Upset-Spotting in NCAA Basketball Odds: Determining Betting Value in Underdogs

Ross Benjamin

Friday, February 13, 2015 4:39 PM GMT

Friday, Feb. 13, 2015 4:39 PM GMT

Our college basketball betting expert touches upon Part II of his article on identifying value in home underdogs. In this edition, he uses two specific examples from Saturday’s upcoming card, in order to illustrate how this successful handicapping process is applied.

How to Identify Value in College Basketball Home Underdogs Part II
Last week I wrote the first part of this article, touching upon several foundational starting points which can be used in order to identify value in a college basketball home underdog. Today I’m going to expound upon some of those handicapping parameters, and point out some specific situations that may possibly apply to what we previously discussed. We’re going to use this Saturday’s huge college basketball card to draw from. Although there’s no college basketball odds presently posted for that card at the time of this writing, there are two games that I can safely assume a home underdog will be involved and will qualify for one or more of the parameters that I have already touched upon in Part I of this article.

 

Reviewing the Parameters
A home underdog with a winning record (preferably .600 or better), playing in game 16 of the season or beyond. This parameter is by far the most important of them all.

A team which has won 32 or more of their previous 40-games at home.

A team that has a defensive field goal percentage of less than 40%.

A team which converts on 37% or better from beyond the three-point line. In a perfect world that team would be converting on an even better percentage at home than their season average would indicate.

If our team meets one or more of these parameters, and is facing an opponent that converts on less than 66.7% of their free throw attempts, the value increases that much more.


Saturday Card Examples

VCU (18-6) vs. George Washington (17-7) 2:00 PM ET
The George Washington Colonials enter this contest with a winning percentage of .708. According to my personal power numbers, the Colonials should be a home underdog of approximately +4.0 versus the VCU Rams. They’ve also won 32 of their last 40-games at home, and that includes going 10-0 this season. Then there’s a kicker, they will be facing an opponent (VCU) which has converted on just 63.9% of their free throw attempts this season. This makes for some pretty good value on the home underdog in this situation, and especially considering they qualified for three of the five parameters. I’ll certainly strongly consider the home underdog in this game for one of my college basketball picks on Saturday.

 

Duke (21-3) vs. Syracuse (16-8) 6:00 PM ET
This game will be played in front of a mammoth sold out crowd of 35,000 at the Carrier Dome. The Orange will certainly be installed as a home underdog in this contest, and have a winning percentage of .667 on the season. In addition, Syracuse has won 34 of their last 40-games at home, and has a field goal percentage defense of 39.4%. I would take a long hard look at Syracuse plus the points in this spot, since they qualify in three of the five categories required when searching for home underdog value. We may want to think a bit out of the box as well when handicapping this contest. Syracuse has recently placed a self imposed ban on their basketball program, preventing them from participating in any postseason play. With just six games left to play for Syracuse, it makes the enormity of this contest, versus one of the top ranked teams in the country, much larger than a regular season contest for the Orange. I would be foolish not to entertain using Syracuse as one of my NCAA basketball picks on Saturday.

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