From Biggie and 2Pac to Indiana and Purdue, rivalries make the world go ‘round. They are also an important part of college basketball wagering, especially if you can handicap a rivalry game properly. Rivals in college basketball usually 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. Below, we’ll give you an idea of how to handicap a rivalry game so you can (hopefully) win your NCAA basketball wagers.
Home Court is an 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. This also brings increased nerves to the visiting team, causing them to crumble like a sand castle in the rain. 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.
Past History is Important
History can tell us a lot about a rivalry matchup. Look at recent meetings and the progression of the schools involved in the rivalry throughout the season. Do not throw out your regular handicapping regimen just because this is a rivalry game either. Be sure to look at the history of the rivalry and how the two teams involved have played against each other in the past.
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. Seniors graduate, excellent players are NBA-bound and Jake Shuttlesworth convinces his son Jesus Shuttlesworth to play for Big State. However, if there are star players, it’s worth looking at how they performed in rivalry games past.
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 have they 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 some 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. You can also check out Odds Shark’s NCAA basketball pages for free picks, betting news and odds to help you handicap future college rivalry games.