|Betting on Ranked & Non-Ranked
Knowing the nuances involved in
betting games involving ranked schools and matchups featuring unranked schools is key to
wagering both college football and basketball successfully.
Let's face it: Handicapping games with two ranked teams is
a lot more enjoyable and on the whole, a little easier for the public bettor. For a
big-time matchup of ranked opponents, there's simply more information, more press, more
coverage, and thus, more knowledge available to Joe Q. Bettor.
This is especially important in college football, where the
importance of one player among 22 starters is often overlooked. If a No.1 ranked team's
right guard goes down with an injury, you'll hear about it. You'll even find out
everything that you need to know about his replacement, right down to his favorite ice
The point is, you'll have everything you need to know about
the two teams in the BCS Championship Game. They're both ranked. They're both public. The
same can't be said when Ohio clashes with Kent State in a Tuesday night MAC barnburner,
you get my drift?
Besides, there's always value on the board when a ranked
school is dogged against another ranked school. It's not too often an undefeated team are
dogged especially this late in the season. But scenarios like that can happen all
the time in games involving a pair of ranked schools.
Keep in mind, however, that the underdog isn't always the
sharp spread wager in those scenarios. Sometimes, the lower-ranked team is overvalued
because of their ranking, among other reasons.
The positive is that a game between two ranked teams will
always give you a betting angle. But that doesn't mean you should blindly take the pup
just because they could conceivably win outright.
Of course, there are also disadvantages to wagering
matchups involving ranked schools. If you have all the needed information, guess whom else
does? The oddsmakers, silly. The lines and totals are much sharper when ranked teams hit
the field or the hardwood, especially in college hoops' conference play.
At the same time, sportsbooks' dirty little secret is that
the softest lines around exist in college sports, especially in basketball. There are 250+
Division I college hoops programs, meaning that on any given Saturday there are 70-100
games that need a spread and an over/under.
The vast majority of these contests involve unranked
schools, and there's no way the books can stay on top of it all. If you know your stuff,
there's money to be made snapping up some pretty dull lines offered up by the guys setting
In addition, there are a lot of good teams that are
unranked in both sports. Remember that a school that's No. 26 in the nation (and
thus out of the AP Top 25), could actually be one of the best teams around. Keep an eye
out for teams just out of the rankings when they match up with schools carrying the status
of a national ranking.
Also, the rankings themselves can be very misleading. Polls
are subject to preseason expectations, scheduling, and matchups. In college pigskin, a
team can start the year ranked No. 5 in the country, but at the end of the season aren't
even bowl eligible. On the college hardwood, a team can begin the year in the top 10 in
the polls before reaching the final of the NIT.