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Friday, January 14, 2005

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Wagering on Basketball

The Over/Under Factor

It is my humble opinion that betting over and unders in basketball is better than the sides. It is so darn tough to get a handle on handicapping, that the frustration of losing at the buzzer is definitely a grind on the nerves. You lay 10 points on a top-heavy favorite in hoops and sit back to watch the massacre. Sure enough, your team jumps out to a 20-point lead and cruises right through their opponent, leading by anywhere from 15 to 28 points all along. Then with 3 minutes to go in the game, leading by 19 points, the leading coach decides to go into a stall - no, don’t ask me why. His team loses momentum, the opposition starts taking chances and little by little the lead is cut to 12 points.

Nine time-outs later, with 6 seconds to go, the losing team pops a short jumper, a jerk on your favorite team commits a foul and with no time left on the clock, the foul is made and the favorite walks away with a 9-point win. Of course, you lose by a point. You’re a genius for 39 minutes and 59 seconds but end up losing. We’ve all been there. That is why I say it is almost impossible to handicap games, when 1,000 things can happen to offset your figuring. It then comes down to betting small when losing and increasing your bets when winning. It is called money management.

With the colleges, I got away from laying 16 points or more even with a powerhouse at home versus a dog. If I do bet the sides, it is strictly with a short priced favorite versus a contending team, where home court is a consideration. I will also take a top-ten powerhouse on the road, giving 5 points or less to a good team. Then with the colleges I key on the over, as long as the number is 143 or less.

Watch the number of fouls that pile up in the final moments of these college games, as a sure “under” turns into an “over,” as the clock stops for these: “You foul, I foul, we all foul” games. Even the pros offer a better shot with the over/unders and I use “keys” to zero in on trends. The Eastern and Central divisions tend to go under, as these teams play rough and slow.

  1. Miami
  2. Knicks
  3. Atlanta
  4. Cleveland
  5. Detroit

The over bets come from the Midwest and West teams, that tend to play a more wide open game:

  1. Lakers
  2. Utah
  3. Sacramento
  4. Portland

Of course, these trends were for 1999, but check the year you are handicapping as to certain trends. They occur!

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