CBB Betting Tips
Styles make fights throughout all sports, but that may be most true in basketball.
Teams cater their styles to maximize the strengths of their best players and build out lineups that work together best. That’s the game. In the pros, where everyone’s game resides at an extremely high level, it produces the “make or miss league,” where outcomes are decided on a team’s proficiency night after night. Coaching matters, but players decide who wins in the NBA.
In college basketball, coaches control a lot more and play a far larger role in the success of their teams. A head coach and his staff implement a style at the beginning of their tenure, recruit players to play roles within that approach, and aim to build up their program. With the transfer portal now playing a huge role, players are now more easily accessible, but the game remains the same – get guys in, implement your system, and survive until you thrive.
Betting college ball requires you to know how teams are most likely to attack the challenges in front of them. The fast pace of play metrics are readily available at numerous websites that track analytics, making them a great starting point if you’re looking to handicap at a high level.
Over the past few decades, the betting market has grown to include the majority of teams in Division I. It used to be that one could only wager on major conferences like the Big Ten, ACC, Big East, and Pac-12. Now you can get down on action in the America East, West Coast, Sun Belt, and everywhere in between.
Within those leagues, big and small, teams develop personalities based on how their coaches choose to employ their talent. Jim Boeheim has played a zone at Syracuse for decades. At Northeast Conference member Merrimack, Joe Gallo does the same, playing a defense that chews up the clock almost exclusively for 40 minutes. Air Force runs a Princeton offense that does the same. Virginia relies on its defense to win games and often catches its breath on offense through a deliberate pace. As long as Tony Bennett is working in Charlottesville, Cavaliers’ games will be low-scoring.
Conversely, St. John’s turned its program over to Mike Anderson, who employs a “40 Minutes of Hell” approach learned under the late Nolan Richardson and turns games into track meets.
Factoring in how teams will approach one another is a crucial element in wagering on college basketball. How will they approach situations where they have to play through a busy stretch of games? Betting spreads means you have to calculate the average margin of victory, efficiency ratings, and points per possession metrics.
The beauty of college basketball is that so many teams can play the game in different ways. It’s up to the bettor to recognize how their numbers get skewed. The strength of schedule rankings also plays a large role. Games with large spreads have a tendency to slow down late since the team that is ahead is more eager to run out the clock than run up the score. Games that are expected to be tighter down the stretch can often be extended by the team that’s down, making shots to trim the deficits and then immediately pressuring to try and get the ball back, often resulting in clock stoppages through the foul game.
Ultimately, you have to be fortunate that games go your way because lines are sharp and based on thousands of simulations of the same numbers that are readily accessible to anyone who wants to invest the time to decipher through a team’s profile. The 2022 NCAA Tournament Championship went to Kansas, but the point spread cover was secured by North Carolina when the Jayhawks failed to inbound properly in the closing seconds. The Tar Heels, four-point underdogs, lost by only three. That was a fortunate break, but hopefully, the decision to back UNC was founded on a sound strategy and not just the fact that Carolina blue is a really pretty color. The information is out there.