The College Basketball Point Spread

The College Basketball Point Spread
by Staff

Wagering against the point spread in college basketball is the most common and popular form of basketball betting. Before we go any further, let us explain what a point spread is for those of you not familiar with sports gambling.

When two NCAA basketball teams play each other, the oddsmakers in Las Vegas create a number using special mathematical forumlas that handicaps a game so that if a team is viewed as better than another team, they deduct points (-) from their final score to determine the point spread winner. Conversely, a team viewed as weaker than their opponent will “get (+)” points added onto their final score to make up for being lesser in talent.

Let’s show you an example of what a point spread might look like:

Kent State +19
North Carolina -19

The example above tells us two things. If you bet on Kent State (the underdog), the bookie is going to GIVE YOU 19 extra points added onto your final score. If Kent State’s final score along with the 19 extra points the bookie is giving you exceeds the true final score of North Carolina, then you have beat the point spread and have won your bet.

On the flip side, if you were to bet on North Carolina at -19, you would need to subtract 19 points from the Tarheels final score at game’s and and if you have more than the true score of Kent State, then you have won your bet. If you have less, you have lost. It could be best said that a point spread is somewhat of an equalizer helping to bring equality to two teams score-wise.

When looking at a point spread, the favorite will always have a (minus) sign in front of the number and the underdog will always be noted with a (plus) sign in front of their spread.

The example that we showed you was a good team vs. a bad team. Not all games have large point spread margins. Many games are listed as a pickem, which means there is no point spread and that the sportsbook views both teams as being equal.

There are many theories that a point spread is created so that the bookie can get even action on both sides and collect the vigorish, or house advantage (commission). There are many however that feel that the statement isn’t true and that the linesmaker hangs odds out there in an effort to “dupe” the general betting public and “trap” them into betting a bad number that looks too good to be true. Our opinion is that the house does a little of both. In a perfect world though, the bookie would indeed not mind having even action on both sides allowing him to guarantee a profit no matter what the result of the game would be. Here’s an example of what we’re talking about:

When you bet a side or point spread, your risking $11 for ever $10 that you want to win (based on traditional betting odds). So, if you have a bet for $110 to win $100 on Kent State, then another fella has a wager on North Carolina at $110 to win $100, one best is going to win, while the other is going to lose. If you do the math you’ll see that the bookie will profit $10 no matter which team wins.

Another way to take two teams that are uneven in talent and bring equality to them is the moneyline. This type of wager completely wipes out the point spread and is a bet made using odds. Click the link to read more about it.

Now that you know what “a spread” is are you ready to place some bets? If so, check out Bovada where you can deposit funds to a betting account using your Visa card!