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This unusual college basketball season has been a challenge for the betting industry on both sides of the counter. One of the biggest struggles bettors and oddsmakers have faced is implementing points for home-court advantage. Clearly, the absence of spectators and the fanfare that accompanies a college basketball game has had a big impact. The consensus I’ve heard from industry colleagues is that the advantage of playing at home has been cut in half. I think it’s a bit less than that and have trimmed my home- and road-court designation to about 2.0 points from last year’s 3.5-point value.
Not every team has been affected the same. Some teams have actually thrived in this environment, while others have floundered. Much has been dictated by the quality of coaching, the mental makeup of the players and the value of the atmosphere before COVID-19. For instance, Duke has been affected greatly, as its young players joined the program with dreams of playing in front of the raucous Cameron Crazies. Without that motivation, the Blue Devils have struggled. At the same time, teams like Colorado and Colorado State, whose fans and student sections typically aren’t well-known assets, are thriving at home, perhaps in part due to weather and elevation differences playing a bigger role than usual.