When it comes to handicapping professional sports, it’s important to look at the obvious statistics – this should come as a no-brainer. However, what many people fail to recognize, especially amateur bettors, is the fact that there is also an abundance of situational advantages that can be found and that sometimes may affect the outcome of a game in more profound ways than the obvious statistics. As an example, a team on the road that has just lost to the number one ranked team in the country might have an abysmal performance the next game or respond with a dominating win. From this example, one can see that it’s important to assess how teams will be likely to respond in different situations in order to avoid falling victim to a trap game.
In NCAA basketball, there are many trends that try to depict how a team will likely perform after coming off a loss. However, losses come in different shapes and sizes – losing to a nationally ranked opponent is night and day compared to losing to a bottom feeder team. Additionally, in NCAA basketball, rankings heavily depend on a team’s strength of schedule.
Coming Off A Road Loss To A Good Team
Let’s take a look at historical data on teams that have come off a road loss to a good team. You may wonder, what counts as a “good” team? For the purposes of this article, a good team in NCAA basketball is a team that typically makes it into the NCAA March Madness tournament. On most occasions, in order to qualify for March Madness, a team will need to post 20 wins or more, with most teams playing somewhere around 35 games over the course of the regular season. In terms of percentages, I’d consider a good team one with a winning percentage of .750 or better.
While a team at the midway mark of the regular season may possess a .750 winning percentage, by no means does this guarantee that the team will actually finish the season with a .750 winning percentage or better. However, in our case, this still constitutes as a strong indicator of a team’s relative overall strength.
In this article, the previous road game also serves as a key factor. While it is logical to assume that a road loss will have an impact on a team, the real question is what type of impact does this have on a team? Is the impact positive or negative? The team that has just lost on the road will usually have to travel, either to another road game, or back home, and will have plenty of time to reminisce on the loss that only happened just a few hours ago. This can break the morale of a team and shake their mental toughness, especially when it comes to young teams in the NCAA.
Historical Data Indicators
From historical data, teams coming off a road loss to an opposing team with a winning percentage of .750 or higher covered the spread half of the time. However, following this trend would result in negative profits over the long-run since you need to sustain a winning percentage of .524 to break even in the long run due to the juice, or vig.
Evidently, there’s no real advantage to following this system blindly. However, when you begin to dive deeper into the trends shown by specific teams, you may be able to pick something up. In order to successfully handicap NCAA basketball, you must be knowledgeable not just on general situations, but also account for the teams in the matchup.