Make Unders Great Again – NCAAB Picks, Odds, and Predictions
By Yaniv Son
With CBB tournament-season upon us and March Madness only 7 sleeps away, it’s time for our first NCAAB blog of the year. But before we begin, a word of warning: having grown up in Canada where college basketball is beyond an afterthought, it’s important for me to note that my knowledge of the sport comes entirely from an analytics perspective. Last tournament season was my first one betting seriously and thanks to a number of over/under datasets I built focusing primarily on pace, free throw percentages, and line-movement, I was able to put up a 44-23-2 record, good for a 66% winrate, 24% ROI and +16.5 units. And while those numbers seem unsustainable, the datasets have held up well so far this season, going 22-10-1 for a 30% ROI (likely even more unsustainable). So now, with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s look at 3 games falling under the datasets today, and explore possible ways to play them.
1. Northeastern vs Hofstra
2. North Dakota vs North Dakota State
3. Illinois Chicago vs Northern Kentucky
All 3 games today are a part of an ‘under’ dataset that’s primarily focused on the opening total range and pace of play. The dataset has historically covered 58% of the time for 11% ROI, including 7-4 so far this season. The problem, however, is that two of the games – Northeastern/Hofstra & North Dakota/North Dakota State – have already seen incredibly aggressive line-movements towards the under, with the total for the first moving from 141 to 135 and the second moving from 146 all the way down to 137 for one of the most impressive overnight movements I can remember seeing over my short CBB career. And while that type of movement can be seen as positive in that it signals that we’re on the same side as the sharps, it makes it difficult to jump aboard the play, with most of the value having already been sucked out by the early-birds.
In this situation, we have a number of options of how to proceed, which each one of us having to decide on the approach we prefer best for ourselves:
1. Let the spot go, knowing that although we may have been right, the edge is no longer there.
2. Attempt to catch the bet live within the first couple of minutes of the game closer to the opening line if the teams go on a hot run to start and we anticipate the pace to slow down as the game wears on.
3. Combine the two lines as part of a two-team teaser, essentially buying back the movement.
And finally, we have a game between Illinois Chicago and Northern Kentucky that has only seen a 1-point line movement, which in my admittedly limited experience, is not enough to really factor into our decision making – therefore allowing us to play it independently.
So no matter which bets you decide to play, or in which manner you elect to play them, remember to always practice strict bankroll management – never betting more than 2-3% of your overall betting bankroll on any one bet – and keep yourself in the game for the long month ahead.
That’s it for today, bet safe and best of luck out there!
Under Northeastern vs Hofstra, North Dakota vs North Dakota State, Illinois Chicago vs Northern Kentucky.