This is going to be an important set of picks, because I’m about to pass on a key aspect of college basketball betting success: small-conference basketball. With the addition of St. Thomas, there are now 358 Division I college basketball teams in the nation, and quite frankly, Vegas doesn’t have time to track every team in every conference.
Sportsbooks are instead going to devote their attention to where the dollars are going: the TV games in the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC, plus glamour teams like Gonzaga. If you’re trying to make money on those leagues, it can be done, but it’s tough to do.
So what can you do? My advice is the same as I give to my brothers: Make yourself an expert on two or three small conferences and get to know those teams better than Vegas does. Conference games make up the bulk of the schedule, and small leagues keep expanding their conference schedules to get their teams more home games. Pace, for example, follows this strategy well; he knows the Dakota schools like the back of his hand and he’s an expert on everything related to the Summit League.
My leagues are the Atlantic Sun and the Big Sky, and being in Indianapolis, I’m looking to add the Horizon this year. As luck would have it, we’ve got two of those leagues in action tonight for parlays. Here are my best plays for December 2 (my sister’s birthday).
HORIZON PARLAY: DETROIT -7, WRIGHT STATE -4, ROBERT MORRIS +2, +515
Combined, these teams have one win between them in 2021. But looking beyond that, Detroit and Robert Morris have played two of the hardest early schedules in the nation. Robert Morris has played Davidson, Ohio, Kentucky and UCF, and the Colonials should be able to hang with a Green Bay team who hasn’t beaten a D-I team yet. Detroit gave Louisville a run for its money and shouldn’t have many problems with IUPUI, and Wright State gets off a ton of shots, which should be a perfect recipe for the Raiders to pull away from Purdue-Fort Wayne’s porous defense.
BIG SKY PARLAY: MONTANA STATE +3, PORTLAND STATE-IDAHO STATE U132, SOUTHERN UTAH-EASTERN WASHINGTON O153, +490
My brother Simon and I have a rule: fade Idaho State as often as possible. However, with this game being in Pocatello and Portland State having a lack of success in eastern Idaho, I’d rather be on the under. Neither the Bengals nor the Vikings can shoot, so I think this game will finish in the 60s. Not so with Southern Utah and Eastern Washington, both of whom have talent and like to play fast. Eastern will especially look to push the tempo at home, so this game could wind up in the 80s. Finally, Montana State swept Northern Colorado in Greeley last year, and I think the Bobcats can get out with the cover.
PROFESSIONAL PARLAY: CAPITALS ML, HURRICANES ML, COWBOYS ML, +180
This is one where I’m just looking to create a win. I wanted to get the Capitals in yesterday for Uncle Gordon, but getting them in now at home against the Blackhawks should do just fine. The Senators did the same thing they did in that first game I attended with Uncle Gordon, which is lose by four goals, so there’s no way I’m backing them to go into Carolina and pull off an upset after that pratfall. Finally, New Orleans has historically played Dallas tough in the Superdome, so I’m apprehensive about the Cowboys on the spread here. But on this parlay, I don’t need to be overly aggressive.