CBB Betting Tip: Big Favorites Offer Value Early in the Season

CBB Betting Tip: Big Favorites Offer Value Early in the Season article feature image
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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Stanford Cardinal forward Oscar Da Silva (13).

  • No. 6 Maryland is a 26-point favorite vs. Fairfield on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET, BTN).
  • Using our Bet Labs software, we detail how bettors can take advantage of big college basketball favorites early in the season.

On Tuesday, five ranked college basketball teams are in action. Many of the contests featuring a top-25 program are expected to be lopsided affairs.

No. 6 Maryland is a 26-point favorite vs. Fairfield (8:30 p.m. ET, BTN) and No. 25 Washington is favored by 22.5 points at home against Maine (11 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Nework).

These ranked squads are good, but can they cover those massive spreads?

Usually it’s a bad idea to bet on big chalk. Since 2005, teams favored by more than 20 points have gone 1,116-1,074-35 (51.0%) against the spread (ATS) in the regular season. A $100 bettor would be down $2,334 wagering on teams to cover these big lines.

However, early in the season, big favorites have been profitable. Since 2005, favorites of more than 20 points have gone 733-646-23 (53.2%) ATS in Games 1-9 of the season.

Why has it been more profitable to lay the points with these large favorites early in the season?

My theory is that big favorites are often the programs from power conferences, which usually have the most talented players and coaches.

Your average team may struggle early in the season as it learns to incorporate new schemes and players, but heavily-favored teams can usually overcome these disadvantages and succeed when players first take the court.

The data supports this hypothesis. When we focus on just teams from the power conferences, including the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC, our win rate improves.


Since 2005, teams favored by more than 20 points from power conferences have gone 459-364-11 (55.8%) ATS early in the season, according to Bet Labs. A $100 bettor following this strategy would have returned a profit of $6,653.

The ranked teams are not the only matches for this system on Tuesday. Below is each power conference team favored by more than 20 points:

Tuesday Matches:

  • NC State -28 vs. Alcorn State (7 p.m. ET, ACCNX)
  • Arkansas -23.5 vs. Texas Southern (8 p.m. ET, SECN+)
  • Kansas State -25.5 vs. Arkansas Pine Bluff (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
  • Maryland -26 vs. Fairfield (8:30 p.m. ET, BTN)
  • Stanford -27 vs. MD Eastern Shore (10 p.m. ET)
  • Washington -22.5 vs. Maine (11 p.m. ET, PAC12)

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