Why You Should Spend More Time Handicapping NCAAB Mid-Majors

When the 2020-21 college basketball (NCAA) season gets underway, every one of you should spend more time handicapping the mid-major teams who often go overlooked.

There are more than 350 schools competing in Division 1 college basketball.

What is a Mid-Major?

It’s easy to spend all of your time handicapping the teams in the power six conferences (Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, ACC, SEC and Pac-12), but those conferences are tougher to handicap.

Is anyone wondering what a mid-major is?

The term mid-major was initially coined in 1977. It’s a term used to describe conferences not among the “Power Six”. The term mid-major is subjective, though.

In recent years, several conferences previously referred to as mid-majors are now considered above that level. Those include the Mountain West and Western Athletic conferences. The Atlantic 10 is also referred to as a “high-major” by some, but for the most part, they’re still considered a mid-major.

Other popular mid-major conferences include the Colonial Athletic Association, Southwestern Athletic, Atlantic Sun, Southern, Ivy League, America East, Horizon League, Missouri Valley, Summit League, Ohio Valley, Big Sky, Big South and Big West.

Now, here’s a question I bet you don’t know the answer to.

What do the top seven teams against the spread have in common from the 2019-20 season? They’re all mid-majors that many NCAAB bettors may have never even heard of before.

Here are those seven teams and their ATS record from 2019-20:

Hofstra Pride (CAA): 26-8 SU / 25-8 ATS (Covered 75.8%)

Southern Jaguars (SWAC): 17-15 SU / 20-7-3 ATS (Covered 74.1%)

North Florida Ospreys (ASUN): 21-12 SU / 22-9 ATS (Covered 71.0%)

South Dakota State Jackrabbits (Summit): 22-10 SU / 21-9 ATS (Covered 70.0%)

Pennsylvania Quakers (Ivy): 16-11 SU / 18-8 ATS (Covered 69.2%)

St. Francis (PA) Red Flash (NEC): 22-10 SU / 20-9-1 ATS (Covered 69.0%)

Chattanooga Mocs (Southern): 20-13 SU / 19-9-3 ATS (Covered 67.9%)

Most of these teams didn’t get here by being lucky either.

Five of these teams (Hofstra, Southern, North Florida, South Dakota and St. Francis PA) finished in first or second place in their respective conferences in 2019-20.

So, how does this help us out for the upcoming 2020-21 season?

During the college basketball offseason you should be doing your homework on these smaller mid-majors.

For example, what teams are favored to win the smaller conferences?

What teams are expected to compete for a conference title?

Identifying the top teams in these mid-major conferences is the first step, as we know that generally these teams will also perform ATS during the season.


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Strong Against The Spread

Why do small mid-major teams perform so well against the point spread in CBB?

I have a few assumptions...

#1 – These teams aren’t heavily handicapped and the public generally has zero interest betting on teams from these conferences, as they aren’t televised on national television.

#2 – The bookies aren’t adjusting to the top teams in these small conferences. For one, they don’t spend time analyzing every game, especially when there isn’t going to be much action on the game.

#3 – The competition they play is often very weak in these smaller conferences. While the teams in the college basketball power six conferences often play against other comparative opponents, the top teams from the mid-major NCAA basketball conferences play against some of the worst teams in college hoops.

Mid-majors aren’t the only teams you should be focusing on next season, though.

I also have compiled some ATS data on the top seven teams (ranked by the AP Poll) from 2019-20.

Kansas Jayhawks (Big 12): 28-3 SU / 19-12 ATS (Covered 61.3%)

Gonzaga Bulldogs (WCC): 31-2 SU / 17-16 ATS (Covered 51.5%)

Dayton Flyers (A-10): 29-2 SU / 17-14 ATS (Covered 54.8%)

Florida State Seminoles (ACC): 26-5 SU / 17-14 ATS (Covered 54.8%)

Baylor Bears (Big 12): 26-4 SU / 18-12 ATS (Covered 60.0%)

San Diego State Aztecs (Moutain West): 30-2 SU / 19-12 ATS (Covered 61.3%)

Creighton Bluejays (Big East): 24-7 SU / 18-12 ATS (Covered 60.0%)

I was actually a little bit surprised to see that out of the top seven teams based on AP poll rankings, flat betting every game on six of the teams would have ended up being profitable. Only Gonzaga would have lost you money in 2019-20 if you flat bet them ATS every game.

However, the rankings were a bit wonky this season with multiple mid-majors in the mix.

In 2020-21, make sure you follow the rankings closely and seek out whether or not this trend will hold up. However, despite the ATS success of the best teams in NCAAB (2019-20), targeting the top seven mid-majors listed earlier in the article would have made you a whole lot more money.


Always track the data.

While there are going to be anomalies every season, you should definitely start spending more time handicapping mid-major teams. When you have teams covering at a 70% clip, that’s something you want to know. Sometimes betting on college basketball doesn’t have to be difficult.

Start by handicapping the mid-major conference contenders. Once the season starts, try to watch a few mid-major match-ups through online streaming to get a feel for the teams. There’s often a lot of turnover in CBB, so make sure you have a feel for a team before you begin tailing them.

About the Author

Scott is one of our newest writer and handicapper here at ScoresAndStats.com, but he has been writing sports betting content for more than a decade online. His work has been featured on many websites.


Scott is a millennial (born in 1989) who grew up in Toronto, Canada and he has never left the big city. He grew up playing a few sports (hockey, soccer and baseball) when he was younger. His favorite sport was hockey and he played goalie. He still likes to get out to the rinks to play some pick-up with his buddies.


Growing up in Toronto, Scott is a huge fan of all Toronto teams.


He watches the Maple Leafs and Raptors religiously. Scott also enjoys watching the Blue Jays, Argonauts and TFC.


His best sports memory was when the Raptors were crowned the 2019 NBA Champions. Unfortunately, he’s still waiting for the Maple Leafs to win a Stanley Cup during his lifetime.


Scott may be a diehard fan of Toronto sports teams, but he loves watching all sports. He’s a huge UFC fan (look for his UFC betting articles for most events) and he’ll watch just about anything, including tennis, golf, soccer and cricket.


Scott is a numbers guy and he likes digging deep into the statistics when handicapping games. He also likes to identify value bets in markets most bettors overlook, including player/team props.


When he’s not handicapping and watching sports, he enjoys golfing in the warmer months. He also loves burgers and poutine. Not only is that his favorite meal, but he has tried over 100 burgers in Toronto and he’s constantly looking for the best new burgers in the city.