However, we’ve tried our best to make sure every score and percentage is correct.