Meet Savannah State, College Basketball’s Most Boom-Or-Bust Betting Team

Meet Savannah State, College Basketball’s Most Boom-Or-Bust Betting Team article feature image
Credit:

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Horace Broadnax

  • Savannah State takes an absurd number of 3-pointers and plays insanely fast, which has led to some interesting betting results.
  • The Tigers are 7-15-1 ATS as underdogs this year, but four of those covers have also been outright wins.

Savannah State basketball is an analytics experiment come to life.

That’s not a judgment, good or bad. It’s true. The Tigers take on Delaware State on Monday as a 7-point favorite in the MEAC Tournament, and there are some things you should know about them.

Savannah State wants to do three things: play at an insanely fast pace, play hyper-aggressive defense and shoot a ton of 3-pointers. This way, it is increasing the number of potential points in a game relative to its opponents, who are usually shooting a normal number of 3’s.

As Stuckey detailed in his MEAC Tournament betting preview, Savannah State’s profile is fascinating, and it has been this way since coach Horace Broadnax decided to mix things up before the 2016-17 season:

  • Shortest average possession length nationally (14 seconds)
  • No. 2 in Adjusted Tempo
  • One of 19 teams to press more than 25% of the time
  • 57.9% of their shot attempts come from 3 (first nationally)
  • Shoot 29.4% from 3 (eighth-worst nationally)

When Savannah State gets hot, it gets hot and can pull some upsets like it did in conference play with three outright upsets as a 5-point dog or greater. But the Tigers aren’t a particularly good 3-point shooting team (29.4% for the year), so when they get cold, they get really cold, like in a 139-72 loss to South Dakota State and 101-60 loss to Wisconsin.

This has led to some fascinating betting results. This season, the point spread came into play in only four of their 30 games. They were underdogs 23 times and only three times did they cover as underdogs and lose the game (plus one push).

Of the 29 Savannah State games with lines this year, it is:

  • 5-1 ATS and straight up (SU) as a favorite
  • 7-15-1 against the spread (ATS) as an underdog
  • But four of those ATS wins have come SU, including an outright win over Morgan State as a 12-point dog

We don’t have full moneyline data in our Bet Labs database because many of Savannah State’s games weren’t available market-wide, but this is a team you want to either bet SU as an underdog, or lay the points as a favorite. Or bet its opponent’s moneyline if Savannah State is favored! There’s just so much variance in a single night with its style of play, and it leads to these types of betting results.

Surely, Delaware State will find a way to lose by five as a 7-point dog tonight, but if Savannah State moves on in the MEAC Tournament, keep all this in mind.

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