First Half vs Full Game Spread
Throughout this College Basketball season, I watched many games where a favorite was covering the spread most of the game and blew the lead in the final few minutes. This made me wonder what the benefits of betting first half lines over full game lines were. Some obvious advantages would be that you don’t have to worry about late-game fouls and garbage time. This made me wonder if there was an advantage to taking the first half-line over the full game line especially in games with large spreads.
Reviewing My Bets
Over the 2019-20 college basketball season, I placed full game spread bets on 162 games. While this is still a very small sample size, it can give us a good idea of what the results may look like. The record for these full games spreads were 85-74-3, winnings at 53.46%. The record for the first half spreads for the same games would have been 96-63-3, winning at 60.38%. The results for all those games are shown below. The pick column represents my pick for each game.
[table id=FullFirst /]
These results don’t confirm that it is more profitable, but it shows that I wasn’t going crazy during the season. I think that in my specific method of handicapping, my model tends to favor good first half teams. These results made me want to figure out if there was any significance behind it. That big of a winning percentage swing seems like a good enough reason for me to continue my research.
Spreads Bigger than 10
I decided to test large favorites against the full game spread and first-half spread. I choose teams that were favored by 10 or more on the full game spread. I choose this because 10 points seem to be about the cut off for late-game craziness and fouling. Below are the results for the 1,530 games during the 2020 College Basketball season with a spread higher of 10 or higher.
[table id=10Spread /]
In those games, the favorites went 720-780-30 against the full game spread, for a winning percentage of only 48.0%. When compared to the first half spread those same teams went 801-700-29, for a winning percentage of 53.4%. If you look at all 5,328 games, the favorite covered the full games spread in 48.8% and covered the first-half spread in 50.2% of there games. While this doesn’t necessarily prove that betting the first-half spread is more profitable it appears like it could be.
Should you Bet the First Half Spread?
According to my findings, it looks like betting the first-half spread could be profitable. While both of my examples only highlight a small sample from 1 season, it does help paint a bigger picture. Due to the unpredictability at the end of College Basketball games, the first half spread allows for a more stable finish. I plan to do more research on this over the offseason and examine what the best situations are to bet the first-half spread.
Head over to twitter to let me know what you think about Betting the First Half vs Full Game Spread in College Basketball. If you enjoyed this article head over to my picks page to see who I am betting on. Also, go check out my rankings. Finally, don’t forget to check out my sports betting record and blog posts.