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We’re into 2018 and that means conference play for college basketball. The next two months will shape the field of 68 for the NCAA tournament and deliver huge daily slates of NCAA hoops for sports bettors.
We touched on betting early-season college basketball in a previous video (watch that here) and now it’s time to take a look at how you can cash in on conference play in January, February and into March.
Here are four tips for betting college hoops conference clashes:
Tip No. 1: Count on home court
Unlike in pro sports, where teams are jumping from venue to venue every night, home-court advantage is alive and kicking in college basketball. And with conferences no longer bound to geographical borders, college programs travel far and wide during conference play.
There are notorious home courts out there, such as Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke or “The Pit” in New Mexico, and those are worth more than the suggested three points to the spread. You see a more drastic shift in how teams perform at home compared to away in college basketball, and that can lead the way to value playing on or against those programs. Always size up those splits and see how home-court will impact your nightly NCAA bball bets.
Tip No. 2: Size up the schedule
As we mentioned, college teams are crossing the country at a rapid rate these days. The non-conference schedule has many traveling to the far reaches of the country and beyond for tournaments and showcases, and that busy schedule doesn’t slow down during conference play.
Many of the major conference have members spread out across the land, such as the Big 12 and ACC, and when road games take students away from campus and the classroom it can be taxing in terms of rest and focus.
On top of that, college basketball bettors will want to keep a keen eye out for tough scheduling spots, as well as letdown and lookahead opportunities. You can often get one up on your bookie by going against teams coming off a big upset win or looking past their current foe with a ranked opponent up next on the calendar.
Tip No. 3: Revenge and Rivalries
The “Revenge Spot” is a much-debated handicapping angle that doesn’t hold much weight in the pros but does show up in college conference play. With conference members usually playing each other twice during the season, there is an element of retaliation in the second go-around.
Bettors also shouldn’t take college rivalries lightly. We’ve seen consistent underdog value in heated rivalry games, in which the lesser team steps up the intensity to play a longtime rival. Take a look at past meetings and what the coaches and players are saying heading into these circled games before getting your action down on these emotional matchups.
Tip No. 4: Mind the motivation
As the conference schedule shrinks in late February, be mindful of a team’s current standings – not just in their respective conference but also in the NCAA tournament projections. Things like RPI and Strength of Schedule are very important when it comes to cracking the Selection Committee, so if a team only has a few more chances to boost their resume against big-name conference foes, you can feel confident they’ll be going all out to make the most of those matchups.
And on the flip side of this, when it comes to losing programs, keep an ear out for coaches complaining and players just not going all out. At the end of a very long season with little success and no shot at making the Big Dance, it’s not that rare to find teams mailing it in during the final weeks and looking ahead to life without basketball.
For more college basketball betting odds and insight check out our NCAA hoops home page and be sure to follow us on Twitter @Covers all season for the best in college basketball betting news and notes. Good luck!