Our college basketball handicapper presents teams with both greater than average home court advantages and poorer than average performances on the road. This phenomenon creates the opportunity to play certain teams in a simple home and away system with success.
Some of the most indelible scenes in college basketball are due to the raucous environments that the games are played in, with student sections at Duke, Kansas, Gonzaga, and Indiana among the best in the country. Those teams do have good home court advantages, and it is hard to discount the effect that the crowd has on the opponent. But just as those teams have good records at home and adjusted point spreads to boot, should we look at fading them on the road as bettor’s flock to the road favorite? Let’s look at some of the teams with the best records at home in conference play over the last decade, who you can also look at fading on the road. Records indicated are through the 2015 season.
Denver Pioneers, Summit League: Home 52-16, Away 17-47South Dakota State Jackrabbits, Summit League: Home 56-21, Away 30-44
The Pioneers win by an average of 9.09 points per game at home but lose by an average of 4.17 points on the road. That’s a swing of 13.26 points dependent on the situation. With an average home court advantage applied to 3.7 points in college basketball, you can see why having this information is handy. Denver is one of just a few teams that exhibit a great home court advantage because of altitude. Colorado State, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming also have a home and away from net winning margins of more than 10 points. Travel is also a consideration in the Summit League, with South Dakota State another team sporting a huge home/away split and 12-point differential.
Oklahoma State Cowboys, Big 12: Home 56-19, Away 19-64
Oklahoma State plays in a very competitive basketball conference in the Big 12 and is just one of 5 teams that have winning records at home and losing records away in conference play. With a home/away winning margin differential of 13.07 points, look for Oklahoma State to over-perform against the spread at home and underperform on the road. Other Big 12 teams that have a conference home/away differentials of over 10 are Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma, and Texas.
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Missouri Tigers, SEC: Home 61-22, Away 23-51Arkansas Razorbacks, SEC: Home 47-25, Away 19-50
The SEC has some legendary basketball programs in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Florida, yet it is Missouri and Arkansas that sports bettors should look at playing with a home and away system. Arkansas, in particular, loses by larger margins on the road than most teams in the conference, Auburn aside. Arkansas loses by an average of 7.64 points per game on the road versus winning by a 4.40 average at home.
New Mexico State Aggies, WAC: Home 63-9, Away 33-32
While it is the other New Mexico that most fans know of having a huge home court advantage by playing in “The Pit”, the Aggies have the most disproportionate home/away scoring results. The Aggies are 63-9 in conference play through 2015 at home in the Pan American Center and win by an average of 10.65 points. The Aggies are a .500 team on the road in the WAC though, losing by an average of 0.92 points. They can be faded against the relative obscure competition they are facing on the road in the WAC right now.
Gonzaga Bulldogs, WCC: Home 76-3, Away 54-15
No discussion about home team advantages would be complete without discussing what the Zags have done since the McCarthy Athletic Center opened in 2004. Through 2016 they have compiled a 164-14 record in that building in addition to the conference record shown above through 2015. Those conference games have resulted in an average of an 18.57-point win by Gonzaga at home. However, on the road in conference, the Zags have only won by 8.71 points in the WCC. That means, on average, when Gonzaga is a double-digit road favorite in a conference you should fade them – and that happens quite often.