College Basketball Halftime Wagering Tips

College Basketball Betting: Halftime Wagering Tips

By Loot, NCAA Basketball Handicapper,

A lot of bettors stay away from second-half betting. We’ve all been conditioned to look at a basketball game as a whole. We know there are games where it’s a “tale of two halves,” but trying to pinpoint it seems futile. There are those, however, who swear by second-half betting and the advantages it offers.

There is the obvious built-in benefit of seeing how a game is going before diving into the fray. That has undeniable appeal. On paper, there’s nothing wrong with seeing how something is going before plunging in with our hard-earned money. There are things we can pick up on during the first half that can help us get a pretty good handle on what will happen in the second-half. When we see something that the bookie is perhaps not accounting for, we can pounce on it.

The short window for making this type of wager has its pros and cons. We may feel rushed into a wager being that halftime is when you can place these wagers. Normally, we’re more deliberate with our bets, carefully calculating and plotting it out with a lot of thought involved. With second-half wagers, we are forced to take a stand somewhat on the fly.

The positive part of that is that the bookies are also up against it time-wise. With all the games going on, it can be a challenge for the bookmaker to really have a solid handle on everything that is going on in all the different games. Whereas you’re just watching a game or two, the bookie has to account for many games. What will sometimes happen is that you can find an angle–when the bookie doesn’t account for something that you noticed.

Some examples include when a team that is heavily-favored gets off to a slow start and is perhaps even trailing at the half. The tendency on the part of the public is to expect a tremendous second-half for the trailing favorite. And they might be right. That kind of thing usually happens, but the line might be out-of-whack, with the bookie knowing how the public tends to act in a situation like that. There could be enhanced value on the other side.

There will be cases where the score is misleading. One team was hitting everything. They could do no wrong. Meanwhile, their opponent couldn’t catch a break. Shots were rattling out. They got screwed on several key calls. Now if the first-half score is used by the bookie as a guiding light for how the second-half will go, we can perhaps emerge with a different opinion that might be a better one.


Some teams play better or worse in the second half. When handicapping a potential halftime bet, we are compelled to look less at simply final scores, but rather how teams fared in each half. Look for indicators for when a team is better or worse in the second half. Some teams need time to warm up, while others typically fail to match their energy and productivity of the first half. Then again, we can’t spend too much time researching this, as we only have a limited amount of time to place these wagers.

Also look at team’s play in the first vs. second half based on what the situation was. Teams play differently under varying circumstances. Does a team getting crushed in the first half make a run in the second half or do they stay down? Do teams with healthy halftime leads tend to squander those margins in the second half? Do favored teams that let their opponent hang in there in the first half put the hurt on them in the second half?

Halftime betting definitely gives us some advantages. At the same time, there are some drawbacks. Sure, the bookie can be up against it trying to nail down tight lines for all the games featuring second-half action. That doesn’t mean we should get a big head and think we’re going to take advantage of the book. There may be some spots, but by in large, it’s not in any way easy to succeed in halftime wagering.

In addition, this might be a bet you just don’t feel comfortable placing. Don’t force it. Maybe breaking down games in halves just isn’t your cup of tea. Perhaps you don’t like to be under the gun when placing wagers with the short window available for halftime betting. Nevertheless, second-half wagering is a legitimate area of betting interest for those looking to diversify their wagering portfolio.