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NCAA Basketball Betting: Focus on Small Conferences

While oddsmakers do a fine job setting opening lines for most major sports, including the NFL, NBA and MLB, there are simply too many college teams to track on a regular basis and put accurate numbers on. That is why sportsbooks can have a difficult time beating bettors who know their stuff when it comes to college basketball and football.

Sportsbooks Sometimes Struggle with College Basketball

While college football is sometimes considered a major sport because of the media coverage it gets, oddsmakers still struggle sometimes when making lines for games involving smaller schools.

But college basketball is even tougher because there are more than twice as many schools that play on the Division 1 level, and some big schools have to face small schools on an annual basis just to fill out their schedules.

That puts sportsbooks in a tough spot, as they cannot help but give bettors the opportunity to take advantage of soft lines due to the number of smaller conferences in college basketball, including mid-majors. It is simply too hard for oddsmakers to keep up with all the schools playing college basketball, leaving many games ripe for the picking.

Focus on Smaller Conferences to Gain a Betting Edge

For example, on any given Saturday during college hoops season, there are upwards of 125 games on the betting slate involving 250 teams. Since oddsmakers have to focus on the bigger conferences like the ACC and SEC, bettors who focus on the smaller conferences and specialize in betting their games will have an edge.

So as part of your NCAA basketball betting strategy, it is wise to pick one or two smaller conferences to follow like the Horizon League or the Colonial Athletic Association. Then get to know the teams, players, rivalries, history, home/road dichotomies, and matchups, and bet them accordingly. With the advent of TV and online sports packages, these smaller conferences are easier to follow than ever.

Use Your College Hoops Handicapping Time Wisely

From there, it will be easier to spot betting value with college basketball games. 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. In other words, 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. That way, you can spend more time handicapping.

Sportsbooks do not have that same luxury. Because oddsmakers have a lot on their plate, they do not have the same amount of time and will not be able to adjust their numbers on these games in a timely manner, making it possible for you to beat them.

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 will find softer lines and more winning bets.