Figuring Out the NCAA Basketball Schedule
The college basketball season begins in November and concludes at the end of March/beginning of April with the Final Four and National Championship.
In terms of the amount of teams and games on the schedule on any given day, college basketball dwarfs other sports with betting opportunities.
350 schools are spread out across 32 conferences with each school tasked with a 25-game schedule at a minimum, with the majority of those schools playing at least 30 games a year.
You don’t have to be Neil deGrasse Tyson to understand that that is a lot of basketball.
With so many different teams and matchups to bet on, understanding the various nuances of college basketball and the schedule that follows will help you in your quest for a profitable college basketball season.
Let’s dive into the various ways one can capitalize on this beautiful sport.
There’s Just Nothing Like a Little Home Cooking
While home-court advantage is not a heavy factor in the NBA, in college basketball home-court advantage is extremely important.
If a college basketball team has a rabid fan base and an intimidating arena to play in, that alone can provide a massive edge for a team in just about any game.
All throughout college basketball there are several teams with a very imposing home-court advantage. Here are some schools that have a reputation for being unfriendly hosts to their opponent.
- Kansas, Allen Fieldhouse (Since 2000, the Jayhawks have won an incredible 94% of their home games)
- Duke, Cameron Indoor Stadium (The Dukies are known for two things, Coach K and the Cameron Crazies. They have won over 93% of their home games since 2000)
- Gonzaga, McCarthey Athletic Center (The Zags have been a west-coast powerhouse for the last two decades for a number of reasons, but their home-court advantage is definitely at the top of the list)
- Kentucky, Rupp Arena (Big Blue Nation is named this for a reason – Kentucky fans are LOUD and unruly. It doesn’t hurt their teams are typically National Title contenders either)
- Michigan State, Jack Breslin S.E. Center (A sea of white and green, Tom Izzo and top flight competition is usually a bad recipe for a team traveling to face Sparty)
- South Dakota State, Frost Arena (You may be surprised to see a Summit League team up there with the elite programs in the country but did you know that South Dakota State has won nearly 90% of their games at home since 2000?)
This is really just the tip of the iceberg in finding teams with very strong home-court advantages. The point to take from this is when assessing the college basketball schedule, always look for the teams that particularly strong at home when handicapping the board.
Conference Play Can Be Very Rewarding
The non-conference slate in college basketball is usually filled to the brim with preseason tournaments on neutral floors, blue-blood teams playing bottom feeders and random upsets galore.
Couple this early-season chaos with the fact college basketball begins right in the heart of football season and a lot of bettors simply sit out the first couple of months of action to get a better feel for the landscape of the season.
Fortunately, conference play is where we start to see real separation between the contenders and pretenders.
A great college basketball betting strategy to deploy is to simply pare down 350 teams and 32 conferences to a handful of conferences you have a much better feel for.
If you have no clue about what teams are good and bad in the Big Sky Conference, why would you try to wager on those games?
Most conferences are setup to have each team play on each other’s home floor that season, (however larger conferences will have some teams only meeting once) allowing for you to identify how teams play home and away.
As such, this opens up great opportunities for identifying anything ranging from revenge spots to tough stretches in the schedule where a team is on the road for a certain stretch of time.
Additionally, the more familiarity you get with the conference, the better you will get with your handicapping. If you are able to master 3-4 conferences there will be more than enough action to quench your thirst for betting action at any point during the conference season.
Other Elements to Consider When Betting College Basketball
If you haven’t caught on to the uniqueness of the sport of college basketball yet, this next section should help do the trick.
Because there are so many college basketball teams, it can be extremely easy to overwhelm yourself with action and want to bet on every single game on the board.
Needless to say, we don’t recommend doing that.
If you want to be profitable long-term in betting college basketball, also consider these factors before making any wagers.
- Obvious mismatches
- Schools that are rated higher because the name on their jersey
- Scrappy underdogs that are facing a double-digit spread against a public favorite
- Heavy public betting action on a well known team (i.e. Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, etc.)
- Imposing home-court advantages
- Inferior opponents in the middle of a road trip
- Elite teams coming off a shocking/embarrassing loss
- Teams coming off a long OT game with short rest
- Underdogs that have played games in consecutive nights (this is especially big come conference tournament time)
- Early tip-times on neutral courts (players are not as familiar with the shooting environment in a venue they’re not accustomed to playing in, and some tip times for tournaments are as early as 9:00 AM Pacific)
The more you acclimate yourself to the many nuances of betting on college basketball, the easier betting on this sport will get.
When you get down to brass tacks, always look for games that give you a real edge and a higher chance of winning.
Fortunately enough for you, the savvy bettor, you have a lot of friends here at OddsUSA that want to help make your college basketball betting season the most profitable one yet. Good luck and very happy wagering!