Betting against the spread is the most common form of gambling across all of sports betting. And college basketball point spread betting is no exception. Whether it be the non-conference season or the national championship game at the end of March Madness, college basketball bettors regularly place bets against the spread. In this guide to college basketball point spread betting, find out what this market consists of and what bettors should think about before placing their bets in this market.
In college basketball point spread betting, bettors are tasked with figuring out who the winner of college basketball games will be after a point spread is applied to the side being bet on. Unlike a moneyline wager, the team that wins each college basketball game does not necessarily win against the spread. And the total points scored do not matter in this market the way they do when betting on a college basketball total.
For this market, there is a favorite and an underdog for each game. The underdog has a plus sign next to their point spread value. If a bettor wagers on that team, that positive number is added to the team’s point total at the end of the game. The favorite in each game is shown with a minus sign next to their point spread value. When a bettor wagers on the favorite, that negative number is applied to their team’s point total. The team with the highest point total after the application of that handicap is the winner of the bet.
Next to the point spread amount in this market, you will see a set of odds for each side. These are typically in the neighborhood of -110. The extra amount that a bettor has to risk beyond the even money mark is known as juice or vig, and serves a commission on both sides of a bet for the sportsbook.
Bettors should be aware that they can wager on the college basketball point spread market for a full game, the first half or the second half. There is sometimes better value in just wagering on one half as opposed to the full game, as this option is worth keeping in mind for when the situation calls for it.
In this example of a college basketball point-spread bet, let’s say that Syracuse is playing against Louisville in an NCAA Tournament matchup. Syracuse is a two-point favorite, with Louisville coming in as the two-point underdog in the game. Both sides are at -110 odds against the spread, meaning that bettors would have to risk $110 to win $100 betting on either team in this example.
For this bet, the number of points in the margin of victory is significant. If Syracuse were to win the game by three points or more, they would cover the spread and be the winner of this wager. If Syracuse won by exactly two points, the bet would be graded a push and bettors would be refunded their money. And if Louisville were to win the game or lose by one point, Louisville would cover the spread after the two points were added to their score.
The betting line for college basketball point spreads has the potential to move up or down heading into a game. Oddsmakers move the line for a game based on a number of different factors. On-court factors such as injuries are popular reasons for line movement. But just as common are line movements based on the volume of bets that come in on one side or the other leading up to a game.
It is important for bettors to understand why lines change leading up to a game, as awareness of injuries and other on-court issues could decide the outcome of a bet. It is also vital for bettors to constantly monitor the lines for games that they intend to bet on so that they can give themselves a chance to get the best college basketball odds available for each matchup.
Before placing college basketball bets, bettors should make sure that they understand the stylistic differences that make up a college basketball game. NCAA basketball odds are formulated in part based on the tempo and style that each team brings into a game. Understanding how contrasting styles will impact one another and which team has an edge based on those differences can help bettors cover the spread more often.
Bettors should also understand how statistics can impact each wager they place. Teams that defend the three point shot well, for example, could have an advantage over even a good three point shooting team. Finding those advantages where most bettors wouldn’t think to look is a great way to derive value from college basketball games and to beat the spread.
To bet on college basketball against the spread, bettors should go to a legal sportsbook. Many states allow sports bets to be placed at online sportsbooks or land-based facilities. While not every state has the options that locations like Las Vegas or Atlantic City do, many states do have ample options for placing bets. Bettors should familiarize themselves with the laws in their state to get started.
In locations where legal sports betting exists, bettors can take on much more than college basketball point spread wagers. The same sportsbooks also offer moneylines and totals on a regular basis, as well as props, or prop bets and futures odds. This varies from sportsbook to sportsbook.