Handicapping College Hoops


by Kelso Sturgeon
Contributing Sportsbook Editor


November is arguably the single best month for serious sports bettors because the daily schedules are jam-packed with great opportunities.

  • In football, you now have a treasure trove of information on all the college and pro teams. You know who the PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS are. You regular students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping know how to incorporate THE MOTIVATION FACTOR into the mix in a way that oddsmakers can't really defend against. It's easy to find blowout covers.

  • In basketball, oddsmakers and the public are still way behind the curve in the NBA (which you've already seen in the first few weeks) and in the colleges. If you've done your preparation intelligently, you're going to take advantage of overrated and underrated teams from now deep into December.

  • RETURNING STARTERS, PARTICULARLY STARS!

    Either by purchasing Preseason publications on your local newsstand, or by researching all the teams on the internet, you should know how many returning starters are back for all the major betting teams and those in your favorite local conference. (We'll talk more later in the season about honing your attack to fit your time/bankroll limitations...for now, I'm assuming you'll be focused on the big TV games). You want to bet experienced teams who are likely to pick up right where they left off last season. You want to avoid betting on teams who have to break in a lot of new talent. Hyped freshmen typically underachieve in November and early December before finding their groove later. Respect experience. REALLY respect star talent, because one player can take over a game in this sport because only 10 are on the court at the same time.

  • KNOW THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THE POINT GUARDS

    Nothing ruins a start to a season more than a new point guard who keeps turning the ball over or passing the ball too late to get open looks for his shooters. Nothing locks in a strong start more intently than an experienced guard who's running the show with authority. As you log returning starters, make the point guard position a focal point. I can tell you right now that you'll win some games in these first few weeks just because you've found a mismatch at this position. It's like starting pitchers in baseball, and you're getting Clayton Kershaw at a cheap price against a minor-league call-up who doesn't know what he's doing yet. This happens in college basketball!

  • RESPECT DEFENSE OVER OFFENSE

    Review the defensive stats from last season, particularly on veteran teams. Look at points allowed per game, defensive efficiency (scoring adjusted for possessions), defensive rebounding, and turnovers forced. You hear a lot of old-school handicappers talk about how defense wins championships. This is true (and, only successful handicappers stay in the business long enough to become "old school!"). But, it's also true that "defense wins in November." Offenses haven't had much time to get into rhythm with their plays. Teams with new personnel barely know each other. There's a lot of low scoring ugly basketball in the early days of a new season. Make that reality pay off for you by betting on the best defenses.

  • STUDY NOVEMBER/DECEMBER RECORDS FOR HEAD COACHES

    I'm going to be very careful here, because this is a HUGE part of my process. Excellent coaches have their teams ready at the start of a new season. There are a few programs who peak before conference play begins, then fade when the other coaches finally have their teams in synch. I can assure you I'll be taking advantage of this in very short order. And, I'm NOT going to publicize these teams because I want to protect line value for my clients. DO THE WORK! Study ATS performance for the major coaches (and those in your local conference if want to be aggressive early) so you can see who's likely to start 2014-15 off well. Your profits will justify the time investment.


  • STURGEON: Handicapping College Hoops
  • SMITH: Betting on bad football