By: Chris Stoehr, Colby Becker, John Zurcher, Ryan Bier
The world of sports is growing with each year that passes, and it continues to get even more significant. The addition of legally betting on sports in 2018 has made an impact on many people in the world. One major factor to consider when betting on sports is the players. After all, people bet on players, and players are the ones who ultimately decide the outcome of games.
Since the concept of betting on sports is relatively new, the NCAA started putting rules in place to ensure athletes do not bet on sports or gamble in general. However, even though there are rules, it doesn’t always mean that all athletes follow them. In the latest study conducted by the NCAA in 2016, 24% of male athletes gamble on sports, compared to female athletes who gamble on 5% of games. In the same study, of the male athletes who bet on sports, 21% lose more than $50 a day.
In today’s world, it can be challenging to be a student-athlete with a lot of pressure to perform at the highest level throughout the season, and sports betting adds to that pressure. Sports bettors are always looking for an advantage and inside information on games when they place a wager, and athletes can be the first place they look.
“I have had people text me or call me to ask if we will cover the spread,” North Dakota State University student athlete, Sam Griesel said. “I just tell them I hope we win. I can’t give them any inside information because I could get in trouble for that. It’s not worth it to me. I would rather keep playing the sport I love than win people a couple of bucks.”
Sports experts create the spread to give people an idea about individual matchups that take place in sports. The range is based on models that predict how one team should do against another team. Winning is always the main goal for athletes, but covering the spread means they performed in the game how they were supposed to.
“We have a goal to cover the spread every game,” South Dakota State University fullback, Luke Sellers said. “We’re the No. 3 ranked team in FCS, and sometimes the spread makes us feel like we are an unranked program. The spread gives us motivation to not only cover but win the game.”
While the players are not betting on their games, that does not mean that they don’t think about covering and beating spreads.
“Good teams win games, but great teams cover the spread,” Sellers jokingly added.
Even though there are athletes who do not bet on sports due to NCAA rules or team rules, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t cross the minds of some athletes.
“Yes, it would definitely be something I would be interested in,” University of Nebraska-Lincoln baseball player, Drew Gillin said. “I love sports, and I would like to gamble, so that it would be a fun pastime.”