College Basketball Totals Overall Season Numbers Examined

by Kyle Hunter

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2023
We are just over a week away from the calendar flipping over to March. The smaller conferences begin their conference tournaments next week. The larger conferences have a couple weeks until their conference tournaments get underway. 

Being a guy who focuses a lot on college basketball totals, I wanted to take a look at the overall season numbers on totals. I’ll also break down the recent totals trends. 

Season to Date: 2,440 Overs (51.9%) 2,263 Unders (48.1%)

Last 30 Days: 759 Overs (55.4%) 611 Unders (44.6%)

Last 7 Days: 189 Overs (55.9%) 149 Unders (44.1%)

In an average season there have usually been more unders than overs. That hasn’t been the case this season. It was running fairly even until a little over a month ago, when the trend started pushing heavily toward the over cashing. 

In the last month, there have been 94 games go into overtime, and 89 of those 94 games went over the total. It isn’t surprising that the vast majority of overtime games get over the posted total. The fact that there were 94 games that went into overtime is a little higher than expected.

Favorites have covered at a 51.5% clip in the last month. It’s no surprise to see favorites doing well at the same time overs are cashing. Those two bets are more often than not at least somewhat correlated. 

What should we make of the fact that overs have been cashing at such a high clip recently? There has been a bit of a tempo boost in the country overall. On this same date last year the national average for possessions in a game was 67.3 possessions. Today, it sits at 68.0 possessions. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it does lead to a bit of a bump in scoring. 

The bigger reason for totals going over has been an increase in offensive efficiency. Last year, the league average on this date was 1.030 points per possession on offense. What about this year? That number sits at 1.050 points per possession. Offensive rebound percentages have gone from 28.0% on average last year to 29.1% so far this season. Second chance points are crucial and they are too often overlooked by many bettors. 

Should you just blindly be betting overs from now through the end of the season? I wouldn’t recommend it. The oddsmakers know this information very well, and they know many bettors want to bet on overs instead of unders. There are adjustments going on in the marketplace. I’ve been around long enough to see these types of things swing back and forth. The under will likely show value at some point between now and the end of the season on the whole.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2023 Al McMordie's All Rights Reserved.