There are two schools of thought when it comes to betting college basketball lines. The first is to jump all over a line when it is first released. The other NCAA basketball handicapping tip is to wait and see how that line moves and then place your bet right before the game gets underway.
Each of these strategies offers value depending on your overall handicapping efforts. Since there are so many college basketball games on the board over the course of the season, you are bound to find a few soft lines when they are first released. This is especially true when it comes to games between Mid-Major teams.
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This is one of the toughest times of the year for Oddsmakers trying to set sharp lines for the NFL, college football and the NBA while also trying to get a handle on the new college basketball season. The early season matchups are normally nonconference games to add even more difficulty to the task at hand.
Recognizing a soft line for any college basketball game is more of an art than a science, so your betting strategy should revolve around the teams you follow closely and know the best. Unless you are a professional handicapper, it becomes extremely hard to know all the ins and outs for more than 350 NCAAB Division I teams across 31 different conferences.
As a recreational bettor, focus all of your energy on the teams you like to watch the most. You could also stick to one or two specific conferences when it comes to betting on the games. Either way, it makes sense to narrow your approach. This will also help to catch some soft lines that may be released for the games you are focused on. It also makes sense to bet that soft line right away since the chances of it moving against your favor is pretty high.
Turning to the other school of thought, there are going to be times when you will want to take a wait and see approach to a betting line right up until tip-off. College basketball point spreads are usually released a little more than a day in advance of the game. Total lines take a bit more time to show up on the board. If you are looking to bet an NCAAB money line, they are normally released much closer to the start of the game. This leaves just a small window of opportunity to track line movement no matter how you want to bet on a particular matchup.
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The best strategy is to breakdown any game on face value to come up with a straight-up winner. You can also try and handicap your own spread for the game and compare it to the current spread at the online sportsbook where you plan to bet the game. If you like the number right before tip-off, place the bet. If you do not like the number, move onto the next game.
You never want to force a bet unless you get the betting line you were looking for. This is one of the biggest reasons why professional handicappers have a much higher winning percentage than recreational sports bettors.