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Handicapping college basketball rivalries

One of the best things about college basketball – and college basketball betting – are the intense rivalries that take place. There’s nothing better than the atmosphere at a college basketball rivalry game, except cashing a winning ticket on the same game.

College basketball rivals play each other once or twice a season unless they hook up in a conference tournament or the NCAA Tournament, and the game is played within the context of history and the conference schedule. Returning players’ experiences, fan intensity, and media hype all play into rivalry games, making them a different handicapping beast than a standard college hoops contest.

Emotions are a major factor in rivalry games, and you’ll have the advantage if you take them into account in the right measure. Homecourt has a great effect in rivalry games, as the frenzied fans bring added motivation to their team. Normally, homecourt is worth 3-4 points against the spread, but in rivalry games, the effect can be much greater than that. [ NCAA hoops game logs ]

In the Duke-North Carolina rivalry, the Blue Devils get a huge boost from Cameron Indoor Stadium. In fact, the Cameron Crazies give Duke the biggest homecourt advantage in college basketball. Make sure to take that into consideration when laying down your wager.

It’s also important to evaluate matchups, recent meetings, and the progression throughout the season of the schools in question. Don’t throw out your regular handicapping process just because it’s a rivalry game, and be sure to look back at what happened in the previous meeting, even if the next game is on a different court.

Finally, look at how the different teams have moved through the schedule. Has one team matured and improved, or changed strategy or lineups since the previous encounter? In college basketball, a school can improve dramatically over the course of only a few months.

Winning more NCAA basketball wagers may depend on handicapping college basketball rivalries better. Home court is critical and you need to pay close attention to line moves in the hours before gametime. Check out college basketball point spreads and totals here at Odds Shark.