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College Sports Handicapping

When handicapping college sports namely basketball, there is a lesson that I learned a while back that has always stuck with me. Here’s the situation… Oklahoma is playing Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State was ranked in the Top 15 in the country and Oklahoma was not rated at all and they we’re having an above average season. Therefore, Oklahoma State was the “supposed” better team. The game was at Oklahoma and the oddsmakers chose not to make Oklahoma State the favorite, but Oklahoma a one point home chalk. To me, this means that Vegas thought Oklahoma was much better than most people think. In essence they were as they went on to win the game with relative ease.

My point here is to look out when the books favor the lesser ranked team. It is more than likely a trap to induce you to play the higher ranked team. Just this past Sunday, Villanova played at UCONN. Villanova was then the number two ranked team in the country and Connecticut the fourth, but nonetheless Villanova was the higher rated team. Now, even a novice handicapper would notice that of course the game was at home for UCONN and they were only separated by two spots in the rankings. It was also a payback game as Villanova beat UCONN a few weeks ago.

But here’s the trick; Vegas makes UCONN a 7½ point favorite. Now if you take into consideration that Vegas places a 3-4 point advantage for the home favorite. So to the general public, it seems like UCONN should be a 4 point favorite, after all they did get beat by Villanova so they can at least hang with Connecticut on the road. Thus, 65% of the public chose to place their money on Villanova as they thought they had about a 3½ point advantage in the line.

In the words of Lee Corso, not so fast my friend. Connecticut, even before their big win, in my opinion is the best team in America and obviously so do the oddsmakers. Their only problem is staying motivated for 40 minutes. Well when you had gasoline to the fire, you’ve got a mess on your hands. Give a team like, Connecticut motivation playing at home, you better believe they are going to bring the wood and they did! They won the ball game by 14 points and covered the 7½ points easily. Look out for UCONN when the NCAA Tourney rolls around.

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