Understanding NCAA Basketball Odds Online
College basketball betting is one of the most popular forms of sports betting
within the United States, particularly when football concludes after the Super Bowl.
However, with great popularity still comes great challenges. Due to the nature of the sport, college basketball is one of the most challenging sports to wager on in the world of sports betting.
Basketball is a game that has many peaks and valleys where teams will seemingly score at will for long stretches or do the complete opposite.
However, just because the sport has its share of challenges, that doesn’t mean you can’t be profitable when you wager on college basketball.
Once you are able to navigate through the myriad of ways you are able to bet on this amazing sport, you should begin to see vastly more success as a bettor.
With 350 schools playing anywhere from 25-35 games a season, conference tournaments, the NCAA Tournament and consolation tournaments like the NIT and CBI – the opportunity to bet on college football from November to March is enormous.
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Point spreads purpose in sports betting is to “equalize” a given matchup to allow for a more realistic means to make a game a virtual coin flip.
As is the case in any sport, college basketball will frequently have matchups between two schools with a noticeably large talent discrepancy.
In professional basketball, the talent discrepancy typically isn’t big enough to have a large double-digit point spread (i.e over 15 points), but in college basketball point spreads of 15 points or more are extremely common.
Sportsbooks and oddsmakers alike quickly realized that when a dominant college basketball team was facing off against a team with vastly inferior talent that a simple win-loss proposition would leave them running out of money quicker than a Toys R Us store in the suburbs.
Thus the point spread was born.
A point spread gives a reason for any given bettor to risk money on either side.
For example, if Duke were facing off against New Mexico State, most bettors wouldn’t blink twice before hammering Duke to win that game straight up.
However, when introducing a point spread, that bet is far less of a sure thing than it would be otherwise.
A sample look at what a point spread for this matchup may look like is as follows:
New Mexico St. Aggies (+18.5)
at Duke Blue Devils (-18.5)
So now if Duke needs to win their game by 19 points or more, more bettors may think that New Mexico State will keep the final outcome respectable and lose by less than 18 points, as the Aggies could lose along the lines of 80-62, but would still cover the spread.
To expand this out even further, the team that’s seen as the team most likely to win in any given matchup is considered the favorite.
The team that’s named the favorite will need to win that matchup by a number larger than the point spread itself.
The favorite in any given matchup, regardless of sport, will always be indicated by a minus symbol (-) preceding that point spread.
The team considered to be the “worst” in any given matchup, or the one with the lower chance of winning the game straight up, is simply referred to as the underdog, or “the dog.”
Underdogs are notated as such by having a plus symbol (+) in front of their point spread.
A bettor wins a given bet on an underdog if the underdog wins the game outright or loses by an amount of points within the range of that given point spread.
The “juice” on the game (also known as the vig) will be indicated in parentheses next to the point spread, and will typically start anywhere from (-105) to (-120).
The vig is simply the cut a sportsbook or bookie takes in order to place your wager.
The scale that is universally used in sports betting is based off the idea of what you’d need to risk in order to win $100, or what you would win on an underdog if you wagered $100.
In other words, when you see the juice has a minus symbol (-) in front of that number, that is the number you’d need to risk in order to win $100.
On the other hand, when you see a plus number (+) in front of the juice, this is the amount of money you would win if you wagered $100.
Here is an example to show this in action:
Virginia Tech Hokies +5.5 (+110)
Virginia Cavaliers -5.5 (-120)
Using the above example, if you wished to bet on Virginia to win by 6 points or more and you wanted to net a $100 profit, you would need to risk $120 to do so.
If you believed the Hokies would keep the score within 5 points or win the game outright, you would win $110 on a $100 wager.
Another thing to mention here is that despite the scale working off the idea of betting to win $100, this can actually be adjusted to work with any dollar amount (large or small) that you wish to bet.
If you wish to win $500 on Virginia, you would risk $600. If your bankroll was much smaller and you wished to bet $20 on Virginia Tech, you would win $21 if the Hokies were to cover the spread.
Always be sure to only gamble what you can afford to lose. Bankroll management is the ultimate key to long term success when it comes to sports wagering. Gamble with your head, not over it.
Unlike point spread wagering, moneyline wagering is extremely straightforward.
All you simply do is pick the side you think will win the matchup and bet accordingly.
Now the concept of moneyline wagering itself is incredibly simple, but as is the case with anything gambling related, there is a catch.
In the same way oddsmakers look to even up matchups by adding a point spread to any given matchup, moneyline wagering also carries with it additional cost to alleviate the risk posed by offering a simple win/loss proposition.
In the very same manner that “juice” was incorporated in point spread wagering, so to goes moneyline wagering.
For example, a moneyline wager in college basketball betting may look like so.
Santa Clara Broncos (+1500)
at Gonzaga Bulldogs (-2000)
If you thought Gonzaga would win straight-up, you would need to wager 20x the amount you would win.
Conversely if you felt Santa Clara would shock the universe, you would win 15x the amount you risked if they were to pull the upset.
Moneyline wagering is a potentially great way to maximize your profits if you are able to identify those live dogs that can pull off an upset.
However, it could also treat your bankroll the way Conor McGregor treated Cowboy Cerrone if that heavy favorite happens to suffer an unforeseen upset.
For example, using the above Santa Clara vs. Gonzaga example, a typical game total in college basketball betting may look like this:
Santa Clara O144.5 (-110)
Gonzaga U144.5 (-110)
If you believe that Santa Clara and Gonzaga would combine for 145 points or more and were working off betting to win $100, you would wager $110 on the over 144.5.
If you believed these two teams would score less than 144 combined points, you would wager $110 on the under 144.5.
In the event a total lands on a number without a half point in the line (also known as the ‘hook’), and the game ends with that exact total, the bet would be considered a “push” and the bettor would simply have the money they wagered returned to them.
Parlay bets carry with them an enticement of a larger payout as opposed to picking each game individually.
The reason why parlay bets pay out these larger totals when they are successful is because it is markedly more challenging to win multiple bets than it is to bet a game individually.
Because of this wrinkle, parlay bets are often seen amongst professional bettors (aka ‘sharps’) as a losing proposition if you continually go that route.
Now, this information isn’t being put out there to entirely turn you away from experimenting with parlay betting, because we enjoy to dabble in these types of wagers all the time, but rather to inform you of the risk and general difficulty at consistently winning these types of wagers.
Beware of any sportsbook/oddsmaker/bookie that constantly trumpets bettors that win ginormous parlay payouts, for these are the exception and not the rule.
With all that being said though, parlays can also be very valuable if you have identified a couple of wagers you really like.
We recommend playing no more than 4 teams in a single parlay, but if you feel comfortable playing larger parlays – more power to you!
A typical college basketball parlay may look like so:
Oklahoma St. +7.5
In order for you to win this parlay, UConn will need to win their game by more than 3 points, Oregon will need to win by 10 points or more and Oklahoma State will need to lose by no more than 7 or win the game outright.
In the event any of these games ends precisely on the number (i.e. UConn wins 74-71) – then that game is deemed as a “push” and your parlay would decrease by one game (In this example, your 3-teamer becomes a 2-team parlay).
However, be sure to double check that your sportsbook of choice does not deem your parlay to be a loser in the event one of your games happens to end in a push, as this does vary from sportsbook to sportsbook.
Another means of parlay betting includes moneyline wagering that we touched upon previously. This is also known as “stacking” where you take multiple moneyline wagers in a parlay.
An example of this may look like so:
West Virginia -175
Arizona State +160
In this example, in order for your parlay to be a winner, all three of the teams in your parlay would need to win their games straight up. You can also combine moneyline picks with totals and point spread wagers in a parlay, or have cross sports parlays where you may have a couple of college basketball bets intertwined with bets from other sports (NBA, NFL, CFB, etc.)
A parlay payout from picking multiple moneyline underdogs can be quite substantial. Conversely, betting on multiple large favorites will end with a much smaller payout than a parlay littered with underdogs.
Just like a parlay, a teaser is a single wager made by selecting two or more events to occur, with each event selected in a teaser needing to happen in order for your bet to win.
The biggest difference between a parlay and a teaser is that with a parlay, you are generally dealing with the original point spread or total, whereas with a teaser you are adjusting the point spread or total by a set number of points – resulting in a slightly more favorable point spread or total than you would get from betting the games individually.
All multi-event wagers have the opportunity for large payouts, simply because of the aforementioned difficulty that comes with winning one of those bets.
Teasers however, do not payout the same as a parlay, due to the reason that you are altering point spreads and are essentially buying points across multiple games to get a point spread or total that is more favorable than what was originally offered.
The overwhelming draw to teasers, particularly for first-time bettors, is that on the surface they seem much easier to win than a parlay would be.
In terms of college basketball betting, the most common teaser is either a 4-point teaser or a 4.5-point teaser, but you’re also able to tease a line 5 points (and sometimes more depending on the sportsbook you are at) in the direction of your choosing.
In terms of pure simplicity, let’s go with the most common form of a teaser in college basketball.
Here is an example of what a 4-point college basketball teaser may look like:
Original Lines: North Carolina at Duke (-6.5); Ohio State at Michigan (-2)
Teased Line: North Carolina at Duke (-2.5); Ohio State at Michigan (+2)
As you can see, the lines in each matchup are noticeably more palatable than they original lines were.
If you find two matchups that really stick out on the board, teasing each game may be a very advisable approach.
Here at OddsUSA, our experts have you covered (pun half intended) with the latest news and information to help you profit the most. Good luck and happy wagering!