College Basketball Picks
Many consider basketball handicapping to be a highly instinctual practice where the handicapper who carefully studies the teams and watches the games has a large advantage. We have had a different experience; our rigorous statistical approach to measuring college basketball performance has led to a high winrate pretty much ever since we began wagering on the sport, and we believe we are substantial favorites to continue winning in the future. College basketball is a sport where the context of the result is far more important than the actual score of the game, and even the actual team performance as luck, game situation, and strength of opposition can drastically vary from game to game. In our view, with so many teams and games on a daily basis, only a well-crafted statistical model like the one we use can completely capture all these factors and correctly handicap a game.
We had a successful season in 2017-2018 winning over 70 units in college basketball as documented on pickmonitor. In particular we had a very strong season in sides. We worked very hard on sides in the off-season adding several new concepts to our wagering model and it really paid off. We may have ran well, but we captured very strong line value on our side plays (avg CLV over 1.0 points with almost 80% of plays beating the closing line) which suggests our good run was not just variance.
Sides are usually much tougher than totals, but we found that opening lines in totals were much sharper in 2017-2018 and in addition, some sharp players were betting totals extremely early on the correct side of the play, taking out most of the strongest value plays by the time we like to bet totals. In the two seasons before this, we found that around 38% of totals (against closing lines) were considered "worth betting" by our model - which we measure as having an expected ROI of 5% or more, and around 15% were considered "very strong" where we expect an ROI of 10% or more. This season those numbers were 25% and 8%. So there was simply much less value to be had in totals in 2017-2018. Perhaps the books have finally tired of getting crushed year after year in college totals.
Unfortunately, posting the plays was beginning to interfere with our own personal betting, and as we refuse to front-run customers (in other words we only post plays where we have not ruined the odds with out own betting) we refunded customers in late January. We do have a few private clients that we work with personally and will likely look into a private service in the future in order to better manage the line moves. Please contact us if you are interested in such a service.
Typically there will be the most plays, and likely higher winrate plays, in December and March. As handicappers we have to work with what the books give us and the lines, particularly on sides, are simply much softer in these months. There will usually be around one to two side plays and two to three total plays per ten games.
You can view our record across all sports below or go to our pickmonitor page to view our college basketball play history and results. Note that all plays below are to win one unit; although we believe some plays have more edge than others, we think that in the interests of transparent reporting of our record it is best to keep unit size constant.