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    College Basketball Ranked Team Betting Trends

    VSiN Analyst Steve Makinen shares his betting trends for ranked college basketball teams.


    As a bettor myself, I am always looking for the best information I can find on the games I plan to watch and wager on. As the head of analytics here at VSiN, I pride myself on being responsive to the requests of readers. Sometimes these things converge perfectly. Well, after I published my piece earlier this week detailing several college basketball betting trends I uncovered using the DraftKings betting splits, I found that the angles that most intrigued readers the most were those that involved ranked teams. It seemed that they were thirsty for more on the games featuring the country’s best teams.

    And why not? These are the games that most bettors are watching and investing in. One person even asked, “Do you have any more good stuff on the ranked games?” It certainly got me thinking, especially with a Saturday lined up that features 19 games involving ranked teams, three of which match ranked teams against one another. What better time to dig deeper into the data I just organized. With that in mind, I’ve put together a set of trends that have formed in the college basketball games this season featuring teams ranked in the AP poll at the time.


    Before unveiling the new trends I found, here is a reminder of the “concepts” I discovered when analyzing the DK Betting Splits and how they were affected in ranked team games. Essentially, majority bettors have been great on games with two ranked teams but awful on moneylines where a ranked team was facing a non-ranked team. Consider these for Saturday.

    DK College Basketball Betting Splits Concept #8: In college basketball games this season where both teams were ranked, majority groups on handle and bets have been sharp on almost every metric

    Through this most recent Sunday, there were 52 games this season between two ranked opponents. Majority bettors have dominated these games in every category. These are the records:

    – Majority ATS handle group: 31-17 ATS (64.6%), +12.3 units

    – Majority moneyline handle group: 42-10 (80.8%), +24.3 units, ROI +46.7%

    – Majority ATS bets group: 32-16 ATS (66.7%), +14.4 units

    – Majority moneyline bets group: 41-11 (78.8%), +22.2 units, ROI +42.7%

    – Majority totals bets group: 30-21 (58.8%), +6.9 units

    It’s somewhat encouraging to see that public bettors have fared well in the season’s biggest games. It will be an interesting pattern to follow in the postseason.

    DK College Basketball Betting Splits Concept #9: In college basketball games this season where only one team was ranked, majority moneyline betting groups at DK have tanked.

    As compared to concept #8 above featuring two ranked teams, majority moneyline betting groups have performed miserably in games where a ranked team was taking on an unranked team. These are the records for those situations:

    -Majority moneyline handle group: 287-106 (73%), -201.42 units, ROI -51.3%

    -Majority moneyline bets group: 286-105 (73.1%), -198.17 units, ROI -50.7%

    The worst portion of the moneyline handle group was when majorities backed ranked road teams, as that group has gone just 71-50 (58.7%), losing -96.42 units for an ROI of -79.7%! It’s safe to say that readers of this article should not get behind these bettors, and alternatively, wager the opposite way on the home underdog money lines until something changes.

    Here are some trends for the 2023-24 college basketball season involving ranked teams:

    • In games this season featuring both ranked teams, home teams are 27-8 SU and 21-12-2 ATS (63.6%)
    • As favorites of four points or more, hosts in games featuring two ranked teams are 22-2 SU and 16-6-2 ATS (72.7%). Similarly, when the better-ranked team is home, that team is 21-2 SU and 16-5-2 ATS (76.2%).
    • Overs on totals have been the norm in games featuring two ranked opponents, going 22-13 (62.9%)

    In the three ranked vs. ranked games for Saturday, 2/17, #1 Connecticut is a 7-point home favorite over Marquette, #6 Kansas is a 1-point favorite at Oklahoma, and #13 Auburn is a 10-point host versus #22 Kentucky.

    • In games this season featuring a ranked home team playing as a favorite of 11.5 points or more versus an unranked team, hosts are 200-14 SU and 114-98-2 ATS (53.8%) for the season, and 74-4 SU & 43-34-1 ATS (55.8%) ATS since Christmas. Also, in these games since Christmas, Over the total is 48-29-1 (62.3%).

      For Saturday, February 17, games in the above category include #3 Houston (-11.5) vs. Texas, #16 Dayton (-16.5) vs. Fordham, #8 Tennessee (-22.5) vs. Vanderbilt, and #5 Arizona (-19.5) vs. Arizona State.
    • In games this season featuring an unranked home team playing as a favorite versus a ranked road team, hosts are 21-14 SU and 18-17 ATS (51.4%) for the season but have picked it up in February, going 6-3 SU and ATS.

    This is a bit of an overrated trend that isn’t as successful as many proclaim on Twitter. There are no such games scheduled for Saturday.

    • Unranked home underdogs to ranked road teams are just 48-74 SU but 66-53-3 ATS (55.5%) for the season but have struggled in February, going 11-16-1 ATS (40.7%).

    There are seven unranked home dogs on Saturday hosting ranked teams. They are Butler (+2.5) vs. #17 Creighton, Oklahoma State (+7.5) vs. #19 BYU, Florida State (+5) vs. #9 Duke, Iowa (+1.5) vs. #20 Wisconsin, Maryland (+2) vs. #14 Illinois, West Virginia (+8.5) vs. #12 Baylor, and Southern Illinois (+5) vs. #23 Indiana State.

    (These could prove more valuable once conference tourney play starts.)

    • In neutral court games this season featuring a ranked underdog versus a non-ranked favorite, the ranked underdogs are 2-0 SU and ATS.
    • Ranked neutral court favorites of more than 9 points are 17-2 SU and 11-6-2 ATS (64.7%) this season.
    • In neutral court games featuring two ranked teams, the favorites are 13-6 SU and 11-7-1 ATS (61.1%) in the 2023-24 season.
    • In neutral court mid-major conference games featuring a ranked vs. non-ranked matchup, the ranked team is 7-0 SU and 4-1-2 ATS (80%) thus far.

    Line Move Consideration

    Studying the line moves in games featuring at least one ranked team has proven worthwhile for fading the move, as playing against the move has resulted in a 246-218-10 ATS (53%) record on point spreads. For example, if the home team opens as a 10-point favorite but finishes as an 11-point favorite, the 53% play would be to back the road team.

    Good luck with your college basketball plays on Saturday and for the rest of the season. I will be continuing my college hoops analytics coverage all the way through the tournament championship game. Watch for my next piece late next week, an extremely potent look at the performance of power conference teams in the final two weeks of the regular season.

    Steve Makinen
    Steve Makinen
    As one of the original founders of StatFox, Steve Makinen has been in the business of sports betting and data analysis for almost 25 years now. In his time in the industry, Steve has worked in a variety of capacities on both sides of the betting counter, from his early days of developing the StatFox business, to almost a decade of oddsmaking consulting for one of the world's leading sportsbooks, to his last seven years as Point Spread Weekly and Analytics Director with VSiN. Steve has always believed that number crunching and handicapping through foundational trends and systems is the secret to success and he shares this data with VSiN readers on a daily basis for all of the major sports.

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