NCAA Basketball Odds: Identifying Betting Value in Home Underdogs

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, February 21, 2015 6:46 PM GMT

Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015 6:46 PM GMT

Our college basketball betting analyst provides us with his weekly column on identifying value in home underdogs. He’ll be reviewing what games qualified last week under his criteria guidelines, and some possible betting situations on the college basketball card for this upcoming Sunday.

Here are the parameters and guidelines that I use in order to identify a college basketball home underdog with betting value. They’re listed in the order of importance.

Any college basketball home underdog playing in game 16 of the season or beyond, possessing a winning percentage of .600 or better.

Any college basketball home underdog which has won 32 or more of their last 40-games at home.

Any college basketball home underdog that has a defensive field goal percentage of less than 40%.

Any college basketball home underdog converting on 37% or better of their three-point attempts, and that percentage at home is even more successful than their season average.

Any college basketball home underdog facing an opponent that converts on less than 66.7% of its free throw attempts.


Reviewing Last Week’s Qualifiers

Duke vs. Syracuse on Saturday 2/14
Syracuse entered this game as a 7.5 point home underdog in the college basketball odds. The Orange had won 34 of their previous 40-games at home, had a .667 winning percentage on the season, and possessed a defensive field goal percentage of 39%. Although Duke didn’t meet the criteria as a team which was converting on less than 66.7% of their free throw attempts, they had been good on only 65% of their tries in the prior five games leading up to this contest.

This selection looked golden early on with the Orange jumping out to an early 11-point lead, and still led by 3 at the half. However, Syracuse came up short of covering by the narrowest of margins in an 80-72 loss. This further exemplifies, there’s no such thing as a lock when it pertains to sports betting.

 

Kansas vs. West Virginia on Monday 2/16
West Virginia entered this contest with an outstanding 18-6 (.750) record. They closed as a 1.5 point underdog. Obviously they met the most important qualifying factor. I was also able to spot an underlying edge in regards to their defensive play this season.

Although the Mountaineers weren’t close to meeting the defensive field goal percentage of less than 40%, they’ve been one of the top teams in the country in creating turnovers. Studying their game tape also indicated to me that their inflated 46% defensive field goal percentage was a bit deceiving. The Mountaineers apply full court pressure for virtually the entire game, resulting at times in outnumbered offensive high percentage situations for their opponents. The flip side to that equation, they’ve been proficient at creating turnovers by the opposition which has lead to easy baskets, in addition to creating a much preferred frantic pace to the game. Those two factors being in my mind, outweighed they’re less than impressive defensive field goal percentage.

It certainly wasn’t a stress free selection as the Mountaineers came away with a 62-61 win. When it’s all said and done, the only thing that counted was that we cashed our ticket.

 

Louisville vs. Syracuse on Wednesday 2/18
This became a real rarity for me regarding my college basketball betting experiences. I had a team (Syracuse) that qualified twice in a space of only five days under my home underdog criteria. Syracuse entered this contest as a 2.5 point home underdog, won 33 of their last 40-games at home, had less than a 40% defensive field goal percentage, and possessed a winning percentage of .640 on the year. Hence, Syracuse was a 69-59 outright winner, and easily took home the cash.

 

Possible Situations on Sunday 2/22

Utah vs. Oregon 3:00 PM ET

Ross’ Power Index: Utah -9.0 (estimated projected line)
Oregon will enter this contest with an outstanding .704 winning percentage, and will unquestionably be installed as a home underdog. The Ducks have also gone a superb 16-2 at home this season.

 

Michigan State vs. Illinois 7:30 PM ET

Game# 845-846

Ross’ Power Index: Michigan State -1.0 (estimated projected line)
Illinois enters this game with a winning percentage of .654, and has gone a stellar 12-1 at home this season. They’ll be facing a Michigan State team which has converted on just 62.3% of their free throw attempts this season. It will be interesting to see if the books are close to being in agreement with my projected line. Even if Illinois is installed as a pick or small favorite, they’ll still garner some serious consideration from my perspective in regards to my college basketball picks for Sunday.

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