College Basketball Betting Tip: Thursday’s Mercer-VMI Matchup Offering Contrarian Value

College Basketball Betting Tip: Thursday’s Mercer-VMI Matchup Offering Contrarian Value article feature image
Credit:

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mercer Bears head coach Bob Hoffman

  • VMI is a popular bet as a 5-point underdog at home against Mercer (7 p.m. ET, ESPN3).
  • Using Bet Labs, we explain why it has been profitable to fade trendy underdogs in college basketball.

Which college basketball team received the most spread tickets in a given game? The answer is usually the favorite. In the Bet Labs database, we have tracked 48,754 regular season games and a majority of bets has been on the favorite in 37,032 (76.0%) games since 2005.

Recreational gamblers like to put their money on the best team, which is usually the chalk. So, it is unusual when an underdog receives lopsided betting action.

In a matchup of Southern Conference opponents on Thursday, 69% of spread tickets are on VMI (+4.5) vs. Mercer (7 p.m. ET, ESPN3). Despite the public taking the points, the line has moved from Bears -4.5 to -5.

The wiseguys are fading VMI, a trendy underdog, and so should you. Using Bet Labs, we found that unpopular favorites,those receiving 33% or less of spread bets, have been undervalued when the line moves in their direction during a conference game, like it has with Mercer.

This system becomes more profitable in heavier bet games. As casual bettors load up on the underdog, this creates more value wagering on the favorite.

This is a simple contrarian strategy, though it should be noted that betting percentages and ticket counts change throughout the day. While Mercer is a match for this system based on the current data, that could change as tip off approaches.