NCAAF Picks, Predictions and Lines
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How to read college basketball odds
As bettors search for college basketball odds, the main page will present the moneyline, spread and total points markets. The odds page is very similar to what you will see when looking for NBA betting markets, though odds can be more skewed in the unequal world of college basketball.
The points spread is a means of handicapping the favored team to level the playing field. Both teams will be at odds of roughly evens with the spread – the favorite, for example, will be -4.5 and the underdog will be +4.5.
This would mean the favorite needs to win by five points for the bet to cash. Backing the underdog at +4.5 means your bet will cash even if they lose by four points.
A moneyline bet is simply backing one team to win the game. Total points bets are on a set line, which again has odds of roughly even to be over or under. There are alternate lines available for the spread and total points markets on a lot of leading bookmakers – these can be a good place to find value.
The majority of books will also offer markets on scoring in a quarter or half. Player props are commonplace, too – these will usually offer over/under betting options on points, rebounds, assists and other stat categories.
College basketball odds movement
College basketball odds will move frequently. A wave of backing for a particular bet can change the market quickly. Whether this results in a team moving from -4.5 to -6.5 or if the points total decreases, this is an important factor to be wary of.
Just as LeBron James’ absence will change the Lakers odds, player availability is very key for college basketball. Teams with one or two players projected to go in the first round of the NBA Draft will usually be very dependent on their stars.
Key players missing out is when college basketball odds will change quickest. When Zion Williamson had the attention of the basketball world during his time at Duke, his availability was the single most important factor in Duke’s odds in any given game.
College basketball futures betting
Odds to win the National Championship are the headliner of college basketball futures. These are open throughout the year, and some books may even allow bettors to place speculative wagers for the following year’s Championship.
March Madness is one of the biggest betting events in sport. It’s been home to some of the most dramatic moments in basketball history and reaching the Final Four is a highlight of any young basketball player’s career. If backing a team to win the Championship is a bit far-fetched, bettors can opt to wager on them to reach the Final Four.
The favorites to win it all will often be at short odds to reach the Final Four. For instance, at the time of writing, Gonzaga is in at -300 to make the Final Four in 2021.
Bettors can also wager on the future of college basketball stars. Futures markets are available to back a player to be selected first overall, to be taken in the top three or selected in the lottery.
College basketball betting strategy
Being a successful college basketball bettor requires in-depth knowledge of teams all over the country. Following the big names will rarely lead you to betting value – a highly rated prospect does not guarantee a good team.
The difference in talent on college teams can be stark. Glancing over a team’s recent performances does not necessarily tell a true story of their strength. Facing a string of significantly weaker colleges can leave a team with a flattering record, potentially misrepresenting them as a good team to place a wager on.
As with any sports betting, be as thorough as possible. Take in all the relevant data you can find and don’t rush to place wagers you are not confident in.