NCAAB Key Numbers boydsbets

What are the key numbers in college basketball? Football gets the most attention with the popularity of three and seven.  But, it’s important to know which margins occur the most often in every sport.  This can help you make better teaser bets. You can also take advantage of certain point spreads.

We looked at every NCAA basketball game since 2006. The “margin” below is the difference in the final score (e.g. 65-60 would be a margin of 5). The “# of Games” is the number of times that amount has been the final margin.  The “% of games” is the percent of all matchups that have landed on that margin.

This gives us what the key numbers have been in NCAA basketball. The most common final score lands between 2 and 5 points, with 3 being the most popular margin. Below this table we’ll look at the cost/reward for buying on or off these spreads.

NCAA Basketball Scoring Margins

Margin# of Games% of Games
329636.15%
226605.52%
525705.34%
425525.30%
723404.86%
623234.82%
922994.77%
822134.60%
1022044.58%
1120924.34%
119624.07%
1219454.04%
1318883.92%
1416183.36%
1515103.14%
1613322.77%
1712742.65%
1811702.43%
1910782.24%
209241.92%
218291.72%
227471.55%
237121.48%
246551.36%
255571.16%
265491.14%
274720.98%
284560.95%
294070.85%
303540.74%
313190.66%
322960.61%
342770.58%
332620.54%
352260.47%
362030.42%
371870.39%
391700.35%
401460.30%
381460.30%
411310.27%
421230.26%
431090.23%
45950.20%
46840.17%
44730.15%
50610.13%
48600.12%
47580.12%
51530.11%
52490.10%
49430.09%
53370.08%
54350.07%
56250.05%
55240.05%
58230.05%
60220.05%
59180.04%
62160.03%
61160.03%
65130.03%
57130.03%
64120.02%
63110.02%
7190.02%
6980.02%
7450.01%
6750.01%
6650.01%
7040.01%
7530.01%
8620.00%
8420.00%
8320.00%
8220.00%
8120.00%
8020.00%
6820.00%
10410.00%
10210.00%
9410.00%
7910.00%
7810.00%
7710.00%
7310.00%
7210.00%

Buying Points Off Numbers

This table shows the best spreads to buy off of in NCAA basketball. What exactly does the data in this table mean? The “line” is the closing line of the game. “Lands On” is how many contests actually landed on that margin. “Games” is how many total games closed with each particular line.  The “%” represents that number as a percentage.

This tells us which lines it makes sense to buy off of. This also assumes you have the option to buy a 0.5 point for 10 cents (-120 juice), which is typical for most books.

The 1.2 point has to help you win an extra 4.8% of your bets for it to be worth it. Our table below tells us what lines have this much of an edge.  With a line of 3 (betting the favorite you would buy to -2.5, betting the underdog you would buy to +2.5), buying off the spread would avoid a push 5.57% of the time.

Assuming your 50% win rate, you would expect to win half of your bets and lose half of your bets and push 87 of them. Buying off of this spread you would gain 87 wins.  Even at the higher price of -120 you can expect a better result than taking +3 or -3 at -110 odds.

The problem is that, in most cases, it is not worth buying the 1/2 point based on the odds you get versus the advantage you receive. In the table below, we’ve highlighted the point spreads that are worth it to buy off.

LineLands OnGames%
16203246.17%
17142515.58%
38715635.57%
13275764.69%
15183844.69%
12286114.58%
74910964.47%
46615024.39%
10327894.06%
9368914.04%
64812473.85%
11266783.83%
55013153.80%
15715243.74%
25915923.71%
83510173.44%
14154753.16%

Buying a Half Point On To Numbers

When you buy on to a key number, you buy from a spread with a half point, like -3.5 or +3.5, on to a whole, like -3 or +3. In these cases, instead of adding a win, you are avoiding a loss and replacing it with a push. Since you are avoiding a -110 loss and replacing it with a push you have to win an extra 4.17% of your wagers to be profitable. Based on our research, there are many situations where it makes sense to buy on to whole points.

In the table below, the 1/2 Below column shows the total pushes to expect buying the spread down (-1.5 to -1, for example).  The 1/2 Above column shows the number of pushes to expect buying the line up (+1.5 to +2, for example). Those are then converted to percentages so we can see which point spreads make sense to buy up or down.

LineGames1/2 Below1/2 Above% Below% Above
1.5134436482.68%3.57%
2.5148266784.45%5.26%
3.5147762654.20%4.40%
4.5141157714.04%5.03%
5.5132946493.46%3.69%
6.5120447513.90%4.24%
7.5115544443.81%3.81%
8.599033343.33%3.43%
9.580437264.60%3.23%
10.572433384.56%5.25%
11.561922223.55%3.55%
12.556023314.11%5.54%
13.547820254.18%5.23%
14.542913203.03%4.66%
15.530815124.87%3.90%
16.527515105.45%3.64%
17.52401495.83%3.75%

Buying points is just another CBB betting strategy you can use to beat the sports books this season.    Not everyone knows how to do the math to see if it’s worth it or not.  Not everyone cares.

In fact, most amateur bettors probably think you are wasting your money by doing this.  That’s good news for us.  The fewer people that take advantage the longer the edge is going to last.

So do you have the same advantage when getting a half a point extra off of one of these numbers?  Check our ATS records by point spread data to see for yourself which lines have been profitable in the past.

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