an instructive email

I received a question this morning that i think will help with college basketball:

“Rick big fan of the blog. A question I have is how do you get a good idea of what the public is doing on college basketball games that nobody will even watch like Towson -3 and Wofford -4.5? Do you use any consensus sites that compiles this data for you? With CB I have a helluva time figuring out which side the public is on unless I know it is going to be a big game in which a lot of people are going to be putting money down. It seems to me bowl games are great for going against the public, or at least getting more value out of lines because of the publics perception of “big name” teams.”

My response:

College Baskets is much different then any other sport for handicapping. There are so many teams and conferences that I think a good handicapping technique without any input on what the public is doing can turn out a profit. Also unlike any other sport I have found that power ratings on the games are not any help!

In the nba, nfl, ncaa fb the power rating can actually give you some type of guidance..but in college baskets they are virtually useless. My technique is to use a combination of my neural models..with heavy input on high percentage situations that come into play on the teams. And then everything has to be perfect for me to play the game. In addition I do not play any short dogs(+1.5 to +6.5) because of the end game in college baskets. The end game doesnt help short favorites with the fouling and 3 pt attempts.

Now saying that this is my first season using this method and next year it might be entirely different:) But so far it looks encouraging.

Now if I had the time to stay in front of the computer and look at the what the public was doing in high profile games with a high volume of betting then I think you can take what the public is doing into account to come up with possible games to play. But the public would have to be at least 75% on one side before I would take a look at the game and even then I would still apply my handicapping to that game. So for instance on a day like tomorrow….you might spend all day pouring over the numbers with a lap top in front of you….and come up with may 4 games to look at…..which may or may not make the cut using more analysis. But you are on the right track if you have the time to do that.

Sites that I look at for public perceptions are and

I dont handicap the bowl games since the teams are on a neutral field and I have no methods that I am confident enough in handicapping a game on a neutral field. My methods on ncaa fb is strictly to analysis the subset of home dogs. so I dont even look at other games.

Finally you have to be careful with the idea of using what the public is doing as a guide. Its the best guide in most sports but the threshold is different for every sport. In addition its only a step in the process… alone will not produce a profit at the end of the year.

I hope this helps and would welcome any other questions or comments.


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