Betting on NCAA Basketball Total Lines
The popularity of wagering on college basketball has grown dramatically over the years and one of the biggest reasons why is the tremendous opportunity to build a bankroll wagering on total lines as long as you know how and where to look.
Some sportsbooks used to shy away from releasing total lines for college basketball mainly because it is hard to gain a sharp edge on betting lines of this nature. If an effort to increase the action on the sport, total lines have become widely available for the majority of the games at the Division I level even with many of the contests played in mid-major conferences. Many of the top handicappers will actually gravitate towards wagering on total lines in smaller conference matchups since this is where most of the value lies in the betting odds.
One of the best ways to get a solid handle on betting college basketball totals is by simply watching as many games as possible. Certain high-scoring teams may fail to hold up against consistent defensive pressure in general, while others may flourish against man-to-man coverage but come apart at the seams against a zone defense. It is all about tendencies, which are hard to pick-up from only reading a game's final box score.
A team's overall shooting percentage and average points scored can be two misleading statistics if you do not have a solid handle on the opponents it has faced. This is especially true when you start breaking down a team's nonconference schedule, which may include quite a few games against teams that are not defensive-minded in their style of play.
Another factor that has an impact on the final score is a team's ability to hit a high percentage of its shots from three-point range. You need to further break this number down in terms of which players are scoring all the threes. If it is just one dominant shooter, than this high percentage becomes much less reliable as opposed to a team that has a few players consistently hitting shots from beyond the arc. This can work the opposite way as well to hold the final score down if a poor shooting team from three-point range is forced to try and erase a large deficit by hitting threes down the stretch.
The average total line for a college game will fall into the 130 to 150-point range. This does not mean you should avoid playing the UNDER against lower totals or take the OVER on some of the higher lines as long as your handicapping efforts and confidence level support the play. Sometimes there can be some tremendous value in total lines that fall way out of this range one way or the other. The books may simply be trying to drive money the opposite way.
One thing that you should always be aware of when it comes to wagering on college basketball total lines is line movement from when the betting odds were first set. This is especially true with games that are not in the national spotlight or in a major conference. The betting public can have an impact on games of this nature, but when you see some significant movement in a non-marquee matchup it is probably the result of a few sharps placing wagers on that game.
This also leads into the importance of shopping around for the best total line that supports your play. There could be a fairly wide variance from one book to another given the amount of action they are taking in on a particular matchup. Unlike the NBA where the total line edge has been sliced razor thin on a handful of games, on any given night in college basketball, there are a number of matchups that can offer a world of opportunities to cash-in on a few of the games.