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Hitting home stretch in power conferences

By Steve Makinen  () 

Over the last few years, I’ve always looked forward to the last couple of regular-season weeks in college basketball, particularly in the power conferences. At this point, the strongest teams with the best and most consistent coaching staffs are best prepared to make runs. Home-court advantage also is enhanced at this time of year. In many ways, college basketball is like the NFL in that regard, with the best teams tending to rise up at the end. 

With so many regular-season league titles yet to be determined and the seeding for postseason tournaments not sorted out, power-conference teams have a ton to play for in the final two weeks. And as usual, with so much on the line, handicapping strategy should change a bit. Oddsmakers often will sway their lines slightly to reflect teams’ must-win mentality in key spots. They also might shade teams playing out the string.

The point spread is the great equalizer for bookmakers, and with so much known about each team by now, bettors looking to cash tickets in the final two weeks should be aware of some extra trends and systems that have produced strong results in recent years. That includes late-season performance, especially when coaching situations have remained consistent.

I got a ton of great feedback on this report last year after the three top teams I uncovered — Oregon, Virginia and Kentucky — combined to go 10-1 SU and 9-2 ATS down the stretch of 2020, while many bottom teams continued to flounder.

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