NCAA Basketball Betting: Focus on Small Conferences

The sharpest lines out there are on the NFL, the NBA, college football, and MLB.

Did you see college basketball odds on that list? No, you didn’t. That’s because there are soft, or softer, lines to be had betting college hoops, mainly because of the mid-major and smaller conferences.

There’s nothing inherent about smaller conferences that make them ripe for the picking, only that they’re far less prominent than the power conferences.

Perhaps more importantly, there are simply too many leagues and too many teams for oddsmakers to keep up with them all. That opens the door for you.

There are upwards of 125 games on a given Saturday during college basketball season. Oddsmakers have to focus on the big boys like the ACC and the Big East, leaving the smaller conferences as a better place on which to keep an eye.

As part of your NCAA basketball handicapping strategy, pick one or two smaller conferences to follow. Conferences like the Horizon League, the Missouri Valley Conference, and the Colonial Athletic Association are all good places to start.

Get to know the teams, players, rivalries, history, home/road dichotomies, and matchups, and bet accordingly. With the advent of TV and online sports packages, these conferences are easier to follow than ever. Perhaps it’s also wise to start with the one in your backyard, if possible.

From there, it’ll be easier to see the value when it arises. Unlike the highly public games of the power conferences, the lines set for smaller conference matchups don’t move as much because there’s less public action. If you see a line or total that you like, chances are you’ll be able to wager that number throughout the week.

The books have precious little time to adjust, making it possible for you to stay ahead of them for these games.

The sportsbook has the house edge, but you have the advantage of being able to pick one game out of 125 on the NCAA hoops odds menu. Focus on smaller conferences and mid-majors and you'll find softer lines and more edge for  yourself.