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College basketball against the spread: Full Guide to NCAA Picks ATS

Last Updated on 04/10/2024
Fact checked by: Vicky Winters

College basketball picks against the spread are a great way to back the underdog with a little backing from a few additional points. If you fancy looking at a variation to the points spread, this guide is for you.

Although similar to the points spread, NCAA basketball picks against the spread are focused on the underdogs only. In this guide, we detail exactly how this works, why the number of additional points will alter the odds, and which teams to consider leading up to March Madness. Plus, we present some top tips for you to take on board.

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What are NCAA basketball picks against the spread?

Although college basketball picks against the spread share many similarities with NCAA college basketball point spreads, it is important to understand that there are a few key differences.

Firstly, you can bet with the spread or against it. The favorite will be highlighted by a negative points reduction, while the underdog will be presented with a positive points addition. In other words, as the favorite, Team A will be predicted to win the match despite having points removed from their official total. Conversely, as the underdog, it is anticipated that Team B will require additional points added to their total to secure the win.

Betting with the spread refers to betting on the favorite and making use of the points deductions. However, NCAA basketball picks against the spread will require you to bet on the underdog only.

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How will the odds of NCAA March Madness picks against the spread be displayed

Of course, at credible March Madness betting sites, you’ll find various college basketball picks against the spread. In turn, you’ll be able to place your predictions on whether an underdog will win, accompanied by a positive points addition of anything from 1 to 100. Although, it is worth bearing in mind that the odds will differ considerably the further away from the NCAA point spread you go.

  • Points Spread: Houston Cougars - 14 (-110) vs. Connecticut Huskies + 14 (-110)
  • Picks against the spread: Connecticut Huskies + 60 (-500)

As you can see, the points spread aims to “even the odds,” providing bettors with an even playing field regardless of whether they bet on the Cougars or Huskies. However, by betting against the spread, you’ll open up a range of underdog markets with a range of odds to match. In this instance, we see that a Huskies win + 60 points will provide odds of -500. Or, you’ll be required to bet $500 in order to win $100.

As the Huskies are underdogs, you will find that any number under the points spread will provide longer NCAA basketball odds. For example, Connecticut Huskies +4 could provide odds of + 250. Or, you’ll be offered the chance to win $250 from a $100 wager.

Examples of upcoming NCAA basketball expert picks against the spread

With a greater knowledge of NCAA basketball picks against the spread now locked in, we wanted to dedicate this next section to a few upcoming examples.

1. Purdue vs. Wisconsin

Points Spread: Purdue -2 (-110) vs. Wisconsin +2 (-110)

Picks against the spread: Wisconsin +14 (-380)

As you can see, things between Purdue and Wisconsin are fairly close. Identical odds set at -2 and +2 highlight that sportsbooks believe a few points could decide this one. Understandably, as you add more points to Wisconsin’s total, the odds get longer and longer. In turn, you’ll find that a + 14 market will offer odds of (-380). In other words, you’ll need to wager $380 to receive $100.

2. Middle Tennessee vs. North Texas 

Points Spread: Middle Tennessee +7.5 (-110) vs. North Texas -7.5 (-110)

Picks against the spread: Middle Tennessee + 22.5 (-300) or Middle Tennessee + 2.5 (+180)

Middle Tennessee are clear underdogs in their upcoming match against North Texas. A points difference of +/- 7.5 has been added to both teams in order to “even the odds.” When looking at the picks against the spread, we found that Middle Tennessee + 22.5 required a bet of $300 to win $100. However, we found that you could wager $100 and win $180 on the +2.5 market.

3. Stanford vs. Oregon State 

Points Spread: Stanford -5 (-110) vs. Oregon State +5 (-110)

Picks against the spread: Oregon State + 14.5 (-295) or Oregon State +2 (+130)

It looks set to be a fairly close encounter between Stanford and Oregon State, too. Here, you’ll find that the odds have been evened out at +/- 5 and odds of -110. When looking at the picks against the spread, you can unlock odds of -295 when betting on Oregon State +14.5; however, if you fancy an underdog win, then a +2 could see your $100 bet turn into $130.

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March Madness picks against the spread: Underdogs to look out for

Automatic spots are already being confirmed for this year’s March Madness. However, when looking at making college basketball picks against the spread, you’ll find that these names are out of reach. With this in mind, we’ve dedicated this next section of our latest guide to highlighting a few underdogs that we feel are worth considering before placing any bets.

  • Connecticut Huskies: The Huskies have had an impressive campaign and are currently ranked 14th. Although currently sitting 5th in the Big East, they have an overall record of 23-7. We’d suggest that a Wild Card spot is all but secured, and any matches outside of the conference seem to be going in the Huskies' favor. With this in mind, we’d consider the Huskies as a serious pick against the spread - if they don’t go into a match considered a favorite, of course.  
  • Gonzaga Bulldogs: Next, we take a look at the 10th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs. With a current record of 26-5, the Bulldogs are sitting pretty in 1st place across the West Coast Conference. The conference itself may not be considered the most competitive, but a current winning streak of 7 speaks for itself. Having already made it to the West Coast Tournament, all that remains is to see if they can take this form into March Madness. Many feel that a Final Four place is out of the question; however, they could prove a great choice as an NCAA basketball pick against the spread.
  • Indiana Hoosiers: In third position across the Big Ten, there is no doubt that Indiana Hoosiers are deserving of a mention. Despite an upset loss against Iowa, Hoosiers remain on track to become a great pick against the spread. Aside from Minnesota and Ohio State, the Big Ten Conference has been competitive all season. With this in mind, Indiana will still go into March Madness with an impressive 20-10 record and an overall ranking of 15th. Although we expect an earlier exit than the Bulldogs, don’t count out the Hoosiers.  
  • Texas Longhorns: Just behind the Hoosiers, we have the Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns are currently fourth in the Big 12 and boast a record of 22-8. Texas is on a two-game losing streak coming into March Madness; however, this will only prove favorable towards those college basketball picks against the spread. Although currently ranked 9th, we suspect the latter stages of the tournament will prove an opportune time to consider Texas + a points addition.

Tips to consider before using college basketball free picks against the spread

In this next section of our guide to college basketball picks against the spread, we offer up a few top tips to help you along the way. Although these won’t guarantee any success, they will put you in a better position to make educated bets and provide you with improved odds.

Find a credible sportsbook

As you’d expect, a great college basketball betting experience lies in the hands of the online operator you choose. If you are looking for a site that provides mobile accessibility, then make use of our dedicated reviews to find out whether an app or browser option is available. As standard, we ensure that any recommended site is licensed, and we also cover legal states, too. 

Use first bet offers or bonus bets

When placing college basketball picks against the spread, you are working against the favorites. So, the chance to pick up a kind of security blanket goes a long way. First bet offers will return any losing wagers with bonus bets that can be used across your chosen sportsbook. In turn, you are offered a “second chance,” albeit non-withdrawable until you’ve worked your way through the playthrough requirements. Similarly, new customer offers can provide deposit-match bonuses that will release bonus bets into your account. Again, you can use these to when placing NCAA basketball picks against the spread.

Check for injuries

Away from your chosen online sportsbook, a little look into the locker room can help your final decisions. While teams may opt to rest starters leading up to March Madness, you’ll find that starters will make a serious return from the first round through to the final four. Unfortunately, due to the intensity and frequency of these matches, you may find players start to encounter injuries. If this is the case, your points differential may need to be considered. 

Check the form

Earlier in this guide to NCAA basketball picks against the spread, we highlighted a few underdogs that are heading into March Madness with significant winning or losing streaks. All online sportsbooks will take this into account and will amend their odds accordingly. However, before diving on some favorable odds, we suggest considering the effect that these streaks will have on players and any potential outcomes.

Build accumulators

Although not for everyone, the opportunity to build accumulators is a surefire way to boost any odds on college basketball picks against the spread. Of course, the risk involved with these sorts of wagers will increase with every additional selection you include. Unlike single bets that rely on one result to come in, accumulators will require all selections of your bet to win in order for any prizes to be released. 

Find March Madness picks against the spread today

Although sharing many similarities with the points spread, college basketball picks against the spread are focused solely on the underdogs. Odds will vary depending on how far you venture away from the points spread, allowing you to determine the risk you are willing to take.

Before you scroll through these betting markets and find odds that suit, we suggest heading back to Ballislife.com, making use of our operator reviews, and finding a platform that provides a first bet offer or some bonus bets to help along the way. We also suggest checking out our list of underdogs, paying attention to form, and even building accumulators to boost the odds.

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College basketball picks against the spread FAQ

🌟 Can I use bonuses on free college basketball picks against the spread?

Each bonus or promotion you release will hold specific terms and conditions that must be met. Some may require an opt-in, others may require a minimum deposit, and some may only be eligible for use on Las Vegas college basketball odds. When looking at college basketball picks against the spread specifically, you can use our guide to find out the importance of a solid bonus.

📱When should I place NCAAb picks against the spread?

As we found in our guide to college basketball prop bets, available markets surrounding your NCAAb picks against the spread will vary depending on your chosen sportsbook. Find out what other considerations you should take into account before placing your bets in this latest guide.

🏀 Can I place NCAA basketball picks against the spread today?

March Madness is just around the corner. The single-elimination tournament is a great way to utilize the NCAA basketball picks against the spread. However, of course, they can be used during the regular season, too. We suggest making use of this dedicated guide to find out the best places to bet against the spread today.

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