Vegas Sports Masters Blog
Back to Blog Home…

Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 7:00 PM

We’re now deep enough into conference play in college basketball that you can use “conference only” stats to get very good reads on all the teams. Data is often polluted (and sometimes extremely polluted) in November and December because teams play such varied schedules. Once you’re head-to-head against your conference rivals, your true colors show. For better or worse.

In conference play:

*Everybody plays roughly the same schedule strength

*Everybody has a similar mix of home games and road games

*Everybody has similar travel challenges

*Everybody has similar letdown/lookahead type challenges

*Everybody’s getting tired from the drain of the season

Through the first three or four games, there can still be pollution. But, now that we’re WELL into conference action, the stats MATTER. Here’s what YOU should be doing about that.



Since everybody is facing similar challenges, the average victory margins can be used to create virtual Power Ratings. If a team is +6 in conference action, and another is +4…well that first team is about two points better in terms of neutral court basketball. You’re using ACTUAL results to create Power Ratings rather than general impressions. That’s something Vegas oddsmakers are still trying to learn how to do properly.

Where do you find these? All major conferences have their own websites. All of those websites post statistics. All use the same general format that shows “overall” games and “conference only”. It takes no time at all to look up your favorite conference or your favorite few. If you want to get data for the whole Las Vegas board, it can be done in a couple of hours at a leisurely pace.

You’ll soon be making your own lines with a simple but effective strategy if you make yourself aware of “conference only” scoring differentials.



We’re always telling you that DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS! Even this year, when referees are making it harder to play defense, this is still holding true. The best defenses are still getting results and covering spreads.

Now, if you use full season stats to measure defense, you may be tricked into falling for illusions that were created against cupcake schedules. It’s not “defense vs. cupcakes wins championships.” It’s REAL defense. Now that teams are playing meaningful samplings against conference challenges, you can get much sharper reads on the defensive side of the ball.

Look at:

Shooting Percentage Allowed

2-point Shooting Percentage Allowed

Turnovers Forced

If you have access to “advanced stats” that adjust on a per-possession basis, use those. The official conference websites generally don’t do that. They give you raw numbers…which is fine for shooting percentages and the like.

From this point forward, handicappers who KNOW which teams play defense and which don’t are going to make a lot more money than sports bettors who are flying blind. We’ve proven this to you time and time again over the years.



As you longtime readers know, when JIM HURLEY is talking basketball, he usually adjusts to DEFENSE AND REBOUNDING WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS! That means you need to use “conference only” information to evaluate defenses too. The league websites all run rebound differential data. This shows you at a glance which teams are strong on the boards and which teams aren’t.

Some handicappers and analysts prefer to separate offensive and defensive rebounding because they represent different skill sets. We won’t argue with that. But, generally speaking, it’s probably not worth your time unless you’re a full-time professional bettor trying to pin down every conceivable advantage no matter how small. Overall differential tells the vast majority of the story you need to hear. And, it’s easy to find the numbers.

There are several HUGE games this weekend…and the race down the road to MARCH MADNESS still has a long way to go. Try to spend some time over the next few days researching the “conference only” numbers in your favorite leagues so you can truly be in synch with the quality, strengths, and weaknesses of the teams you’re handicapping. Beating Las Vegas isn’t about “that line feels a little high to me,” or “I’ve got a hunch the favorite is going to play great.” Sharps don’t bet on feel and hunches. They bet on basketball knowledge. YOU SHOULD TOO!

Or, you can take the easy way out and bet on JIM HURLEY’S basketball knowledge! You can purchase his daily BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about longer term packages, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155. Now’s a great time to get locked in for the rest of college basketball. You’ll win enough this weekend to pay for your seasonal package.

Stick with us in the NOTEBOOK for important handicapping guidance in both college and pro basketball. Then, link up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK for BIG, JUICY WINNERS!

Join the discussion


Forgot password

Keep me logged in