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College Basketball Halftime Betting Tips

College Basketball Halftime Betting Tips to Help You Beat Your Bookie

By Loot, NCAA Basketball Handicapper,

This is an often-neglected part of college basketball wagering. Even for those struggling on regular betting against the spread on full games won’t give halftime (or second half) wagering a whirl. As fans of the sport, we were always conditioned to look at the game as a whole. So when we make the transformation from being a fan to a bettor, we tend to follow our own sensibilities.

Then we see what the sharps have to say about halftime wagering and our antennas go up. They should, as anything that can potentially give us an edge in betting is something we need to try incorporating into our repertoire. Here are a few things to look for that would make for perhaps a nice little intro into second-half wagering.

Look for out-of-whack halftime scores, where one team has a ridiculously-low score. For example, you see a halftime score along the lines of 29-11. Going into halftime, try to gauge the mental outlooks of the teams, particularly the team with 11 points. What are they going to try to do? Basically, they’re trying to avoid being mentioned on Sportscenter for scoring the fewest points of the year.

The team with a scant halftime score will be pressing to score points. Offense will be what drives their play in the second half. That also means defense will not be an area of focus. In games like that, a lot of times the ice-cold team will warm up and start sinking shots. Meanwhile, the team with a healthy lead is in a nice and loose headspace. Combine that with the lack of defense being shown by the team that is behind and what sometimes ensues is a much higher-scoring half. In situations like this, think about taking the “over.”

Look for teams on a losing streak. Then look to see when it looks like they might end the losing streak after a promising-looking half. Sure, they’re a bad team. That’s part of the reason they are in the throes of a losing streak. Sometimes, however, a team on a losing streak will get a bunch of wind in their sails after a nice first half of play. They will sense they are now able to perhaps bring an end to their woes and notch a win. In addition, the second-half line for a losing team will probably be giving them even more points than normal. If you sense this team will really go all-out to finally notch a win, they might represent a nice wager.


A lot of times, a heavy favorite will have a rough first half against a big underdog opponent. So when the second half rolls around, a lot of bettors tend to unload on the favorite. They figure whatever was plaguing that team, whether it be low energy, shots not going in, or just a general team-wide malaise will dissipate and they will over-compensate and really stick it to the underdog in the final 24 minutes.

That way of thinking might lead us to underestimate the urgency and headspace of the underdog. When they came into the game, they knew they probably weren’t going to win. Now after a half, they will begin to think that they have a chance. And the line will be so in favor of the underdog, that they don’t even have to win for us to cash a winner.

For this next one, you need to watch the game. You see a fast-faced game. The tempo is off the hook. Shots are going up seemingly every 10 seconds and the players are running themselves ragged. But you look up at the score and realize no one is really sinking their shots. Nothing is going in. So the halftime score is a little misleading. The second-half total gets re-adjusted a few points downward. With both teams now looking to produce offense in the second half, we can get some extra value by taking the “over.”

Look for these spots carefully. This is not a knee-jerk reaction to a set of conditions. You have to be watching the games, which will give you an added sense of what to expect in the second half. Looking for bizarre first half play can sometimes give us a little extra value on making second half bets. And if you can win a few, you might open your mind up to the possibility of getting more involved in second-half wagering.

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