Wanted to point out this halftime box score (see below) of the Eastern Washington-Montana game. Everyone has their own philosophies for making halftime bets but I thought I'd share a few of my own as far as what I look for. For starters, I leaned Eastern Washington +10.5 as Montana's home court, while tough, is often inflated. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to watch the game – something I usually like to do when betting halftimes. But in this instance, I was very familiar with both sides and was able to track the contest using live stats.
In the first half, Montana obviously couldn't shoot straight while Eastern Washington was at 50%. This is already out of the norm as Montana defends and EWU typically does not. And this late in the season, you are what you are, especially on defense. So with five minutes to play, Eastern took an 11-point lead. It was a big moment because down 10 or more at half likely keeps me off of any 2nd half play with Montana. But the Grizzlies knocked down a shot, and a few more, and went into the break only down 5 – a nice swing in momentum which is always nice to have. But while the margin was more reasonable I was worried the adjusted line would be out of my range. Luckily, a few books were offering a fairly cheap -8 (-3 adjusted). My next step was to double-check the box score. As I said before, EWU shot well and Montana did not but I knew it had little to do with EWU's defensive prowess. The next positive was Montana taking 16 free throws to EWU's 4. You want teams that are being aggressive and taking high percentage shots. The frequent trips to the charity stripe also suggested that the Grizzlies weren't going to shoot 27% in the second half. Second, Montana was +10 in rebounding – another indication that they were being the aggressor. So at half, there was really no indication that Eastern was playing better but instead more fortunate (on the road, shooting 50%, but -12 FT attempts, and -10 rebounding with a 5-point lead are HUGE red flags). After seeing this, I made a wager on Montana -8 (-115).
The second half played out just as planned. Montana quickly closed the gap and the two teams spent the better part of 15 minutes trading leads. But down the stretch, the better team prevailed. As expected, the Grizzlies shot much better in the second half (58%), tightened up the defense and made free throws just like they had done all season. The end result was a 74-66 win
and a nice second half ATS winner. Obviously this is all easier said than done – I’ve gone weeks without a halftime play lining up so strong – but those are some of the things I am looking for when supporting teams in the second half. Good luck.