College Basketball Betting Tips: Identifying Live Home Underdogs

  • In Ross Benjamin
  • Fri, Feb 15th, 2019 5:55:59 pm
  • By Ross Benjamin

Prominent professional sports handicapper Ross Benjamin discusses some pertinent statistical data he looks for when determining if a college basketball home underdog possesses betting value. Join us in reading this intuitive and revealing article.

Those of you who have followed me throughout my career are aware of my affinity for picking underdogs. When it pertains specifically to college basketball betting, pinpointing value on home underdogs is one the first things I seek to ascertain. There are many determining factors that aid me in arriving at well thought out and informed decision. I’m going to share some of those qualifying betting parameters throughout the course of this article.

Winning Teams in Season’s Second Half

Let me be clear, I’m always on the lookout for viable options when seeking college basketball home underdog picks. Nevertheless, my experiences have proven to me that the most successes I’ve attained have come after game 14 of a team’s season. In most instances, that point in time signifies the beginning of conference play. First and foremost, and of utmost importance, any potential live home underdog must possess a winning record.

Strong Home Court

Teams that have established a strong home court advantage in recent years are prime candidates. My personal guideline is an .800 or better win percentage thru a team’s previous 40 home games. That equates to approximately an average of 3 seasons worth of data. Putting this ideology into proper perspective, teams winning 32 or more of their last 40 home games are what I’m optimally looking for.

college basketball betting tips underdogsDefensive Field Goal Percentage

What quantifies as a college basketball stout defensive team? Well, I’m glad that you asked. Once again, this works best once teams are at the midpoint of their seasons and beyond. Any team which has held their opponents to less than 40% shooting from the field is my benchmark.

Based on college basketball games played through Thursday 2/14, there are currently only 23 of 353 teams playing Division 1 basketball which have held opponents to below 40% shooting for the season. Additionally, 22 of those 23 teams own winning records. The lone exception being Georgia Tech who’s 11-14. By the way, Georgia Tech scores only 65.6 points per game, and that ranks #327 nationally in that statistical category. Thus judiciously clarifying the Yellow Jackets losing record despite its defensive prowess.

By the way, the top 4 teams in this arithmetical set are Texas Tech (36.2%), Houston (36.5%), Michigan State (37.3%), and Virginia (37.7%). Those teams have a combined season record of 85-13 (.867) and that includes 53-3 (.946) at home.

Excellent 3-Point Shooting Teams

An ability to make a high percentage of 3-point shots is the great equalizer for college basketball underdogs. How do I delineate an excellent 3-point shooting team? That’s another great question! My starting point in measuring success in this particular area begins at game 15 of the season. I’m pursuing teams that are making 38% or better of their 3-point tries. At this exact moment in time, there are 34 teams which qualify in that numerical grouping.

Presently, the nation’s top 4 three-point shooting teams Lehigh (44.1%), Wofford (41.6%), Virginia Tech (41.6%), and South Dakota State (41.3%). It’s by no coincidence that those teams have an outstanding cumulative record is 77-24 (.769) this season and that includes 49-5 (.907) on their home floors.

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Final Analysis
In a perfect world, we are searching for home underdogs with a winning record that are playing after game 14 of their seasons and have a defensive field goal percentage of less than 40.0, and they shoot 38% or better from 3-point territory, and they’ve won 32 or more of its last 40 home games. I can tell you from my vast experiences, finding teams that meet all those criteria occurs maybe 3 to 5 times per season. Realistically, beginning with the season’s midpoint, tracking down home underdogs with a winning record who are limiting opponents to less than 40% shooting is a powerful foundation to start with for college basketball betting success. Adding any of my other essential statistical factors is an added bonus, and lends itself to an even more attractive wagering situation.

Ross Benjamin is a top sports analyst and one of the sports industry's most respected handicappers. Follow him on Twitter: @RossBenjamin1 or visit his website at

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