College Basketball Betting Breakdown, Odds, Picks: ‘Trap Line’ Myths, Dreamstyle Arena, More
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Malachi Flynn
Each day in this space, I’m going to highlight a few interesting betting-related storylines from that night’s college hoops slate, one PRO system from Bet Labs with a match for that day and one interesting note from the betting market.
Here’s Wednesday’s breakdown.
Odds as of Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.
1. There’s No Such Thing as a ‘Trap Line’
- Baylor (-3.5) at Iowa State
- West Virginia at Texas Tech (-2)
You’ve heard the term “trap line” in the sports betting lexicon, surely. Someone argues that “Vegas” is trying to goat you into betting a side that seems like easy money. Oddsmakers will be laughing their way to the bank when the other side wins or covers easily.
But “trap” lines just don’t exist.
Sportsbooks are trying to predict the outcome of every game as accurately as possible. They use the most sophisticated techniques they have access to in order to achieve that goal. And sure, those techniques might produce a line that looks “fishy,” but that’s just because the average bettor isn’t using those same techniques and is relying on blind intuition.
Second, it’s bettors (commonly referred to as the betting market) who are really shaping these lines after they’re released at one or two market-setting books. Not oddsmakers.
If the books did set “traps,” sharp bettors would hammer the number to the correct spot immediately, before most of the betting public even has access to these games at their books. Even if oddsmakers somehow “trick” a number of average bettors into taking these trap lines, overwhelming professional action would cost them in a much bigger way if the line was truly off.
There are two Big 12 lines on the board tonight that some bettors might consider “traps” — No. 1 Baylor laying only 3.5 points at 9-10 Iowa State, and No. 12 West Virginia as a 2-point underdog at unranked Texas Tech.
I don’t have a strong feeling on either game — though Eli Hershkovich does for Baylor-Iowa State — but don’t think that someone is trying to trick you into taking the less obvious side. The number is probably right where it should be.
2. Dreamstyle Arena, House of Horrors
San Diego State (-11) at New Mexico
San Diego State has not fared well at Dreamstyle Arena in the last decade, going just 3-8 there since 2009.
As a whole, New Mexico has been a rough place for visiting teams, thanks to a combination of altitude (seventh highest in the country) and a raucous student section known as The Pit. KenPom rates New Mexico’s home-court advantage the sixth highest out of 353 teams.
The Lobos are 120-89-4 (57.4%) at home since 2006, though that number has dipped to 53% over the last five years.
New Mexico’s home-road splits in 2019-20 are drastic, as well.
San Diego State is unbeaten and has not been a good fade this year, but I’ll count on the Lobos to shoot well from distance at home and keep this thing competitive. Anything at +10 or better is good for me.
3. Penn State-Indiana Promo
Indiana at Penn State (-5.5)
DraftKings is offering a no-brainer promotion if you’re in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana or West Virginia — Penn State-Indiana over/under 51 points at -110 odds.
4. Sky-High SEC Total
Alabama at LSU (-5)
LSU and Alabama nearly set an SEC record with their football total this past season, and the basketball teams are poised to do the same.
Wednesday’s total (166) would be tied for the ninth-highest total in SEC basketball history, all of which have come since 2017.
It’s shot up from 164 to 166 behind sharp action, according to our Bet Signals at Sports Insights.
Alabama plays at the third-fastest pace in the nation and shoots 3’s at a higher rate than all but 20 teams. LSU doesn’t play lightning fast or shoot many 3’s (321 of 353 in 3-point rate), but does rank No. 5 in overall offensive efficiency.
5. Wednesday PRO System
Teams that have consistently covered the spread are often overvalued in the betting market, while teams that haven’t are often undervalued.
That’s the situation we have Wednesday, when Xavier (-2.5) hosts Marquette. The Musketeers have lost four of their last five games, including a 20-point loss at Marquette just 14 days ago.
Simply backing teams that have covered 33% of their games or less against teams with winning ATS records has yielded a 55% winning percentage and 7.3% ROI over the last 15 years.
This system fits four games tonight, including Xavier-Marquette.