Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, March 2, 2018 at 4:00 PM
We’ve talked for years here in JIM HURLEY’S HANDICAPPING NOTEBOOK about the “random” impact of three-point shooting in college basketball. Even now, as recently as yesterday, you will find many games where the winner won because they shot over their heads from long range, or the loser lost because they kept clanking shots of the rim.
Let’s make clear though that “random” doesn’t mean insurmountable. That’s the element of “roulette” that keeps smart handicappers from winning 80% or 90% of their bets. If college basketball (or any sport) was overly predictable, Las Vegas couldn’t exist. There HAS to be an element of randomness that keeps the percentages in check.
You can still hit 54% to 55% of your volume and better than 60% on your top plays if you work hard to learn what you can about three-point shooting.
Here are some helpful hints.
*First, look for offenses that have multiple three-point shooters. Teams who rely on one or two guys are at the mercy of their streaks. But, if four starters can make an open look, and there are one or two more guys coming off the bench who can do the same, there’s insurance against an off-night. It’s easier for one guy to go cold than for everybody on the team to go cold. Look to bet on offenses with a variety of long range threats. Versatility is a bigger key than ever in modern tournaments, where the “one guy can carry you to a championship” hype has largely been buried.
*Second, look for defenses that have a proven track record of guarding the arc with energy. At the very least, they get a hand in the face of shooters. Ideally, they move even quicker and deny the attempt entirely. You used to hear quants say “there’s no such thing as three-point defense” because the math was showing it was all random. Coaches have changed how they defend in recent years. Quants aren’t talking about unpredictability any more. They’re quietly winning bets by backing the best three-point defenses. We’ve been writing “Defense Wins Championships” for years here in the NOTEBOOK. The sport is evolving to where it’s might be “3-Point Defense Wins Championships” before long.
*Third, remember the power of “regression toward the mean.” This stat in particular tends to see-saw quickly rather than running hot and cold for weeks at a time. If a team shoots over its head one night, it will fall back to “normal” or “cold” the next time out rather than staying hot. If a team normally shoots well but has an off night going something like 5 of 25 or 4 of 22, ask them to return to normal (or better) in their next game. What can be called a “gambler’s fallacy” in roulette or other sports is less of an issue with this particular performance metric. Cold teams work harder to get good looks. Hot teams get complacent and start forcing up shots they shouldn’t take. There are definitely “bounce back” or “letdown” dynamics in play with long-range shooting that aren’t the same as “black” or “red” on a roulette wheel. “Red” doesn’t bounce back.
How much attention to YOU pay to three-point shooting? If you’re like too many bettors, you only notice when your team is missing shots. You’re yelling at the TV all night. If they’re nailing treys, you give yourself credit for making a smart pick. All the games you didn’t bet? You don’t even know what happened in them! You should be reading boxscores to look for extremes in long range performance that will create illusions with the general public just as they’re about to regress. Spend less time this week and this month rooting for your bets, more time trying to make smart future bets.
Understanding the realities of three-point shooting is very important in tournaments, because those fast reversals happen back-to-back through the weekend. You’ll be able to find cheap teams who are due to have a good game squaring off against a pretender that happened to shoot way over its head to advance. Or, you’ll find offenses with multiple weapons at inexpensive prices facing teams who put most of the entire load on one guy who’s likely to wear down with no days off. That’s why we’re presenting this article today. You’re about to jump into the deep end of tournament handicapping and JIM HURLEY wants you to know how to swim.
Now that March is here, it’s time to get serious about making big money in tournaments! You can purchase our daily BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, please call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 to take care of business. Be sure you ask about extended programs that take you through March Madness or the NBA Playoffs. You always get the most bang for your buck on long term purchases.
Stop cursing the clanks, or patting yourself on the back when you luck into hot shooting from your side. Start handicapping the smart way. And, join up with the man who invented the powerful TEAM HANDICAPPING approach that’s been beating the books for decades. When championships are on the line in college basketball tournaments, YOU NEED WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!