Betting on NCAA Basketball Nonconference Games
Any new college basketball season begins with close to two months of nonconference matchups before conference play tips things off towards the end of December and early January. If you are someone that likes to wager on the games right out of the gate, there are a few important things to keep in mind when it comes to handicapping nonconference games.
The first thing working against you is a lack of familiarity, but the good news is that this is also working against the Oddsmakers as well. That is why it is extremely important to do your homework and dig deep into each side of the matchup. One of the things that you need to take into consideration is the general makeup of a particular team as compared to last year's version. Some of the questions you need to answer is; do they have any key starters back, is there a quality big man that can control play in the paint and how well do they shoot the ball as a team? Always remember that quality is much better than quantity when it comes to accessing a team's roster.
The next thing that becomes an important factor is each team's strength of schedule for both last season and the season coming up. National rankings are far less important during the nonconference portion of the schedule, but strength of schedule assessment can determine if the two teams are on the same competitive level.
Coaching is a huge factor in nonconference matchups as this is where the cream will usually rise to the top. Nothing infuriates the top head coaches in college basketball more than when their team comes out flat as a heavy favorite in a nonconference game. Upsets happen all the time at this level, but this could present a golden opportunity to go big on a quality-coached team in its next outing after suffering a bad loss. You know that coach is going to have his team ready to go its next time out.
One of the biggest reasons that some of the top college basketball handicappers love nonconference play is that it goes against the strength of the Oddmakers given the lack of history between the two sides. This edge is dramatically heightened during many of the tournaments that take place early in the season. College basketball is unique in that there are quite a few games that involve mismatched teams that are thrown together in a random tournament setting on a neutral court. All of these factors are in the bettor's favor if you know where and how to look for the bad lines that are frequently released for these tournament games.
Nonconference play in college basketball is often viewed as opportunistic games for programs that normally get overlooked when it is time to start filling in the brackets for the NCAA Tournament in March. There are a number of quality mid-major teams that are more than capable of knocking off a big-named school from a major conference in an effort to build their resume for the year. The Oddmakers' lines in matchups of this nature only enhance opportunities to capitalize on upsets as they tend to overvalue the favored team. This is where doing your homework on each team can really pay off as you can usually find a couple of games that actually swing heavily towards the underdog to pull-off the straight-up upset.
One of the best reasons to take advantage of nonconference play in college basketball in November and December is that most of the betting public still has its attention squarely focused on football. This could also be said about the Oddsmakers setting the lines for these 'under the radar' games. Given the shear amount of action that is on the board this time of year, the correct betting odds for some obscure nonconference basketball matchups are bound to fall through the cracks with a bad line.