Texas Tech-Virginia Betting Tip: Smarter to Take the Spread or Moneyline?


Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Davide Moretti

Apr 08, 2019, 05:21 PM EDT
  • A majority of bets are on Texas Tech (+1) against Virginia in tonight's National Championship Game (9:20 p.m. ET, CBS).
  • Using Bet Labs, we determine if it is more profitable to bet the moneyline or spread in college basketball games with small odds.

At the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook the spread for the National Championship Game is Virginia -1 (9:20 p.m. ET, CBS). Texas Tech is the popular play with a majority of moneyline and spread tickets on Chris Beard’s team.

With the odds suggesting this game is close to a coin flip, shouldn’t Texas Tech supporters bet the moneyline and not the spread since the return would be greater?

To find out, I used the Bet Labs database to evaluate the most profitable approach for wagering on small lines in college basketball games.

Before we look at the data, let’s discuss the potential return for each wager type. A $100 bettor with a Red Raiders (+105) moneyline ticket would win $105 if Texas Tech cuts down the nets. That same bettor would need to risk $110 to win $100 on Jarrett Culver, Matt Mooney and Co. at +1.

Spread bettors also cash their tickets if Texas Tech wins with the added benefit of a potential push should Virginia win by exactly one point.

Since both moneyline and spread bettors need Texas Tech to win in order to get paid, it makes sense to wager on the moneyline. But the data says it has been more profitable (less costly, actually) to bet the spread.