Are Top 5 Teams Overvalued in College Hoops?
© Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports
The Oklahoma Sooners travel to Manhattan, Kansas for a clash on the hardwood with the Kansas State Wildcats tonight. OU has started the season 14-2, propelling them to No. 4 in the AP Poll. Freshman point guard Trae Young leads the nation in scoring (30.1) and assists (9.9).
Oklahoma opened as 3-point road favorites. At the time of publication, 75% of spread tickets and a whopping 94% of spread dollars are on the chalk. Should bettors fade or follow the public?
To answer that question, we will turn to a new Pro System, “Fade Top 5 Teams vs. Conference Opponents,” that was just released for college basketball. The underlying theory for this betting strategy is that highly-ranked teams are overvalued by recreational bettors.
Casual fans looking to wager on tonight’s slate will be drawn to No. 4 Oklahoma as a small favorite against an unranked opponent. The ranking next to the Sooners will be the extent of research done by these square bettors. Oddsmakers anticipate this reaction and will artificially inflate the line. Since 2005, betting against ranked teams has produced a positive against the spread record but does not win enough to cover the juice.
However, fading ranked teams in conference games gives contrarian bettors an edge. Familiarity amongst conference rivals, like the Sooners and Wildcats, levels the playing field. The higher in the polls a team is the more profitable it becomes to bet against them. Top 5 teams in a league games have gone 519-594-24 (46.6%) ATS since 2005.
If both teams are well-prepared for the matchup, the game should be competitive and that favors the underdog. The optimal strategy is fading Top 5 teams that are small favorites (7 or fewer points) in conference games.
Bet Labs’ users following this Pro System would have gone 179-121-7 (59.7%) ATS since 2005. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $4,802. This betting system has been profitable in 12 of the last 14 seasons and meets all the criteria we seek in a winning strategy: a theory explaining why it works, consistent results and a large sample.
In tonight’s game, fade the pubic and take Kansas State as a small underdog against a Top 5 opponent. Despite an overwhelming majority of tickets and money being placed on the Sooners, the line has dropped from OU -3 to -2.
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Photo via Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports