Handicapping college basketball games is no easy task.  There are a LOT of teams to cover and if you want to beat the odds you need to have knowledge of the teams you are wagering on.  In order to save you time on going over the matchups each day I’ve compiled a list of resources our handicappers use to break down teams.

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How to Handicap College Basketball

There is no easy way to handicap a basketball game.  There are a lot of different variables that go into each contest and you are going to want to break the game down from a variety of angles before placing your hard earned money on one of the teams.  Let’s take a look at some different methods that you should use if you want to achieve the highest winning percentage possible.

Public Perception

The sportsbooks want balanced action on the games.  They want to make their money off the juice, which is the additional amount bettors have to risk on their bet.  If the books take heavy action on one side of a game and that side wins, they stand to lose money.  Once you realize that the sportsbooks want balanced action, and they aren’t trying to set the line perfectly in terms of average score you are going to be on your way to learning how to beat the line.

There are certain teams that are public favorites and certain teams the public wants to avoid.  Every year the average Joe knows that Kansas, North Carolina, and Duke are going to be good and they will blindly take these teams against inferior opponents or conference door mats.  Not everyone is willing to take a Penn State or Colorado.  What you want to do is find value where teams are better than they are perceived or they are not as good as perceived.

Home/Away

The home court advantage in college basketball is between 4-6 points depending on the venue.  This means that the spread a team could be -6 against an opponent on their home floor but then be +6 if they play them later in the year on the other school’s court.  You absolutely have to factor home court advantage in when you are handicapping games.  To go along with the public perception a little bit, popular teams who take to the road normally do not give up enough points to the other team’s home court advantage.

Injuries

You need to know who is playing and who is sitting out.  There is nothing worse than backing a team and then finding out their star player is playing limited minutes due to an injury you didn’t know about.  Deep teams can withstand injuries better than teams that use 6-7 guys in a heavy rotation.  If there is an injury to a player on a deep team, the odds can over react and you can bet on that team knowing they won’t be hurt as bad as everyone thinks.

Important Stats

When looking at two teams how can you tell who is going to matchup well against their opponent?  The stats that I like to look at are: effective field goal percentage, turnover rate, rebounding, and free throws per field goal attempt.  You need to look at how both teams have fared both offensively and defensively.

Effective field goal rate adjust for three-point shots, basically if someone goes 2-4 from three point range that is the same as going 3-4 from 2-point, they are both worth six points.  You then want teams that are going to protect the ball so you know you will get more attempts out of them, plus teams that are going to rebound to give themselves extra opportunities while limiting their opponents.  Free throws are important because they are easier to make, but also because it puts the other team in foul trouble.