Last Updated: 2017-11-01
The Major League Baseball season is about to come to a close, the NHL and NBA are just picking up steam and the NFL is approaching the midway point of the season, so that can only mean one thing. College basketball is getting ready to start.
College basketball can be a handicapper’s dream, but it can also be a nightmare due to the number of teams who are on the board on a consistent basis. Simply put, there aren’t many, if any at all, handicappers who can amass knowledge about all of the teams. That’s one reason a number of handicappers will specialize in certain conferences, frequently located in close proximity to where they live. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a handicapper in New York to spend a lot of time on the West Coast Conference, as most games won’t begin until it’s 10:30 p.m.
But the heart of college basketball handicapping is the power rating and they can be the difference between a winning season or a losing one. I use several different methods that incorporate Average Opponent Power Rating, or strength of schedule if you prefer, and different sets of numbers will result in different plays. You can find yourself on opposite sides of the same game depending on your power ratings, so they are extremely important for handicappers.
Instead of looking at each team’s stats, graduating players, incoming freshmen, etc., I’ll cheat a little bit and find a few college basketball number crunchers I respect and use their numbers, averaging them out and giving me a decent starting point and one that’s not relying on simply one set of numbers. I use four sets of numbers and average them out, with Ken Pomeroy and Sonny Moore among those whose numbers are included.
So, we’ll get to our first conference, the America East Conference.
America East Conference Opening Power Ratings
Stony Brook 73
New Hampshire 70
Umass Lowell 66
Stony Brook had a somewhat wide difference of opinion, as there was a spread of 11 points between the highest rating and those lowest, which is the largest in the conference. Albany was the most consistent, with a difference of just 2 points between the highest and lowest rating.
We have 31 more conferences to go, and each one will have a few different handicapping tidbits, comments on using power ratings and that sort of thing, so it should make for some interesting, and hopefully informative reading.