Late Season Situational Handicapping

Proven Profiles in Identifying And Evaluating Late Season Situations and Stats

This is the time of the college basketball season when many of our long term positive profiles and strong situations develop. While the betting lines at the sports books may get tighter and the margin of victories are a little less than previous months, we counter with situational handicapping and proven profiles using second meets, qualified revenge and sweep situations, last home games and additional profiles and motivational factors that produce profit year after year. That includes using home court evaluation and understanding what’s at stake in the final weeks of the regular season.

As we study scheduling, stats, shooting, rebounding, assist/turnover ratio’s and review current form and recent meetings between teams, we also identify and factor in top defensive teams and defensive dominators knowing we can use this information, along with strong home courts to produce more profit. Using our defensive dominator list and other factors can also assist you when wagering on totals and being prepared to bet the best numbers when they are released by the sports books.

My recent defensive dominator list included Texas, who while strong defensively, is not performing as well in conference play. That includes on offense, where the Longhorns rank last in the Big 12 in FG shooting (43%) and

was hosting a Baylor team on Feb. 12 that is No. 1 in the Big 12 in FG defense (41.8%). Along with Baylor ranking No. 2 in the league in rebounding margin, both teams solid ability to block shots and a slower pace of play, the match-up had the make-up of a lower-scoring rematch following Baylor’s 69-60 win over Texas in Waco Jan. 6, In that game, Texas shot just 34% from the floor. With no adjustment in the total at 133, and much at stake with both teams riding the NCAA tourney bubble down the stretch of the regular season, this Big 12 battle played out as planned with a 25-23 Baylor lead at halftime. Unfortunately for us, our correct isolation of the total and anticipation of a lower-scoring game blew up in our face following a 74-73 Baylor win in double overtime. The game was tied 56-56 at the end of regulation, as our under the total play was the nuts. We even had what looked like a winner in overtime until Baylor fouled with 3 seconds remaining and the Texas player made both free throws to tie the game again 64-64 to send the contest to a second overtime. Truly a bad beat. Right play, wrong result.

Off the radar also on Feb. 12 was a Southern Conference showdown that we played the home team in a match-up of the league’s top-2 teams. This contest fit some of our late season profiles and parameters. NC-Greensboro (-2.5) delivered the big win in a 74-56 victory over league-leader East Tennessee State, who suffered their first conference loss (13-1). The Spartans improved to 14-1 on their strong home court to move within a 1 1/2-games of ETSU. Key to the selection was NC Greensboro being close to a defensive dominator, but digging deeper we found that they had allowed just 56 points per game, 38% FG and 29% shooting from the arc on their strong home court this season. Combined with max motivation for taking on the undefeated league leader and avenging an earlier 68-58 loss to ETSU on Jan. 11, this set up some qualified revenge situations with a top defensive team on a strong home court playing their best basketball winning eight of their previous nine games while also on a 6-1 ATS run.

As you look over a college card and dig deeper into the surrounding situations, stats and match-up, here’s a few situations to guide you for future winners. Keep in mind some of the information I discuss is proprietary, so I may not give out all the details in regards to exact ATS results or perhaps a specific subset or situation in addition to a base premise and profile. And like rule changes that may affect scoring, or an injury that impacts a certain situation, we sometimes modify parameters to adjust and update profiles and data.

  • Near 70% ATS Winning Situation: Play on team that is playing with same season revenge for a loss as favorite of 7 or more points.

This situation will have you playing on a stronger team with the ability to get revenge against a weaker opponent. Favorite bettors will like this profile that often produces a dominating win, at home or on the road.

Another situation to look for at this time of year is:

  • Winning teams playing on their home court off back-to-back losses.

Two or more consecutive losses and questions arise about team and their current performances and play. Often described by the media as a team that is struggling, and reporters and fans wondering what’s wrong with their team as they play more meaningful conference games, you’ll find these teams rebound and play with a determined and focused effort at home. That’s especially true of a well-coached team that combines some of the stronger stat profiles we outline including defensive acumen we often discuss. Such was the case two times in January for previously No. 2 ranked West Virginia, who won 15 games in a row before losing a pair of close contests in Big 12 play. The Mountaineers responded by kicking the crap out of Texas at home 86-51 laying nearly 10 points. But three more losses followed with the third on the road as coach Huggins club played some very poor defense in defeats allowing more than 80 points in each game. Back home on Feb. 3, West Virginia responded with fire and focus again with an 89-51 whipping of the Kansas State Wildcats as a 7-point favorite.

West Virginia then won on the road three days later as an underdog at Oklahoma in a key contest, only to return home and lose to Oklahoma State as a 12-point favorite. How do you explain that loss? It’s simply a letdown situation and it’s something you can work on in your handicapping in trying to identify additional situations and line adjustments or inflation by the bookmaker that can help you produce more winners.

One other recent example using a home underdog was Iowa State, who was 12-11 overall and 3-8 in Big 12 play. The Cyclones were off back-to-back losses and returned home to upset Oklahoma 88-80 as a 6-point puppy on Feb. 10.

These situations are not automatic plays, but once identified, should be evaluated further along with stats, match-ups and betting line. Coaching too as noted below.

Upcoming situation:

Tues., Feb. 13
Butler (-11.5) hosts Georgetown, and Butler is off back-to-back losses. Inflated price, but situation noted. Butler beat Georgetown 91-89 in overtime as 4-point road favorite Dec. 27.

At this time of the season I also go through the college card and look for another situation:

  • Winning teams playing at home with redemption.

The betting line clearly needs to be evaluated, but single-digit or shorter home favorites can be especially strong (look ahead Texas Tech vs. Kansas Feb. 24). These teams playing at home with single season revenge or perhaps last season conference tournament knockout redemption, is something to monitor as you evaluate a college card at this time of the season. Add in the profiles of Texas Tech being a defensive dominator and playing on an undefeated home court, and you have the makings of a major effort by the Red Raiders as they go ‘all-in’ to end the Kansas Jayhawks reign of 13-sraight Big 12 regular season titles. If you can find this winning team playing off back-to-back losses with redemption, it sets up for an even stronger winning situation and subset.

Upcoming situation:

Tues., Feb. 13
Missouri (-1) vs. Texas A&M. Missouri lost to A&M 60-49 on Jan. 20. Tigers are 11-2 at home and have won 4-straight heading into the redemption rematch against an Aggies team that is 2-5 on the road and 6-6 in SEC play. Missouri is 7-5 in conference and just one game out of 2nd place in the SEC.

Remember, teams have letdowns, look ahead or less focused efforts in addition to tough travel situations that also explains why many teams struggle to win or play well on the road. College players and teams can’t play at a high level or peak performance every game. While we like value ‘Dogs, it’s worth noting and identifying situations like those mentioned where a stronger team and/or focused favorite in primed for a big effort and peak performance. Many winning teams have the motivation of playing for a conference title and better post season positioning down the stretch. Yet the bookmaker also knows this and you’ll often pay a tariff on stronger or top-rated teams down the stretch, especially at home. The goal is to increase your chances to profit, and identifying situations that most bettors won’t recognize will help you learn while you earn and become a more informed and knowledgeable handicapper and bettor.

Game selection management can be a struggle at times with so many games to analyze and consider. However having some proven, positive profiles and situations to evaluate this time of year can assist you in narrowing down selections that become more powerful as you dig deeper into the stats and handicap of a game. The results may not always find the bottom of the net, but if you keep putting the percentages, situations and proven profiles in your favor, you’ll net more profit and winners along the way. Some will even be tap-in birdies like under-the-radar NC-Greensboro’s win Feb. 12.

You can bet on it.

Article posted at osga.com.

Author: FairwayJay

FairwayJay is a leading national sports analyst and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful handicappers and professionals. Follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay