College Basketball Betting System Pick (Thursday Feb. 27): Exploiting Against-the-Spread Streaks

College Basketball Betting System Pick (Thursday Feb. 27): Exploiting Against-the-Spread Streaks article feature image
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Joe Robbins/Getty Images. Pictured: Harald Frey

  • The updated betting odds for Montana State vs. Sacramento State list the Hornets as 5.5-point home favorites on Thursday night.
  • Using our Bet Labs systems we dig into the best way to bet on this late West coast matchup.

Thursday’s college basketball slate features more than 50 games, but only five Top 25 squads are taking the court. Bettors looking for action will need to handicap mid-major matchups, which can be difficult given the limited exposure most gamblers have to these conferences.

Despite not being able to name all the teams in the Big Sky Conference, bettors can find value in these small conference games by exploiting recency bias — a tendency by recreational gamblers to put too much weight on the most recent outcomes.

One example is that casual bettors think a team that has covered the spread in back-to-back games will beat the number the next time they lace up their sneakers just because they did in the prior contests. Conversely, the public often fades schools that have failed to cash tickets in consecutive games.

Contrarian gamblers can take advantage of these tendencies. According to Bet Labs, a team that has lost two in a row against the spread (ATS) and is facing an opponent on a two-game ATS winning streak has gone 816-767-32 (52%) ATS since 2005.

As my colleague Chris Raybon discovered, this strategy can be improved by focusing on road underdogs that are on an ATS losing streak when they square off against a team on an ATS winning streak.

Following this system, gamblers have gone 285-227-13 (56%) ATS and a $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $4,289 since 2005 according to Bet Labs. By exploiting recency bias this system has managed to be profitable in 13 of the past 16 seasons.

Thursday’s System Pick

Sacramento State opened as a 5.5-point favorite vs. Montana State on Thursday (10:05 p.m. ET). A majority of spread tickets are on the Hornets who have covered two straight. The Bobcats have dropped back-to-back games against the spread.

History suggests bettors should ignore Montana State’s recent ATS struggles and take the points with the road team.

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