College Basketball Sweat Barometer 

February, 16, 2012

The talk of the NBA -- and all of sports, for that matter -- is Jeremy Lin. Part of Lin's charm is that he came from the Ivy League (Harvard), a conference very few follow when it comes to sports. (OK, I just needed an excuse to open this little bit with a Jeremy Lin reference.)

I've written on several occasions that bettors can be profitable if they focus on lesser-known conferences in college basketball. The sports books simply can't keep up with the volume, and there are opportunities for studious handicappers to find faulty lines. So, and here's where I connect it back to Lin, bettors should turn to the Ivy League and take a look at mighty Dartmouth.

Yes, Dartmouth, the team of the 4-20 record. The team that is 0-8 in the conference, good for sole possession of last place. The team currently riding a seven-game losing streak.

Dartmouth is 10-4-1 against the spread and has a 3.07 sweat barometer number. The sweat barometer is another term for margin of cover. The numbers are provided to us by professional handicapper Sal Selvaggio of So how could such a dreadful team be such a good bet? Obviously, the answer mostly lies in the fact that the Big Green are usually massive underdogs, as their 9.93 closing line number is the biggest in the SB Top 25. But more specifically, underdogs are typically a good bet in the Ivy League, according to Selvaggio.

"Big faves in that league have never been good bets, mostly because games are played at a slower pace, which means fewer possessions. That always favors the bigger dogs. Dartmouth is 6-1-1 ATS as a double-digit dog this year," Selvaggio said. "The other thing to consider is that because most of the games are played on Friday then Saturday, conserving minutes for starters when victory is in hand could lead to backdoor covers by bigger dogs."

The bigger issue with Dartmouth might be finding a sports book that will offer lines on its games. It takes effort to make a profit.

With that, let's turn to this week's chart, once again topped by the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.

Jeff Gold

ESPN Contributor