College Basketball Betting: Handicapping Tournaments



One aspect that I’ve always thought was lacking in professional sports is a lack of tournaments. Going through middle and high school, these were the sporting events that were usually the ones that were most anticipated. However, NCAA basketball is definitely not lacking in this department. NCAA basketball brings forth numerous different tournaments, with the biggest one of them all – March Madness – sure to bring about loads of excitement. Additionally, what better way to watch and root for your team(s) in NCAA tournaments than to place a few bets here and there as well. In this article, we’ll take a look at how to best handicap NCAA basketball tournaments.

Difference In Preparation and Rest Time

Although basketball is basketball anywhere in the world, when it comes to betting, two similar events could be very different. In NCAA basketball, there is a big difference between handicapping regular season games and handicapping postseason tournaments. The average bettor will typically fail to adjust for these important but subtle differences – you’ll want to avoid making the same mistakes.

Over the course of the regular season, teams will know exactly who they’ll be facing, at home or on the road, and in which week. As a result, teams typically have the luxury of a much longer time period (multiple days usually) to rest and prepare for their upcoming opponent. By taking the time to rest and recover, go through game film, and study strategies, teams are usually much fresher and more prepared during regular season games. On the other hand, most tournaments have a timeframe of just a few days. As a result, there simply isn’t enough time for a team to prepare for its upcoming opponents. Even worse, a lot of times, a team won’t even know who they’ll be playing until the night before! Additionally, with games having quick turnaround times, the luxury of prolonged periods of rest and recovery is simply next to none. While the top seeded teams will sometimes benefit from a bye, this does not happen in every tournament – you’ll see why it’d be a smart move to bet on teams with byes.

Heavy Favorites

In this section, we’ll take a look at historical data of heavy favorites of -6.5 points or more coming off a bye, with their opponent having covered their last game and also playing on back-to-back days. In these situations, the heavy favorites have won straight-up on the moneyline 88.2% of the time, covered against the spread 56.6% of the time, and the under for the game totals hitting 57.4% of the time.

Small Favorites And Underdogs

In this section, we’ll take a look at historical data of small favorites and underdogs of -3.0 points or less coming off a bye, with their opponent having covered their last game and also playing on back-to-back days. In these situations, small favorites and underdogs have won straight-up on the moneyline 61.9% of the time, covered against the spread 62.5% of the time, and the under for the game totals hitting 52.3% of the time.

Teams Meeting For The Third Time

In this section, we’ll take a look at historical data of two teams who have already played each other twice during the regular season, focusing on the team who is coming off a bye. The team coming off the bye has won straight-up on the moneyline 78.3% of the time, covered against the spread 57.5% of the time, and the under for the game totals hitting 55.4% of the time.