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NCAA Basketball Betting: Focus on Small Conferences

Want to win your NCAA basketball bets? Of course you do. Nobody wants to lose, unless you’re the 2008-09 New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders. That 1-30 record was … something. Don’t be like the Highlanders. You can win by learning how to properly handicap games by focusing on small conferences.

College Basketball Small Conference Betting

For sportsbooks, the struggle is real. There are over 300 schools at the Division I-level, and oddsmakers need to make lines for every single game played. Their focus is obviously on the bigger ranked games between the likes of Duke, Kentucky and other top schools. But, they also have to make lines for smaller schools that don’t receive a lot media coverage.

Big schools have to face small schools on an annual basis to fill out their schedules, which puts oddsmakers in a tough spot. Sportsbooks often want to give bettors the opportunity to take advantage of soft lines due to the number of smaller conferences in college basketball, including mid-majors. It's not realistic to expect oddsmakers to put as much attention to detail into every college basketball matchup, leaving many games ripe for the picking.

Smaller Conferences = Betting Edge

On any given Saturday during college hoops season, there are upwards of 125 games on the betting slate. Since oddsmakers have to focus on the bigger conferences like the ACC and SEC, bettors who focus on smaller conferences and specialize in betting their games can have an edge. As part of your NCAA basketball betting strategy, it’s wise to pick one or two smaller conferences to follow like the Horizon League or Colonial Athletic Association. Spotting betting value with smaller conferences isn’t rocket science if you get to know those teams, the players, the rivalries and history, and home/road splits.

Take Advantage of Stagnant Lines

Unlike the highly public games of the power conferences, the lines set for smaller conference matchups do not move nearly as much because there is much less public action. If you see a betting line or total that you like, chances are you will be able to wager on that number throughout the week. With bigger conference games, the lines will move like they’re doing the conga at a Bar Mitzvah and you’ll need to jump on them early. With smaller conferences you have more time to handicap your bets and can take the lines hours before the game if you want to.

While sportsbooks often have the house edge, you can have an advantage in being able to pick one game out of 125 on the NCAA hoops odds menu. By focusing on smaller conferences and mid-majors, you’ll usually find softer lines that stay put throughout the week which could lead you to winning more bets.

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