Betting College Basketball Totals

Arizona's T.J. McConnell. Ethan Miller/Getty Images Sport

A number of sportsbooks are now offering betting on college basketball totals, which many bettors believe is easier to beat than trying to predict the point spread winner. College basketball totals work the same way as football or NBA totals and the bettor risks $11 to $10.

The fact that not all sportsbooks allow college totals and those that do offer relatively small limits is the first hint that sharp sports bettors can gain an advantage over the books when it comes to college basketball totals.

A general rule of thumb in sports betting is that the more difficult a sport is to beat the more bettors are allowed to wager.

Bettors would be wise to follow the steps of Edward Golden, owner of Right Angle Sports, who is recognized as one of the very best college basketball totals handicappers around. When Right Angle Sports college totals are released, the line will generally move three to four points.

Golden's philosophy is to concentrate on the smaller conferences, which don't get nearly as much attention as the major conferences, as well as those conferences that happen to be close to your location. A sports bettor living in the East is more likely to have a better feel for what is taking place in the MAAC than what is taking place in the Big Sky Conference.

Tips For College Totals Bettors

One thing college totals bettors should do is try to watch as many games as possible to see the story behind the final score.

Knowing if a team can handle defensive pressure or if a team has trouble against a zone defense can be valuable bits of information when it relates to betting totals. Field goals and field goal percentages can be misleading without knowing exactly how they occurred. If a team is averaging a high number of points early in the season because they've played primarily running teams, there is the possibility for a good under wager when the squad faces a team that stresses defense.

Three-point percentages, both for and against, is another factor to take into consideration when looking at totals. Games that should go under the total can often find ways to go over if a team can manage to hit several long-range shots in the final minutes. Likewise, a poor-shooting 3-point team can see games end up going under the total if they are forced to try and play catch-up in the final minutes.

Most college basketball totals are going to be in the 130 to 150 range, but bettors will run into numbers ranging from 110 to 170. Don't be afraid to go under a low number or go over on a high number if your handicapping suggests that is the correct wager. There is a reason the lines were posted as they were.

Bettors should also pay attention to line movements throughout the day, especially on the non-televised, non-marquee games. A line movement on a nationally televised game may be the result of the public betting one particular way. A line movement on the total between two small, little-known teams is more likely to be the result of sharp bettors getting their wagers down.

Finally, one of the biggest keys to betting college basketball totals is to shop for the best line available. Because of the smaller betting limits, sportsbooks are quicker to move lines, and those bettors who take a bit of time to ensure they're betting into the best available number are generally rewarded with some additional wins at the end of the season.