College Basketball Pro System: Ranked Teams Undervalued Early in Season
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Duke Blue Devils forward Wendell Moore Jr.
- No. 1 Kentucky and No. 2 Duke are in action as huge favorites on Tuesday night.
- Using Bet Labs, we share a profitable strategy for wagering on ranked teams early in the season.
On Tuesday, the top ranked college basketball teams are in action.
No. 1 Kentucky is a 25-point favorite vs. Evansville (7 p.m. ET, SECN) and No. 2 Duke is even bigger chalk as a 32.5-point favorite vs. Central Arkansas (7 p.m. ET, ACCN).
Kentucky and Duke are good, but can they cover those massive spreads?
Usually it’s a bad idea to bet on top 25 programs. Since 2005, ranked teams have gone 4,950-4,961-190 (49.9%) against the spread (ATS) in the regular season. A $100 bettor would be down $28,835 wagering on top 25 teams.
However, early in the season, ranked teams have been profitable. Since 2005, top 25 teams have gone 863-734-24 (54.0%) ATS in the month of November.
Why do top 25 teams perform better in the first month of the season?
My theory: You average team may struggle early in the season as it learns to incorporate new schemes and players. The best programs, usually the most talented and with superior coaching, can overcome these disadvantages and succeed when players first take the court.
While betting all ranked teams has been profitable, there are two steps we can take to optimize this strategy:
- Avoid top 25 matchups
- Wager on Top 15 teams
Most advantages the best programs in the country have from talent or coaching would be neutralized against a top 25 opponent. By targeting games against unranked teams, our win rate and units won increase.
Also, if our theory is correct that ranked teams succeed early in the season because they have more talent than it stands to reason that higher ranked teams, which have even more capable players, should perform better.
Since 2005, teams in the top 15 have gone 428-309-14 (58.1%) ATS when facing an unranked opponent in November, according to Bet Labs. A $100 bettor following this strategy would have returned a profit of $9,373.
Kentucky (-25) and Duke (-32.5) are big favorites. For those wondering, teams matching this system that have been favored by 20 or more points have gone 157-118-6 (57.1%) ATS and teams favored by 30 or more points have gone 32-18-1 (64.0%) ATS since 2005.
The Wildcats and Blue Devils are expected to win on Tuesday. History suggests they’ll cover too.
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