It has been a long time coming that college basketball has some parity. But the recent developments of name, image and likeness, and the transfer portal are changing the sport.
There are a variety of things to consider for college basketball picks today and beyond.
Especially when the calendar turns to March and teams have a large sample size against the similar competition – particularly through conference play. But prior to league play and early in the season, there are a number of data sets that fans can glean from when making their picks.
College basketball is different from the NBA in that pace can make all the difference in a game. Teams who play with a slower pace are going to have great points allowed per-game rankings, but their defensive efficiency numbers will tell the real story. Similarly, their offensive points per game rankings will be among the worst, but their efficiency numbers may be elite.
The offensive and defensive efficiencies – looking primarily at shooting percentages and turnovers – will allow people to glean a lot from how well that team plays on a particular end. That is regardless of a higher tempo or not.
But just because teams are particularly strong in efficiency on either end of the court doesn’t tell the full story. A team’s strength of schedule will help build out that picture. A team may be well above .500 and have elite efficiency but may have one of the weakest schedules in nonconference play. Those teams may be favored but susceptible to losing to their opponent.
Similarly, a team that is closer to or below .500 may have played multiple top 50 opponents or quadrant 1 games. Those teams may be a little more competitive and battle-tested, so they are worth looking into because of the level of competition and opposing talent they have seen.
Since the National Basketball Association required players to go to at least one year of college before turning pro, college basketball rosters have taken on a different form. A lot of the premier programs will have freshmen and sophomores likely to find themselves making millions at the professional level.
The teams to watch out for, especially when March Madness nears, are the veteran teams at a lower level. A team in the Atlantic 10 or Missouri Valley Conference that is composed of seniors will be well-coached and have great chemistry.
They typically have 20 or more wins and have won tight games or maybe even played in one of the elite preseason tournaments or showcase games.
It is particularly important getting into conference play to look at past matchups. While the rosters change, the coaches are often the same in the major conferences. That means they are recruiting similarly skilled players who fit what their systems allow for and should translate to year-over-year results.
There is more roster turnover now than ever, but most rosters are consistent year over year so the one, two, or three league matchups are worth revisiting and seeing what may change from those. It is easy to find trends and what outliers there may be. Or perhaps if one key player was the difference and that star has graduated, what may change?
Beyond that, there are numbers to check out on the season. It is easy to find information like a team’s record against the spread as favorites or underdogs, games played during the day or at night, on a neutral court, or on the road. It can even be broken down to how much a team was favored by or underdogs as.
Where’s the Money?
There is another element to consider, and that is how casinos and sportsbooks make their money. More often than not, there is a line that will seem so obviously wrong that it causes doubt. There is data out there to look at the percentage of bets on a team and where the majority of the money is.
Picking a team that isn’t popular with the public may be profitable because that is where the sportsbooks hope to profit.
There is plenty to consider when making college basketball picks, and hopefully, this leads to a profitable experience.
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