With the arrival of the college basketball season handicappers who are focusing on the sport are left with an interesting debate – should they be a generalist or a specialist. Generalists look for the most attractive games played on a given day, while specialists focus their attention on one conference and get to know the intricacies of each team in that conference and how they relate to each other. Specialists rely on their specific and detailed knowledge of teams and matchups to find their edge, while generalists will have to replace that knowledge with math, statistical knowledge, or a knowledge of trends and situations. The different approaches will appeal to different people based on their interests and strengths, so there isn’t one that is the right or better one. Here’s a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of being a college basketball specialist and focusing on just one conference:
Get to know teams very well – When you are only focusing on one conference you only need to get to know less than 20 teams – much less in many cases. It won’t take you long to get to know each of those teams – their rosters, the style of their coaches, their strengths and weaknesses, and so on. When you know a team that well you have an edge over virtually all other bettors out there, and in many cases you will have more specific knowledge than the people who are setting the odds. That means that you are well positioned to spot mistakes and opportunities in the odds and cash in on them as a sports bettor.
Aware of injury impacts – Most reasonably sophisticated college basketball bettors don’t make a bet before they peruse the injury reports to see who is out of action. If people don’t know the teams particularly well then they will be forced to make assumptions about the impact of injuries – for example, you generally have to assume that losing a starter who scores a lot of points will be a problem. When you know the teams well, though, you don’t have to guess about the impact because you know the role of the player, and how easily his backup will be able to step in and take over. Quite often the actual impact of a change won’t be nearly as big as people assume it will be. The basketball vhandicapper who is a specialist will be aware of that, and can often benefit from overcompensation by the betting public.
Can control the amount of time you spend – When you are a basketball conference specialist you only have to focus on a limited number of teams. After a while you get to know which websites and newspapers you need to visit regularly to get the information you need. You only need to look at the boxscores of a handful of games each day to keep on top of the games. In most conferences the teams only play their games on a few days of the week, so you have several nights off per week. A specialist can do their handicapping while still having a life.
Can miss out on highest value games by limiting yourself – When you are only betting on one NCAA basketball conference you have to rely on value appearing in that conference. You’ll find lots of value any year in any given conference, but on any given day there is a very good chance that there will be a lot more value to be had in games outside of your conference than there is in it. Because you aren’t looking at games outside of the conference you aren’t in a position to capitalize on that value.
Can get bored – Some sports bettors are very happy just following the teams in one conference – there is enough drama and interest to keep them enthralled. Others, though, just won’t find enough to keep them interested over the course of one or several seasons. When you are completely engaged and interested in the conference then you won’t be completely focused and you won’t be doing your best handicapping. A lack of focus can be very expensive for sports bettors.
Disadvantage in non-conference action – When you are focused exclusively on one conference then you are at an obvious disadvantage when basketball teams from that conference play teams from other conferences – something they do for almost half of their games each season. You can obviously handicap the opponent for each game in question, but you will still know the team in your conference much better than the other team, and that can lead you to overcompensate or undercompensate for strengths and weaknesses of your team. Biases are a problem in sports betting, and college basketball handicapping specialist you’ll have an unavoidable bias in all non-conference games.