Thursday College Basketball Betting Picks: 4 Games Offering Spread Value

Thursday College Basketball Betting Picks: 4 Games Offering Spread Value article feature image
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Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Toledo guard Marreon Jackson.

Historically, public bettors tend to wager on teams that have been covering the spread and fade those that haven’t. It’s basic human nature to believe that something will continue to happen because it has in the past.

In fact, according to Bet Labs, teams that have covered at least three of their past five games have received a majority of spread tickets in 66.1% of regular season games when facing an opponent that has covered one or fewer of its past five.

Oddsmakers understand these tendencies and shade their lines to force square bettors to take bad numbers as a result. In postseason play, however, the team with strong recent against-the-spread (ATS) form receives a majority of bets in only 54.1% of games.


Odds as of Wednesday evening and via FanDuel. Get up to a $500 risk-free bet at FanDuel today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Why the change?

Often the team that has been covering will be favored when facing an opponent that isn’t, and recreational bettors would normally love to take a covering favorite.

But in postseason play, like conference tournaments, the public is more likely to bet the underdog, assuming games will be more competitive because teams are desperate to extend their seasons.

Once again, oddsmakers know this is a tendency of casual bettors in postseason play and are less likely to inflate the line as they would in regular season matchups. This creates value betting teams that have been covering when they face an opponent that hasn’t.

Since 2005, teams with good recent ATS form have gone 316-249-11 (56%) ATS when facing an opponent with bad recent ATS form. A $100 bettor following this system would have returned a profit of $5,013.

On Thursday, there are multiple conference tournament games featuring a good ATS team facing a bad ATS opponent. History suggests the smart play is backing the good ATS squad.

Thursday Matches:

  • UMass (+7) vs. VCU (12 p.m. ET)
  • Ohio (+4.5) vs. Akron (12 p.m. ET)
  • UMKC (-1.5) vs. Grand Canyon (5:30 p.m. ET)
  • Toledo (-1.5) vs. Bowling Green (6:30 p.m. ET)