College Basketball: Betting on the Inside Game

Big Men, the Post and the Paint Are Huge Factors in NCAA Basketball

The inside game in NCAA Basketball calls for big-bodies, long arms, strong wills and skilled play. A team that controls the boards often controls the outcome of a game. Even if a team relies a lot on outside shooting, the ability to rebound and create a second shot off misses cannot be underestimated. Plus, inside shots are high percentage shots that are much easier to convert than outside and even mid-range attempts.



Inside shooting can generate from 20% to 35% of a team’s two-point output. Some teams play with three guards and focus more on the outside game, while other play with three in front. What makes inside shooting so important is that if it’s effective it will occupy three defenders and if there’s a potent point producer in the frontcourt that can create a double team situation, freeing up a player in the paint. Thus, the threat of a two-point shooter who can hot around 50% of his inside shots can have a huge effect on a team’s defensive scheme.

Ball Movement

Although we often think of ball movement as coming from the outside guard spots, the fact is good interior ball movement with sure-handed players controlling the ball can help create points from any part of the court. The pick-and-roll is an effect of outside and inside ball movement and diversion, and it requires a solid inside threat to work. If there’s a lack of ball movement inside that allows defenders to focus on the player holding the ball and that diminishes the effect of the inside game.



A NCAA Basketball team with two solid rebounders can control both sides of the court. Defensive rebounding is an essential aspect of defense and on offense it creates more opportunities to take and make shots.

Rebounding is not just about someone being tall and/or bulky. Some players have amazing athleticism and can leap higher than guys who are taller than them. Also, a lot of rebounding is contingent upon positioning and knowing how to block out other players.


Shot Blocking and Fouls

Having a guy who is big and lengthy enough to intimidate offensive players in the frontcourt is important. Part of good shot blocking is intimidation that comes from the knowledge that the defender can follow through. Many good shot blockers are able to disrupt good shooters without ever getting their hands on the ball.

On the other end of the spectrum are players who can draw fouls in the paint. Those guys, especially if they can get fouled and convert the shot in the process and then go to the line, are the most effective three-point threats around.

On the defensive end, good offensive players who foul a lot in the frontcourt when playing “D” can greatly diminish the positive effect their point scoring has. If a player puts 12 points on the board on offense but then sends guys to the line four times and they convert seven of eight shots, they’ve lowered their offensive output by minus-7. Their 12 points become five.

Gauging the Inside Game

The inside game in NCAA Basketball is all about control and a team that is able to utilize that aspect of basketball puts itself in a position to control other major factors. Take time to analyze each part of a team’s inside game, including its lack of such. You can bet on a team if they have a solid, skilled and talented guys in the frontcourt.