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College Basketball Money Line Wagers

College Basketball Money Line Wagering Explained

By Loot, NCAA Basketball Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

There are many different kinds of wagers one can place on college basketball. The money-line bet is one of the more interesting of the whole bunch. They offer a certain appeal to the betting man, while posing a number of drawbacks. Let’s discuss money-line bets and then see whether you should incorporate them into your repertoire.

The instant appeal with a money-line bet is that there is no point-spread. When you bet on a team on the money-line, it only has to win for your wager to win. Your team wins, you win. It’s hard to deny the comfort of betting to win straight up. After all, isn’t that precisely what teams are trying to do? They’re out to win, not cover the spread.

The bookie will either make you pay for the privilege of betting a team that is supposed to win when playing the money line. If you take North Carolina to beat Georgia Tech on the money line, you will be paying a steep price. Conversely, you will stand to win more than you wagered when selecting an underdog to win on the money-line. Here is an example:

Washington State (+400)
Gonzaga (-600)

Here is a money line. Washington State is +400. The (+) sign always indicates an underdog and the corresponding number always represents how much you will win if you bet $100. In other words, a $100 bet on Washington State would result in $400 in winnings if they won the game.

Gonzaga is -600. The (-) sign always indicates a favorite. The number always means you must wager that amount for every $100 you want to win. To win $100 on Gonzaga, you must wager $600. Remember, there are no points involved. The team you bet merely needs to win the game for your wager to be a success. Here’s a less-extreme example:

Old Dominion (-135)
Creighton (+115)

This is a game expected to be much closer. Old Dominion is a slight favorite at -135, meaning you must wager $135 to win $100 on a money-line bet. Creighton is a mild underdog at +115. A $100 bet on Creighton would yield $115 in winnings.

Tip: When betting moneyline favorites or moneyline underdogs, it's important to be laying the least risk on the favs and be receiving the highest possible payout for your underdog wager. Not all sportsbooks offer the same lines/odds on games! The absolute best odds on the planet can be found at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

Again, a lot of people like to bet on which team will simply win the game. It seems a purer form of betting and it is in a sense. It can be infuriating to be betting on a team to win by 8 and then at the end of the game, you don’t see anyone on the court pushing to make that happen. With a money-line bet, you take that element out of the equation. Your bet represents what the teams are theoretically trying to do.

The problem is that some use is at as a way to win with favorites without having to sweat points. In other words, they consistently make bets where their potential payout is smaller than their wager. In some cases, it’s much smaller, like in the Gonzaga example where a bettor would need to wager $600 to win $100.

These are tempting plays. You see a much stronger team and assume they will win. Who cares how much you have to bet? Well, it is a major concern. And when betting $600 to win $100, you aren’t doing it once. You’ll do it again and a loss can be devastating. A few losses can put you into a tailspin. And if you really hit a rut, you might just find yourself broke.

Some use it as a bail-out play. If a guy is down $1000 over the past week betting on college basketball, he might think this is an easy way to get back to even. So he bets $4000 on a -400 favorite. And that might work. It’s supposed to work. But then inevitably, you will turn a $1000 problem into a $5000 problem and that can be a bitter pill to swallow. When using money-line bets, one should be careful with big favorites. If a huge favorite is such a good pick, take it against-the-spread. Sometimes, you can justify it with a small favorite, when you don’t want to sweat a few points.

Money-line bets can be a good weapon in certain spots. But when having to bet more on favorites, you force yourself to win at a high winning percentage you might not be able to live up to. And when betting underdogs, you’re not getting those precious points anymore. At the end of the day, you should use them only when you feel you’re getting good value and if your an experienced/astute college basketball bettor.

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