NCAA Basketball Consensus Picks
“Those are the NCAA basketball consensus picks, baby!” Ok, that’s not exactly what Dicky V says, but with online sports betting expanding in the U.S as quickly as No. 1 Gonzaga drops buckets on their WAC opponents, Dick Vitale may be shouting something to that effect sooner than later.
Nine states and counting have launched legal sports betting since the last time the NCAA Basketball Tournament was completed. Recent additions to the U.S. sports betting scene include Michigan and Illinois, Tennessee and Virginia — states with some of the top NCAA basketball teams in the nation, which happen to be teams that are generally popular consensus picks in the college basketball betting market. In fact, the Virginia Cavaliers (UVA) are technically the defending champions, but there are currently a dozen schools with better NCAA basketball odds to win the championship this year. Now, with the 2021 March Madness Tournament right around the corner after a year hiatus, NCAA basketball lines and betting trends are more popular than ever.
Of course, before you execute a full-court press on the legal sportsbooks in your state or check out the specific games and expert picks from our in-house college basketball gurus, you need to become familiar with some background info about NCAA Basketball consensus picks. And if you’re completely new to betting on college basketball, first find out how to read lines.
What Are NCAA Basketball Consensus Picks
Different from our expert consensus picks, which are exclusive to SAO Premium Members, when we refer to NCAA basketball consensus picks, we are referring to what the “public” is betting, i.e., what teams and sides are being bet the most at online sportsbooks like BetMGM, PointsBet, FanDuel, DraftKings, and FOX Bet. In other words, NCAA Basketball consensus picks tell us, for better or worse, who the oddsmakers are rooting against in a particular game. Some people want to be on the side of the sportsbooks and “wise guys,” others want to follow the crowd. How to use this information is ultimately up to you, the sports bettor, but we’ll touch on a few strategies with which NCAA basketball consensus betting picks can be utilized.
College Basketball Consensus Betting Picks Percentages
Here at SAO, you’ll find consensus betting percentages with odds and scores for today’s college basketball games. By clicking on the link, you gain access to unique betting information for every single college basketball matchup on today’s schedule.
Use the menu to find the game you want and select “Game Details.” From there, the selection will expand with consensus betting percentages for the moneyline, spread and game total. You can also select the betting option you want to compare odds for from our favorite sportsbooks.
Consensus Picks Examples
Look at the example below:
The consensus pick against the spread is Minnesota (+2.5), while the census pick for the total, also known as the Over/Under, is OVER 140.5 points.
What these betting percentages show is the percentage of money, or handle, being bet across sportsbooks. While the difference between betting percentages for picks against the spread is narrow in this example, the same can’t be said for the total. By a large margin, college basketball bettors are betting on the Over, which explains why oddsmakers adjusted the opening total (130.5) by two points to its current total (140.5).
Fade the Public Consensus
“Fade” is a term you’ll often hear in sports betting, and no, we aren’t talking about Jared Butler’s signature fadeaway jumper he uses to score baskets for the Baylor Bears. Bettors often like to fade the public as a way to find “value” in the betting market.
Suppose we think the opening line of a particular college basketball game is pretty efficient, meaning the result is more or less a coin flip when the betting odds are considered. Now using Purdue and Minnesota as our case study, the oddsmakers adjust the total by two points. If the adjustment wasn’t made as a byproduct of injury news but merely as a reaction to the betting public hammering the Over, then one can argue that there’s value in fading the public. In this instance, that means betting UNDER 140.5
Betting With the Consensus
While a popular betting strategy, indeed, fading the public isn’t always the right approach. Any person who thinks they can fade the public in every game and profit will quickly find out there are holes in this elementary betting strategy. Evidence and historic sports betting trends suggest “public bets” are right about half the time, which is what we should expect.
In some cases, there’s a good reason why one side of a game is so lopsided. Maybe it’s an injury, or maybe it’s early in the season and the data hasn’t appropriately accounted for a stud freshman boosting a team’s rating. If you have a good reason for liking the same side that the public likes, don’t take consensus percentages for granted but also don’t let them override what you already know. Some bettors will use consensus picks as a warning — if they’re on the same side of the public, it might be worth taking a second look. However, if everything checks out and there are no other warning flags, proceed as you intended.
The Myth of Fading the Public
As I alluded to above, anyone who tells you profiting in sports betting is as easy as following a simple rule like “fade the public” hasn’t been betting very long.
In actuality, betting with the consensus gets a far worse rap than deserved, while “fading the public,” one of the first betting strategies that amateur bettors learn, is generally overrated. The truth is the process of betting on sports and profiting, whether it’s NCAA basketball, NBA or NFL, is far more nuanced than the fade the public disciples would have you believe. Oddsmakers win as often as they lose; similarly, teams with 80% of bets cover about as often as teams with 20% of bets. In the end, oddsmakers make their paychecks because of the vigorish (also known as “juice”), not because they know some secret of which 80% of the betting populace isn’t aware.
Moreover, betting markets and closing lines, especially in relatively niche sports such as NCAA college basketball, are largely influenced by what we refer to in gambling parlance as “sharps”, “wise guys”, and “smart money,” rather than scores of college students placing $10 bets on Notre Dame.
Expert Consensus Picks — What’s the Difference?
The professional sports bettors and expert handicappers who influence the betting market use a mix of complicated algorithms, handicapping strategies, and, for more niche markets, expert scouting to profit long term. Bettors have more success using the latter approach in NCAA basketball betting, by honing in on niche mid-major conferences, such as the Mountain West, AAC, Conference USA, Ohio Valley Conference, and Missouri Valley Conference. These games are seldom nationally televised, and the teams are far less popular to bet on. As a result, sportsbooks frequently decrease wager limits for these particular games, especially earlier in the season. Still, sharp bettors find the “softer lines” worth their time. [Insert screenshot of winning mid-major pick from John Schiller below]
At Scores And Odds, our experts use all of those strategies to find edges across sports while providing you daily expert consensus picks with data-driven analysis. Not surprisingly, sharps often find themselves on the same side of a game.
If you’re looking to boost your sports betting with advanced strategies, tools, and consensus picks not from the public but from expert handicappers, upgrade to Scores And Odds Premium today!
Click on the link to see how you can claim a special offer for free 3 months of Premium, which will cover NCAAB bigs through conference tournaments and March madness.
As Dicky V would say, “That’s the EXPERT consensus pick, baby!”