TeamRankings College Basketball Betting Picks: A Quick Primer

TeamRankings College Basketball Over/Under Picks Performance

Historically, our 3-star rated college basketball over/under picks have been our top performing betting picks, especially over the past four seasons.

As we enter an unprecedented college basketball season that will likely see its share of twists and turns on account of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re excited to release our college basketball betting picks for 2020-21.

The season tips off on Wednesday, November 25 (the day before Thanksgiving in the USA) with dozens of lined games, and with online sports betting now legal in multiple US states including New Jersey, Illinois, Tennessee, Colorado, Indiana, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

(If you live in one of those states, you can check out signup offers for the top US online sportsbooks on our new site BetIQ — there are some great bonuses out there for the taking right now.)

College Basketball Betting Picks 2020-21

Like our betting picks for the other sports that we offer (NFL, NCAAF, NBA, and MLB), our college basketball betting picks leverage multiple algorithmic models.

You can read more about our models here, but in short, they incorporate years of historical data and millions of individual data points to predict the outcomes of college basketball games.

We provide algorithmic picks from multiple different models for each regular season and postseason college basketball game, for the following pick types (all full-game):

How To Use Our CBB Betting Picks

College basketball bettors use our predictions and data in a variety of ways. Some bettors just play our top-rated model picks, or pick and choose a subset of them based on their personal preferences.

Many bettors use our predictions as an input into their own custom handicapping process, which incorporates other information sources in addition to TeamRankings. That makes a lot of sense to us, as it’s well established that using multiple different prediction sources (as long as they’re good individually) tends to improve predictions accuracy overall. We use this same approach internally, leveraging the results of multiple models we’ve built.

Although we strongly believe that a solid data foundation is critical to evaluating bets, we’re also not so arrogant to think that good data and models are all it takes to be the best possible sports bettor. Historical data analysis has many advantages, but it has blind spots too. Sometimes, a coach decides to change a starting lineup or an offensive scheme mid-season, in a way that suddenly changes a team’s performance level. Sometimes, news breaks that a star player is dealing with a personal issue that held him out of practice the entire week.

Handicapping more unique situations like those often requires making an intelligent judgment call when there is little relevant historical data to go on, and our models aren’t designed to do that. But it’s still important to have an objective starting point.

Historical Over/Under Pick Performance

What’s most notable about our college basketball betting picks has been the historical performance of our 3-star (our highest rating) over/under picks. Out of all the sports and pick types that our site covers, 3-star rated college basketball over/under picks have been the best performing pick category over the long term.

You can see the yearly performance breakdown in the image at the top of this post, but summary highlights include:

  • A record of 1930-1567-32 since we started making CBB over/under picks in 2007-08 (13 seasons).
  • That’s a 55.2% win rate for +187.6 units of profit over a sample size of 3,500+ picks.
  • 10 out of 13 winning seasons, including the last five straight (2015-16 though 2019-20).

The performance stats above were measured using game-day betting lines from reputable sportsbooks known for accepting sharp action, primarily Pinnacle Sports. In a study we did a few years ago, we found that betting our 3-star over/under picks earlier than game day would have improved performance even more.

As the folks on Wall Street like to say, past performance is no guarantee of future results. In sports betting, edges that models find tend to evaporate over time, and the 2020-21 season will face additional variability from the coronavirus pandemic, so who knows what’s going to happen this year.

As you can probably tell by now, we don’t consider ourselves handicappers in the traditional sense; we don’t hype up our picks, guarantee winners, or any of that nonsense. We do build predictive models and track their performance, though, and so far, our 3-star college basketball totals picks have been very successful.

Full College Basketball Prediction Accuracy

TeamRankings has made data-driven picks for every Division 1 college basketball game since the 2007-08 season. We’ve tracked the results of both our official “TR Picks” for every game, as well as the results of multiple underlying models that we use in making those TR Picks.

Our NCAA College Basketball Prediction Accuracy page allows you to view the historical accuracy of all of our models and pick types, which is measured using game-day betting lines from reputable sportsbooks. We primarily use Pinnacle Sports, but if Pinnacle doesn’t have a line for a specific game, we will defer to a backup sportsbook such as BetOnline or Bookmaker that has a line.

(If you’re looking for some third-party performance tracking, while it’s not directly related to betting, college basketball ratings analysis by Mark Moog, using data from the Massey College Basketball Rankings Composite, found that our team power rankings — “TRP” in Mark’s chart — finished in first place for predictive accuracy out of all systems tracked for the past two seasons running, including systems like Pomeroy.)

More Questions?

If you have more questions about our betting picks, we’ve posted an FAQ that has more info, but the three primary models we currently incorporate into our game picks are the following:

  • Decision Tree Model. Creates predictions using a sophisticated modeling technique, random forests, that can identify complex and/or subtle predictive factors that are often impossible to identify via manual analysis.
  • Similar Games Model. Analyzes the results of historical games between statistically similar opponents, and creates predictions by weighting past game results using an overall matchup similarity score.
  • Power Ratings Model. Derives a predictive rating for each team based on past game results and opponent strength, then creates predictions by comparing team ratings and adjusting for game location.

Premium subscribers get access to predictions from all of these models, as well as our final TR picks and confidence odds for every game, which incorporate all three of these underlying models.

Subscription Packages For Basketball 2020-21

If you’re not a TeamRankings betting picks level subscriber yet, and you are interested in using our college basketball models and predictions this season, we provide three different subscription option. All of them include access to:

  • Betting picks for all sports we cover (currently NFL, NBA, MLB, and college football in addition to college hoops, including all postseasons).
  • All of our pool picks products, including our popular NCAA Bracket Picks, which will give you an edge in your 2021 March Madness bracket pools.
  • Any premium content we publish, including subscriber-only, betting-related analysis.

The longer time period you sign up for, the more you save. We also have both free and discounted subscription deals available thanks to partners like BetMGM and FanDuel.

Click here to see all of our betting picks subscription options.

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to email us at