How to Spot an Upset in NCAA Basketball Odds: Identifying Valuable Home Underdogs

Ross Benjamin

Friday, February 6, 2015 4:00 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 4:00 PM UTC

Our sports betting consultant will share one of his many NCAA basketball wagering theories in this article. Take the time to read this detailed report, in order for you to become a more astute capper.

College Basketball Home Underdog Value
In today’s article, I’m going to be touching upon the finer points of spotting college basketball home underdog value. There will be plenty of opportunities during the next few weeks, to apply some, or all of these methods, while you scan through daily college basketball odds at the major sportsbooks.


Home Dogs with a Winning Record
There are several parameters that I look for when attempting to uncover value on a home underdog. The first point of emphasis is identifying teams with a winning record in this exact role. Preferably, I’d like to see a winning percentage of .600 or above. I also possess a stronger confidence level with the search process as we get deeper into the season. Optimally, I’m looking for a team which has reached game 16 of the season or beyond. There are exceptions to every handicapping rule, but by using this method above anything else we’re about to discuss, it will give you a strong foundational starting point.


Strong Home Court
Let’s begin to determine additional parameters which will in turn strengthen the value of a home underdog selection. A strong home court is high on the priority list. I like to use a 40-game barometer pertaining to this subject. The best case scenario is to find a team which has won 32 or more of their last 40-games at home. Obviously the higher the number, the stronger this specific handicapping axiom becomes. This especially holds true with teams from major conferences such as the ACC, BIG-10, BIG-12, SEC, and PAC-12. The reason for placing heavier weight on major conferences is because in the vast majority of instances, a strong home court with any of these teams also goes hand in hand with rabid fan support. There’s nothing that creates more emotion for a huge home crowd, that’s become accustomed to seeing their team win, than having their school being installed as an underdog against what is perceived nationally to be a stronger opponent.

Check Out These Teams with Perfect Home Record 

Field Goal Percentage
When I refer to the topic of field goal percentage, it’s not just restricted to offense, and as a matter of fact, defensive field goal percentage is my main focal point. When you have a team with a field goal percentage defense of less than 40%, along with all the other previously mentioned vital statistics in place, then you have a potential monster value in your sights.

In regards to the offensive side of things, three-point shooting is my key component. The great equalizer for a college basketball underdog is the ability to make a high percentage of three-point shots. However, as with any sports handicapping tool, it’s only as strong as its other supporting factors. The benchmark I look for is a team which shoots 37% or better from beyond the three-point line, and also converts on an even higher percentage at home in this statistical category compared to their overall season average.


Favorite with Poor Free Throw Percentage
Afford me the opportunity to be hypothetical for a moment. Let’s assume all the above handicapping variables we’ve already discussed have all qualified. The final kicker would be, fading a favorite which is a poor free throw shooting team. My cut off point when deeming a favorite in this category is 66.7%. Simply put, any team this deep into the season, converting on less than 66.7% of their free throw attempts, makes betting against them even more enticing. The logic being, if we’re being asked to overcome a deficit late in the 2nd half, requiring us to intentionally foul in order to lengthen the game, poor free throw shooting favorites increase our chances of a back door cover, or even coming back to win the game outright.


Final Take
I would highly suggest you utilize some of the points I’ve made in this article over the next few weeks, and as a result, your chances of isolating a solid college basketball home underdog value will greatly increase. I’ve listed bullet points below in the order of importance which will make your search a smoother process.

College basketball home underdog playing in game 16 of the season or beyond.

They possess a winning percentage of .600 or better.

They’ve won 32 or more of their previous 40-games at home.

They have a defensive field goal percentage of less than 40%.

They convert on 37% or better of their three-point attempts, and that percentage at home is even more successful than their season average.

They’re facing an opponent that converts on less than 66.7% of its free throw attempts.

Guarantees when it comes to sports betting results are null and void. Anyone that tells you any differently in that regards, automatically should raise a bright red flag for you to vividly see. What I can guarantee, being diligent in the use of solid and proven handicapping theories like the one depicted in this article, will make you markedly better when making your free NCAA Basketball picks.

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