The college basketball season is underway and for even the most seasoned handicapper with years of experience, they are struggling to literally keep everything afloat with the NFL, NBA, college football, NHL and now college basketball in action.
If these people who do this for a living have a hard time, what can you hope to accomplish and not get buried with a mountain of losses?
Here is a list of fundamentally strong strategies to follow, which allows you to bet, learn about teams and reduces your risk.
1) Be Selective
Unless you know the name of every coach and how many returning starters each team in the conference nearest to where you live, be selective and take your time.
If you bet football on the weekend the rest of this month, pass on betting college basketball on the weekends. Focus on using the weekdays to wager on hoops.
If you see 15 to 30 games on say a Tuesday night and you don't have the time for research, various websites have free plays from a variety of handicappers. (You can sign up for Free Picks here at - Games Advisors).
Turn this into your own personal consensus service, tabulate who are the most popular picks and if you trust what you read, make small bets. They are doing the research, if it makes sense, give a shot, just be choosy, less is more.
2) One Level Higher For Handicapping Hoops
Let's assume you a more advanced and have a bit more time. The consensus idea is still good, but make sure you have one or two of these books handy. Make certain to have a CBB yearbook from Street and Smith, Athlon's or Lindy's. Each has good quality information you could read thru briefly to help you know more about a lot of teams.
Say you come up with consensus choices or your skill level is such where you can spot what looks like a bad spread or total. Look at these books and see how many returning players they have, look to see if the point guard is returning or brand new and where they are picked in their conference.
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If a team was .500 or better last season, returns four or more starters, including the point guard, and they are either a short favorite (-4 or less) against an opponent with one starter or less and without the floor general, this could be a bet you can win early, based on experience and team chemistry. If this would happen to be an underdog of +4 or less, all the better.
3) Holiday Tournaments
Just before or after Thanksgiving, many teams go to various neutral sites to play in two or three games in as many days. Coaches use these as learning experiences against similar or better competition. They are used to develop depth and learn what players can "gut it out" when tired and keep playing.
If you don't have the time to follow the box scores and the odds, DO NOT bet these games. If you have limited time, pick two or three tournaments involving teams you would be interested in. Similar to conference championships, the box scores tell a story and if you shoot 60% one night, chances are you will cool off the next.
Valuable lessons can be learned from these tourney's later in the year also. Maybe a favored team to win this tournament losses it twice. When February comes around and this same club was expected to be in the Top 3 in their conference and instead are hovering around .500 in league play, you spotted their weakness back in November.
4) Money Management
This should be first, but most would skip over it anyway. If you normally bet $100 per game and you have four and five running on most nights once January arrives, cut those bets back to $40 or $50. (Make the correlation based on the amount you wager per game).
Even if you watched, Kansas, Michigan State, Duke and Kentucky on the opening night, each of those teams will be different on Jan.1, Feb. 1 and Mar. 1 then they will be this month. Don't place your hard-earned money on teams that are learning on the run. Again, be selective, have some fun and get ready for when conference play starts and you are better prepared to go at it.