College Basketball Straight Bets

How to Bet College Basketball Straight Bets (AKA: “Sides”)

By Loot, NCAA Basketball Handicapper,

Straight bets are the meat-and potatoes of any sharp bettor’s profile. It’s the first bet you learn how to make, yet it is used heavily by the most seasoned of hoops bettors. All successful betting men make this part of NBA wagering a focal point of their betting profile. You should do the same. Let’s discuss straight college basketball wagering and why they should be featured in your wagering.

Straight college basketball wagering revolves around the point-spread. What is the point-spread? It’s sort of a handicap that makes both sides of a bet have some appeal. If North Carolina State is at Duke, it may seem like an easy win for Duke on paper. And it is. But the point-spread comes into the picture and now you have some serious thinking to do. The point-spread would look like this.

North Carolina State +10
Duke -10

You see the point-spread is 10–an equal amount of points either given or taken from a team to make the game more even. North Carolina State at +10 means they have 10 points added to their final total. So if they lose 93-84, you add 10 points to 83, giving them 94 and allowing you to “cover the spread” and win your bet.

Duke at -10 means you subtract 10 points from their final total. In other words, they need to win by 11 points for a bet on them to be considered a winner. If Duke happened to win by exactly 10 points, the bet would be considered a “push” and everyone gets their bet returned. Here’s another example:

Pepperdine +12.5
UCLA +12.5

Now we see a half-point spread, meaning there cannot be a “push.” Pepperdine is +12.5 and just like all teams listed with a (+) sign, they are the underdog. For a bet to win on Pepperdine +12.5, they can either win the game outright or lose by 12 or less points. UCLA at -12.5 means they are the favorite and must win the game by 13 or more points for a wager on them to win.

You see that there are only two possible outcomes in a straight bet, other than a “push.” It’s an either-or-equation. Where the book guarantees themselves a profit is by charging you a commission on every straight bet you place. That is called “juice.” The industry-standard is -110, which means you must wager $110 for every $100 you hope to win.

In other words, picking exactly half of your bets correctly would result in you being slightly on the losing side. When betting $22 to win $20, $55 to win $50, or $110 to win $100, you need to do a little better than 50%. But let’s not forget that with the steep competition among sportsbooks, the betting man can find a -105 line on games. Betting $105, as opposed to $110, for every $100 you win can yield you a big edge over time as it cuts your break-even percentage down from 52.38% to 51.19%. (Find reduced odds -105 wagering at BetAnySports.)

Straight bets/sides are considered the soundest wager for a number of reasons. From a basic level, you are not asking for too much. There are two possible outcomes and you’re just asking for one of them to happen. A lot of bettors fall by the wayside by consistently needing the stars to line up exactly right in order for them to win money. Straight bets are realistic.

In addition, you are not getting juiced to death by the bookie when betting straight. Especially if you find a discounted line, you are immune from the steep commission required for you to make other more extravagant wagers. When betting on college basketball, your payouts will never quite match the actual probabilities of what we are asking to happen. At least with straight wagering, it’s somewhere in the ballpark. The further you stray off-the-grid, the more you get juiced.

Not many bettors make it at college basketball wagering. A lot of them don’t give themselves a fighting chance. They ask for too much to happen, while receiving odds that do not come close to representing the actual probabilities. When reserving much of your wagering to straight bets, you make yourself immune to those hallmark pitfalls that befall the average betting man. You put yourself in a position to be successful simply by winning a little more than you lose. Now you have a fighting chance.