Using Contrarian Thinking To Cash Tickets

NCAA Basketball Picks

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, February 16, 2017 3:12 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 3:12 PM UTC

SBR Contributor Ross Benjamin discusses the use of contrarian thinking that can be very helpful when making your college basketball picks. Go inside to read this intriguing betting article which displays simulated and specific examples.

It’s a proven fact, just 2% of all sports bettors make a profit on an annual basis. There’s a variety of reasons why for that alarmingly low success rate, and that’s a discussion for another day. During this article, I’m going to be discussing how to make those high percentage of losing wagers work in your when making your future college basketball picks.


Betting Against the Obvious

Most sports bettors have short memories. They tend to remember what happened in recent days or even through the past week of games, and account for little else when evaluating college basketball odds. Let me explain exactly what I’m getting at by using a simple set of simulated game results from a third person perspective.

Example: If “Team A” beat “Team B by 20” on Sunday, and “Team B” defeated “Team C” by 30 on Monday, then surely there’s a high probability that “Team A” will absolutely rout “Team C” on Tuesday. Furthermore if “Team A” should happen to be an underdog, then I absolutely must wager every dollar in my sportsbook account

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy, yet that’s the logic some people incorporate when wagering on college basketball. If the average bettor can spot these head to head results so readily, you can be rest assured the best sportsbooks will use it to their advantage. Keep in mind, professional odds-makers are masters at adjusting a line to overcompensate for public perception. In doing so, more times than not, bettors will take the bait while thinking they have an absolute steal. It sometimes can prompt 70% or more of individual bets being made on what’s perceived as the obvious choice, and that would be ‘Team A” when using the above example.

My advice is when you see a similar or identical situation like this occurring, don’t be so impulsive. Especially if you see a line move reflect the high percentage of bets going on what’s mistakenly being viewed as a mortal lock. Going the other way would be the saner or more reasonable way to wager. Now there’s no such thing as a full proof betting system, regardless of what some touts would have you believe. However, by using this contrarian approach, you’ll win more than lose, and that’s a prerequisite for long term success.


Reverse Line Movement

If you’re a person that comes home from your fulltime job, and has minimal time to do your college basketball handicapping, then I would encourage you to pay attention. Reverse line movement is easy to identify, and is a quick way to see where the sharp money is being wagered. Illustrated below is a simple example of such.

On Monday 2/13, college basketball betting odds at Bookmaker opened by showing Buffalo as a 1.0-point road favorite against Central Michigan for their Tuesday 2/14 scheduled game. As of an hour before tip time, 55.9% of individual wagers were made on the home underdog Central Michigan. Despite that betting trend, Buffalo still moved from a 1.5 to 3.5-point favorite. Simple rationale would lead you to believe that the line movement should have gone the other way, but that wasn’t the case. Keep in mind, line moves are made predicated on the total money bet on a team, and not because 1 team has substantially more individual wagers compared to their opponent. In a nutshell, there was much more money wagered on those 44.1% of bets going to Buffalo than the 55.9% on Central Michigan. Most times than not, it’s a reliable indicator to show where the sharp money has been placed. By the way, Buffalo defeated Central Michigan 99-93, and covered as a 3.5-point favorite.



Time & Date

02/14 07:06 PM


-3½ -110

Central Michigan

+3½ -110

02/14 06:15 PM

-3½ -108

+3½ -102

02/14 02:55 PM

-4 -103

+4 -107

02/14 11:59 AM

-3½ -105

+3½ -105

02/14 11:08 AM

-3 -105

+3 -105

02/14 11:01 AM

-2 -105

+2 -105

02/14 10:43 AM

-1½ -105

+1½ -105

02/13 07:19 PM

-1½ -110

+1½ -110

02/13 07:19 PM

-1 -110

+1 -110


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