Pregame Blogs

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Charity is good, as long as you get to the stripe!

Charity Hodges

This is a real quick article in honor of a pal. He always gets nervous when we take an OVER if a lousy free-throw shooting team is in the mix. In many cases, it's a series of lousy foul shots that kill an OVER or, at least, that's what people think killed the total.

In reality, all totals are decided by the confluence of hundreds of variables, but it's often the most apparent or memorable factors that catch our attention. And this is why my buddy rejects many of our OVER calls. Everyone has lost a total by a "hook" due to a brick from the charity stripe. If you've gambled on basketball for more than 5 years, then you've lost a game by a few missed free throws. Or, at least, that's what we blame it on.

To make a long story VERY short:

Many of the more questionable free throw shooting teams have poor percentages because they shoot a boatload of free-throws!

WE took Ball State in an OVER last night. It was set at 112.5 and it cleared that number by 9 points. Ball State shoots 68% from the line (and it was closer to 66% earlier), but they are ranked #2 in the Nation in terms of scoring offense from the Charity Stripe! 28% of their offense comes from the Line, so when they took 26 foul shots last night, we were taking advantage of a hidden Secondary Indicator. IT'S NOT NECESSARILY THE AVERAGE, BOYS.....IT'S THE FREQUENCY.

Here are the teams that score almost a third of their points from the Free Throw Line:

Wyoming 69%

Ball St. 68%-66%

Colorado St. 69%

Northridge 66%

North Texas 73%

Vermont  68%-66%

Bakersfield 68%

Louisiana Monroe 73%

HARVARD (tonight) 76%

Butler 74%


The overall averages of each of these teams are pretty strong, but they usually contain players that have GREAT percentages mixed with some pretty bad players. Those 68% teams have a lot of "UGLY" on their roster.

The next batch of teams with at least 25% charity contribution are as follows:

Kansas State (65%), TAMU (64%), Arizona (75%), Washington State (70%), Washington (71%), Colorado (76%), South Florida (67%).


The teams that are shocking people: Like Kansas State and South Florida, or teams that seem to come out of nowhere with sudden covers like Colorado, Ball State, and Wyoming are doing it with speed, defense, and boards, but the common denominator is that all important Charity Stripe Factor.


I suppose I'm trying to introduce you to seconday and tertiary data strings. As handicappers we need to get underneath the "surface noise" and get into the bones and tendons of a team's functionality.

So DON'T fall for the shooting percentage.

Go after the FREQUENCY and SUCCESS RATE. 26 attempts at 66% is much better than 9 attempts at 75%, ok?


Afterall: a team can shoot 43% from the ARC, but only take 6 of those shots per game, right? The same thing goes for Free-Throws, Field Goals, and Points-Per-Shot. FREQUENCY, FREQUECY, FREQUENCY.....


I hope this makes sense, if it doesn't ,then comment for me and I'll edit for clarity.


Good luck tonight!

  • That line is down to 148.5 from an open of around 151

  • Arizona and Washington State square off in a game that involves two Charity-Darlings: 25% of all points come from the line for each team and they both shoot above 71%.......FYI

  • There you have it! Data Strings, not flat stat noise! :)

    Butterfly Effect! That's what you and I handicap.

  • Haha right up my ally man!  Great read, and completely agree!  Like you said, I'll take a team that shoots 66% from the line but gets there 20 times over a team that shoots 10 at 75% .. not only is it obvious math, but it shows they're putting pressure on the defense, and when you get the big men in foul trouble of your opposition, it opens it up for smaller lineups and even MORE points.  

  • Sac Lawson made the point in my thread that Ball State's propensity to get to the line could sway any OVER, so you know he's all over those Secondary and Tertiary factors