Handicapping College Basketball Rivalries
Rivalries are one of the best things about college basketball – and wagering on it. There is also nothing better than the atmosphere at a college basketball rivalry game, except cashing a winning betting ticket on it. Rivals in college basketball play each other once or twice each season unless they meet up again later in a conference tournament or the NCAA Tournament.
A number of handicapping factors need to be considered before betting on rivalries, including returning players’ experiences, fan intensity and media hype, making them a much different animal than a regular college hoops game.
Home Court is Advantage in Rivalry Games
Emotions are arguably the biggest factor in rivalry games, and you as a bettor will have the edge if you take them into account and handicap them accordingly. Home-court advantage can have a great impact on rivalry games, as the frenzied fans bring added motivation to their team. Normally, home-court advantage is worth 3-4 points to the spread, but in rivalry games, the effect can end up being much greater than that.
In the Duke-North Carolina rivalry, the Blue Devils get a huge boost from Cameron Indoor Stadium. Some even argue that their fans – also known as the Cameron Crazies – give Duke the biggest home-court advantage in college basketball. Always make sure to take that into consideration when laying down your wager in those rivalry games.
Look at Past History When Handicapping Rivalries
It is also important to evaluate matchups, recent meetings and the progression of the schools involved in the rivalry throughout the season. Do not throw out your regular handicapping regiment just because this is a rivalry game either, and be sure to recap the previous meetings and note the players even if the next game is on a different court.
Because there is such high turnover in college basketball, it can be rare for star players to be part of a rivalry for more than one year. But if they are, it is definitely worth noting.
Breaking down how the two teams have moved through their respective schedules is necessary as well before betting on a rivalry game. Has one team matured and improved, or has it changed strategies and lineups since the previous meeting?
In college basketball, a school can improve dramatically over the course of only a few months, going from a team outside the NCAA Tournament field to a national championship contender after the conference slate begins.
If you become an expert at betting on college basketball rivalries, you will end up winning more of your NCAA basketball wagers. Just remember home court is critical, and paying close attention to betting line moves leading up to game time is essential.