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Burke: The concept of conference specialization

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

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Given that the Saturday college football schedule is no longer a thing, bettors are going to go to the hardwood for their action. These immense college basketball cards can be very overwhelming. There are a ton of games and it is tough to find a starting point. A lot of people will simply gravitate towards the marquee games and the ones that will be on TV, but those highly-scrutinized games often have the tightest lines and the most efficient markets.

I’ve long suggested a “conference specialization” approach. I’ve talked about this a bit in previous blurbs, but I think it is especially important to talk about now that CFB is down to bowl games. Find maybe 2-4 conferences that you like, or have had success in, and study those teams. Become an expert. Know more than the sportsbooks. Find value on those teams and in those games. It will help you narrow your focus for these big cards and also give you a good chance at beating the book.

In my estimation, it makes the most sense to look for value in the smaller conferences. The games that don’t get as much betting action are going to have a few characteristics that I find beneficial, especially as a sport where it is virtually impossible to know every team to the degree that we know NFL and college football teams.

For one thing, sharp money is more defined. In marquee matchups, sharp action gets a little bit muddled. In conferences like the Sun Belt, Summit League, MAAC and other one-bid leagues that the vast majority of public bettors don’t care too much about, the line moves are pretty obvious and also pretty telling.

A lot of bettors try to do too much. There are 358 Division I teams. Let the sportsbooks worry about knowing all of them. Put your focus on 30 or 40 teams and dedicate your time and financial resources to those. The books are balancing action on 100 games on Saturdays. They’re not going to have a tight number on all of them, but they will focus on the high-handle games with teams like Duke, Gonzaga, Purdue, Kansas, UCLA, etc., but won’t put as much time or energy into teams like Manhattan, Grand Canyon or Santa Clara.

If you can take the time to set up a “network” on these conferences by following beat writers, reading newspapers, studying the stats and metrics and also following the market and what the sharp money is doing on those teams, you should be able to make your Saturdays profitable.

Furthermore, when conference play rolls around, these conferences play on the same days each week. For example, Conference USA plays Thursday and Saturday. You know that the games are coming on those days. You can be ready for them. The Big Ten plays more Sunday games than most conferences. You can set up the conferences you want to give you a spread-out schedule with opportunities for action every day.

We’ve all heard that time is money and that is true of the time and resources you dedicate to betting. It is a “work smarter, not harder” type of concept and one that should yield positive returns.

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