College Basketball Betting Tip: Ranked Teams Undervalued in Openers

College Basketball Betting Tip: Ranked Teams Undervalued in Openers article feature image

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Louisville Cardinals forward Jordan Nwora

  • The 2019-20 college basketball season tips off on Tuesday with 17 games featuring teams ranked in the Top 25.
  • Using Bet Labs, we’ve identified how ranked teams perform against the spread in Game 1 of the season.

A new college basketball season is tipping off on Tuesday. And we’ve got a loaded slate featuring 17 games with Top 25 teams.

Since we know you will be betting, we thought we’d share a simple strategy for Game 1 of the season. In openers, it has been profitable to bet on ranked teams.

Usually it’s a bad idea to bet on top 25 programs. Since 2005, ranked teams have gone 4,934-4,946 (49.9%) against the spread (ATS) in the regular season. A $100 bettor would be down $28,821 wagering on top 25 teams.

However, in the first game of the season, ranked teams have smashed. Since 2005, ranked teams have gone 143-101-4 (58.6%) ATS in openers.

Why do top 25 teams perform better in Game 1?

My theory is that while teams have been practicing there is no substitution for true on-court competition. Teams may struggle early in the season as they learn to incorporate new schemes and players. The best programs, usually the most talented, with superior coaching and the best players can overcome these disadvantages and succeed when players first lace up their sneakers.

While betting ranked teams has been profitable, there are two steps we can take to optimize this strategy:

  • Avoid top 25 matchups
  • Concentrate on heavily bet games

Any advantage the best programs in the country have from talent/coaching would be neutralized against a top 25 opponent. By targeting games against unranked teams, our win rate and units won increase.

When betting on college basketball, it is important to focus on heavily bet games. These contests attract the most recreational bettors, which can often lead to inflated lines.

Since 2005, in heavily wagered games, top 25 teams have gone 67-35 (65.7%) ATS when facing an unranked opponent according to Bet Labs.

Is this a big sample size? No. That is expected when looking at the first game of the season, but the results have been consistent. In the past 13 seasons, only twice has this system had a losing against the spread record.

Lines have not been posted for Tuesday’s entire slate. Once lines are available and bettors have a chance to place their wagers we will update with system matches. You can also get live matches for all our profitable systems with Action PRO.

In the meantime, here is a list of every game featuring a top 25 team against an unranked opponent that could be a match on Tuesday:

  • No. 16 Baylor vs. Central Arkansas (12 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
  • No. 5 Louisville at Miami (6:30 p.m. ET, ACCN)
  • No. 12 Seton Hall vs. Wagner (6:30 p.m. ET)
  • No. 6 Florida vs. North Florida (7 p.m. ET, SECN)
  • No. 19 Xavier vs. Jacksonville (7 p.m. ET)
  • No. 25 VCU vs. St. Francis (PA) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
  • No. 7 Maryland vs. Holy Cross (7:30 p.m. ET)
  • No. 8 Gonzaga vs. Alabama State (8 p.m. ET)
  • No. 13 Texas Tech vs. Eastern Illinois (8 p.m. ET)
  • No. 14 Memphis vs. South Carolina State (8 p.m. ET)
  • No. 10 Villanova vs. Army (8:30 p.m. ET, FS1)
  • No. 15 Oregon vs. Fresno State (9 p.m. ET, PAC12)
  • No. 20 Saint Mary’s vs. Wisconsin (9 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
  • No. 24 Auburn vs. Georgia Southern (9 p.m. ET, SECN)
  • No. 17 Utah State vs. Montana State (10 p.m. ET)

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