NCAA Basketball Betting For Beginners: Your Guide to Choosing the Best College Basketball Picks

Jan 26, 2018

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It’s that wonderful time of the year where we all start to think about our college basketball picks. March Madness is so close we can taste it.

If you’re ready to place your bets, you’re not alone. An amazing 43% of surveyed people said that they are going to place bets on this year’s March Madness games. Another 35% said they don’t know yet, and only 22% gave a straight up no.

But with so many options available to bettors today, how do you know where the smart money is? That’s where we come in.

Here is your complete how-to-guide on how to make smart college basketball picks.

Be Careful of So-Called “Experts”

As we’ve already mentioned, there is an absolutely staggering amount of people who will be placing bets on March Madness action. And there will be lots of opinions on how you should be making your college basketball picks.

Here are 3 people you need to avoid during March Madness. Or at least learn to shut their advice out.

1. People who did well last year

Ok, you made a bit of money last year during March Madness. Good for you, it means nothing.

These people will tell anybody who will listen that they made a ton of money during last year’s tournament. Maybe they won an office pool. Maybe they had lots of side bets. It doesn’t matter.

Having one good year (or March Madness season, for that matter) does not mean this person knows the first thing about sports betting. And the dangerous part is this success can fool them into thinking they do.

But don’t be fooled. Unless they have a proven record of winning over the course of multiple years, their success is probably based on nothing more than gut-feelings and, well, luck.

Predicting an upset doesn’t mean anything if you did it based on a “feeling.”

Show me numbers and trends, or show me nothing.

2. Bracket Busters

I’m just going to say this. Brackets are not sports betting. They’re buying a lottery ticket.

The odds of a perfect bracket are 1 in 128 billion. Meanwhile, the odds of collecting the $1-Million Boardwalk piece in MacDonald’s monopoly are 1 in 651,841,628.

Think about that. You’re better off buying a Big Mac to make money than you are filling out a bracket.

So politely ignore any advice from any people who have ever done reasonably well filling out their brackets.

Little or no research went into those picks.

3. NCAA Super Fans

Knowing a lot about college basketball and knowing how to bet on college basketball are not the same thing.

You want to listen to bettors, not fans. Fans know a lot about the game but are driven by emotional bias and devotion to a particular team. Whereas bettors are only driven by numbers.

These people are dangerous because they can talk a good game. But they’re experts on the game. Not betting on the game.

Smart bettors love “smart” fans because they can clean them out when it comes time to place a bet. Fans will wonder “How did I lose? I watched every game last year.” Yes, but the bettor watched the lines and trends.

Check The Schedule

When you’re sizing up your college basketball picks, and trying to find a top 25 team to get behind, take a look at their schedule. Pay close attention to how they played against other top 25 teams.

Let’s take the Kentucky Wildcats for example. Their wins over the UIC Flames or East TN State don’t impress me. But what does jump out at me is that they beat #5 ranked Kansas on the road. And they beat LSU on the road.

Road wins against top-ranked schools show the type of performance that your college basketball picks should display if you’re going to trust them to go far into the tournament.

Big-game road success is crucial.

Beware The Freshman Point Guard

No matter how phenomenal this freshman-phenom is supposed to be, always beware of a freshman point guard playing a big game away from their own gym.

And this goes way beyond the numbers. You may say “What are you talking about? They got 25 points and 11 assists.” It’s about impact, not numbers. All they have shown you is their ability to go the distance in a big game.

The point guard runs and dictates the success of the offense, particularly at the NCAA Division I level. They’re the ones in charge of making sure the court is spaced correctly or the pace of the game is comfortable for everyone.

A big numbers game may be indicative of nothing more than the rest of the team feeling out of sync because their superstar point guard couldn’t run the offense against a strong defensive team, so they ran their own show, by themselves.

This type of game is revealed more when you get into later rounds, against more demanding defensive units.

Find Your Future

Betting early on and taking advantage of betting futures is a strong move to make some money on your college basketball picks.

Futures are set well in advance and are heavily influenced by legacy or history. You’re going to see the same 10-12 teams ranked interchangeably for the next 10 years.

But if you have a good reason (again, based on data. Not a hunch) to think that you know a team that’s going to shake things up, it’s best to get that bet in early.

Ideally, you will want to get it on before the tournament starts, or bookmakers get access to the same info you have.

Ready to Make Some Money Off Your College Basketball Picks?

Since 2007, Oskeim Sports Consulting, LLC (OSC) has been an internationally-recognized sport handicapping service that provides sports bettors with an unparalleled return on investment.

You can learn more about how to make smart bets on any sport, by clicking here to read more of our blog.