Author's Introduction: There are currently 20+ NCAA men’s college basketball programs that are on pause due to COVID-19 protocols. This means that each team will likely be on pause for at least 10 days. I sincerely hope all of these programs return to playing basketball and that everyone stays safe. As a bettor, however, my mind immediately shifts toward “I should fade these teams in their first game back.” This isn’t something I advocate blindly backing, but it’s one angle of attack worth looking at when handicapping college basketball teams in the near future and for the duration of the 2021 regular season/postseason.
The lack of practices and further lack of conditioning required to compete in a 40-minute game can really have an impact these teams/players when they're back on the court. Now some of these teams are only on pause for 10 days, while others can have longer stints of absence. I’m not sure the bookmakers are putting in the work to account for these pauses, and as bettors, we have to take advantage accordingly.
Mid-February Update: There are now currently 28 men’s basketball programs that are on COVID-19 pause or have just returned to practice due to COVID-19 protocols. Again, this isn’t something I advocate blindly backing, but it’s one angle of attack that I'm looking at when handicapping college basketball. Teams listed below have gone at least 10 days between their last completed game and their next scheduled game.
Let's take a look at teams recently returning from COVID and how they performed in their first game back:
Overall ATS: 4-7 36%
Boston College (+5.5): lost 81-65 to NC St.
Charleston (-4.5): won 90-88 over Towson
Cincinnati (+2.5): won 63-60 over Temple
Hampton (+2): lost 72-58 to High Point
Nebraska (+12.5): lost 66-56 to Michigan St.
Old Dominion (+5.5): won 82-81 over Marshall
Oregon (-11.5): lost 74-71 to Washington St.
San Francisco (-3.5): lost to Pepperdine 76-68
South Florida (+12.5): lost to Houston 82-65
Texas (Rio Grand Valley) (+1.5): lost to Texas Southern 77-75
UMASS Lowell (+3): won 74-69 over New Hampshire
Now, let's take a look at teams set to come back soon from their respective COVID-19 pauses:
Update: Many games from last week were pushed out to new dates due to continued concerns with COVID-19, so be aware that these dates listed below are fluid and subject to change on a daily basis:
Albany (2/12 VS UMASS Lowell)
Appalachian St. (2/19 VS South Alabama)
Baylor (2/20 VS Oklahoma St.)
Binghamton (2/20 @ Maine)
Bryant (2/20 VS Merrimack)
Davidson (2/17 VS Duquesne)
Delaware (2/27 @ Towson)
FGCU (2/26 @ Jacksonville)
Florida St. (2/13 VS Wake Forest)
George Washington (2/13 @ La Salle)
Iona (2/12 VS Manhattan)
Louisville (2/17 VS Syracuse)
Maine (2/20 VS Binghamton)
Marist (2/19 @ St. Peter’s)
Memphis (2/14 @ Houston)
Michigan (2/14 @ Wisconsin)
New Orleans (2/15 VS Stephen F. Austin)
Niagara (2/20 VS Siena)
North Florida (2/12 @ Liberty)
Northern Illinois (2/13 @ Kent St.)
Richmond (2/17 VS VCU)
Santa Clara (2/16 VS Loyola Marymount)
San Diego (2/18 @ Santa Clara)
Siena (2/20 @ Niagara)
St. Mary’s (2/13 @ Pepperdine)
Texas A&M (2/17 VS Alabama)
UMASS (2/24 @ St. Joseph’s)
UNC Asheville (2/18 VS Presbyterian)