How to Spot Undervalued College Basketball Teams

Learn how to spot undervalued college basketball teams.

Key Points

– Identifying undervalued college basketball teams can be profitable for any bettor.

– Five different factors play a role in identifying undervalued teams.

How to Spot Undervalued College Basketball Teams

As the college basketball season wears on, it pays for bettors to be able to spot good teams that are flying under the radar. There will always be teams that the betting public and the media predict to do poorly. Some of those college basketball teams will outperform those expectations and having the ability to spot them can do wonders for a betting account.

Sometimes, it is a team from a mid-major conference that is just tearing up the competition. Other times, it might be a team from a major conference that wasn’t expected to do all that well. Knowing when to back these teams can pay huge dividends during the season.

Having searched for these teams during the season helps the smarter bettor in February when conference tournaments and March Madness are near. Finding these undervalued college basketball teams can help all season long.

It’s also worth looking for value in free sports handicapping picks. They can help you capitalize on some of these lesser known teams.

College basketball bettors can stick to these five strategies to help identify the hidden gems from season to season.


Look at Strength of Schedule

There isn’t a single statistic that is more effective at identifying under-the-radar college basketball teams than strength of schedule. 

The betting public isn’t paying attention to a team that is, say, 12-9 around the midpoint of a season. What the public sees is an average basketball team.

Looking at the strength of schedule could tell a different story. The 12-9 team might be a mid-major that spent most of its non-conference schedule playing teams ranked in the AP Top 25. Five, six, or seven losses to some of the best teams in the country makes that team a lot better than its record reveals. 

It’s the same at the end of the season. College basketball teams that finish 19-11 or 18-13 aren’t held in high regard by the betting public. However, a team with such a record that has played one of the country’s toughest schedules is much more impressive than their record suggests. Bettors that identify those teams can have great success. 

It works the other way too. You may see a 26-5 team come tournament time that gets overlooked for a March Madness at-large bid. When you look at their strength of schedule, you find out that it ranks in the 300s. Their caliber of competition wasn’t that great.

College Basketball Teams That Dominate Their Conference

There is a lot to be said of teams that dominate their conference competition. That’s true of blueblood programs as well as in lesser known conferences. 

For bettors, being able to identify those teams that dominate the mid-major conferences is a plus. The public pays attention to the ACC, the Big Ten, and the rest of the major conferences. They aren’t as tuned into the West Coast Conference or the Missouri Valley. Becoming an expert in one of these conferences is one of those creative betting strategies you can use to jumpstart your results.

When Missouri State or Drake goes unbeaten in the Missouri Valley, the betting public likely has no idea. There is great value on these teams because they draw their conference opponents’ best. Every conference team wants to be the one to knock off a team at the top of the standings. Plus, it proves that these teams that dominate conference play can win on the road.

The Addition of a Key Player

With the advent of the transfer portal, teams can recruit players who already have experience playing for college basketball teams. The addition of one or two key players to a roster can make a significant impact on a team.

There may be a player that missed time due to injury and he is ready to return. It could even be a player that didn’t see much action the previous season, but suddenly blossomed into this outstanding player. 

The betting public often will not know that a certain team from a mid-major conference added two transfers. The smarter bettor sees the other factors like strength of schedule and conference play and puts it all together. The smart bettor has identified an undervalued team.

College Basketball Teams vs. Elite Competition

One of the things the more savvy college basketball bettor will look for is how a team performs against elite competition. A team from a mid-major conference plays an early season tournament filled with blueblood teams like Duke, Kentucky, and UCLA. 

Mid-majors that lose to these teams, but make the major team earn it, are teams that probably do well against elite competition. Playing the best brings out the best in some players and teams. There is some extra motivation there when you go up against a team that is highly regarded and probably heavily favored to win.

The bottom line is to ask yourself how a team plays against elite competition when the stakes are against them. Do they rise to the occasion or not? If they do, you can identify them as one of many undervalued college basketball teams. 


Coaching is absolutely crucial, especially later in a season. College basketball teams are under tremendous pressure to do things they may have never done before. Some teams are able to manage that pressure. A lot of it has to do with a team’s leader.

Some coaches have a track record of producing teams that are always prepared to play. A coach may change schools and bring his style and philosophy to a program that was struggling. The coach’s impact can change things pretty quickly, especially when you consider the other factors here.

It’s also a good idea to have the best online sportsbook for you. You will always get the best pricing on these undervalued targets.

It all comes down to this. To spot undervalued college basketball teams at any point in a season, look at the following:

  1. Strength of schedule
  2. Teams that dominate their conference
  3. The addition of a key player or players
  4. Teams that rise up to the level of their competition
  5. Teams with great coaching