LAS VEGAS -- The college basketball season starts this week, but the betting markets here in Las Vegas are still relatively quiet when it comes to college hoops. That's certainly not unusual. With NFL and college football in full swing and NBA taking center stage this past week, the college basketball markets (with the notable exception of hyped TV games) are nearly exclusively the domain of professional wiseguy bettors for the first few weeks of the season.
When I moved to Las Vegas in 1998, I felt like I had a firm grasp on betting football, both pro and college. But I was certainly far from an expert at betting college hoops. There were dozens of books and articles that I read about beating the football betting markets, but for college hoops, there was very little printed material to consume.
It's 16 years later and there's still a paucity of quality information about how professional bettors attack the college basketball betting markets. In the following 2013-14 college hoops betting primer, I'm attempting to fill that void. Below are six specific tips for how to smartly bet college hoops and a brief look at some of the best value bets in the race for the 2014 NCAA title.
Don't bite off more than you can chew
The biggest advantage bettors have over bookmakers is easy to understand: The books have to post lines for every game, while bettors can pick and choose which games they want to bet. Especially if you're handicapping in your spare time (as opposed to as a full-time professional) there's no way to get an accurate read on the 250-plus college basketball teams we'll see point spreads for in the next month. No one is an expert on every team and every conference in the country. Early in the season, focus on what you know -- the teams and/or conferences that you've watched and read about the most -- and you should be able to find a steady diet of solid plays.