Avoid the Rankings Trap in College Basketball Betting

College basketball rankings are the ultimate public opinion poll when it comes to wagering. A lot of bettors have a favorite team that they consider their best betting option regardless of whether or not that team is a contender, which is why bettors should always pay close attention and understand how much effect NCAA basketball rankings have on the odds.

Sportsbooks know certain teams are more popular with the public than others, and oddsmakers often shade lines in their favor trying to get bettors to lay more points. This in turn makes it even harder for bettors to win. However, there is hope. You can still make smart picks without relying heavily on the NCAA basketball rankings.

College Basketball Rankings Measure Public Opinion

Public opinions are like ears, we each have two and sometimes they get blocked and we mishear what’s being said. For this reason, public opinion isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be when it comes to betting on college hoops. Once you figure out that oddsmakers are sometimes shading their lines, you can compare their numbers with your own power rankings and determine where the most value on teams Lies.

There are different NCAA basketball rankings but the most well-known are the AP Top 25 and the Coaches’ Poll, both of which rely on facts and subjectivity. Some voters have seen the teams, know the win-loss records and use qualitative factors to determine the rankings. However, preseason expectations and traditional program prominence can push teams much higher or lower than they should be. Since the voters are regionally based, there will more than likely be some sort of home team bias affecting their personal rankings.

Overall, the voters do not do a poor job, but following subjective analysis won’t be enough if you are betting on 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 analytics and stats.

Odds and Handicapping Database

Instead, use our college basketball database to handicap your bets. This will help you avoid falling into the pit of subjectivity provided by 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 that there is value on the ranked team. However, that may not be the case. If you use our database, you can see how both teams fared in their last matchups. NCAA basketball rankings are less important than a comprehensive database that goes back 30 games like ours does.

College basketball rankings won’t help you beat the sportsbook because the house always finds some way to win. Do not underestimate the oddsmakers who made the ranked team an underdog because they are ranked No. 40. 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. In any case, make sure you do your homework beyond the polls before laying down your money at the sportsbook.

The key to winning more college basketball wagers is avoiding the rankings trap when you’re handicapping the teams and their upcoming matchups. Our NCAA basketball pages can help you with that. We have betting news, free picks, that database we mentioned above and anything else you’d need to make smart college hoops bets.