Avoid The Rankings Trap in College Hoops Betting
College basketball rankings are the ultimate public opinion poll when it comes to wagering, which is why bettors should always pay close attention and understand how much of an impact they can have on the odds.
Sportsbooks know certain teams are more popular with the public than others, and oddsmakers will often shade lines in their favor trying to get bettors to lay more points, making it even harder for them to win.
College Basketball Rankings Measure Public Opinion
That is why knowing how to measure this public opinion with the polls can make a major difference in whether you win more college hoops wagers than lose. If you can understand how much oddsmakers are shading their lines and compare their numbers with your own power ratings, you can figure out where the most value is on teams.
Remember that both the AP Top 25 and the Coaches’ Polls are very subjective. While some voters have seen the teams and know the won-loss records, there are a ton of qualitative factors that go into the rankings.
Preseason expectations and traditional program prominence can push teams much higher – or lower – than they really should be. And also keep in mind, since all of the voters are regionally-based, there will more than likely be some sort of bias affecting their personal rankings.
Power Ratings are Better Indicators
Overall, the voters do not do a poor job. But even following excellent subjective analysis will not be enough if you are betting college basketball with the intent of making a profit. Wagers can be won or lost by a few points, so bettors need to know with better certainty where schools really stack up based on more accurate power ratings from true experts.
The Sagarin and Pomeroy Ratings are better indicators of where teams should rank in relation to each other. These rating systems use advanced statistical metrics to determine the rankings, and they only get more accurate as the season progresses.
Following them closely over the course of the season can keep you from falling into the rankings trap. For example, when the 23rd-ranked team in the AP Top 25 plays an unranked opponent on the road as an underdog, the assumption is to think there is value on the ranked team. However, that may not be the case.
Do Your Homework to Beat Sportsbooks
Do not underestimate the oddsmakers, who made the ranked team an underdog for a reason, probably because they are more like the 40th-best team in the country. At the same time, a ranked road team can also be a good underdog bet if they are playing an overrated unranked school with a big name like North Carolina. In any case, make sure to do your homework beyond the polls before laying down your money.
The key to winning more college basketball wagers is avoiding the rankings trap when you are handicapping the teams and their upcoming matchups.