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Claire LevyJune 13, 2014
February 24, 2019

Online NCAA Basketball Betting

When people talk about betting on basketball they usually refer to high-profile NBA games, but there’s no denying the fact that NCAA events have become fairly popular on most major sportsbooks over the past few years, particularly in the United States.

As you’ve probably already guessed, wagering real money on NCAA Basketball is very similar to betting on NBA in terms of the available bet types, bonuses and promotions. Consequently, if you already have some online betting experience, you shouldn’t have any problems with taking advantage of all the NCAA lines offered by online bookmakers these days.

Best College Basketball Betting Sites Top Sportsbooks

NCAA College Basketball Betting Guide

Point Spread Betting

Most people who wager on basketball prefer to bet against the spread – and NCAA fans are no different in this regard. The idea behind this type of wager is to provide the people who’d like to put their money on the underdogs with better odds of cashing in on their investment by giving the favorites a small handicap. Consequently, each line of this kind is listed with the amount of points which modifies the score of both teams. Usually, betting against the spread requires you to risk $110 for a chance to win $100. Consider the following example:

Syracuse -5.5 -110

Stanford +5.5 -110

In our hypothetical scenario, Syracuse is the favorite and loses 5.5 points for the purpose of determining the outcome of the bet. This means that if you bet on the Syracuse, your teams to win by six points or more. Conversely, if you put your money on Stanford, you’re going to win the bet even if your team ends up losing by five points.

Money Line Betting

Betting the money line isn’t as popular as betting against the spread, but it’s still fairly popular among inexperienced and casual bettors due to its simplicity. When you bet the money line, your goal is to predict which team will win the game outright – there are no handicaps, so the exact scores simply don’t matter when it comes to determining whether you receive a payout or not. Money lines use $100 for the purpose of expressing the odds.

Positive lines are used to indicate which team is the underdog and are marked with a plus symbol. Betting on such a line means that you have to wager $100 for a chance to win the amount of money listed on the site. Conversely, betting on a line marked with a minus symbol means that you have to risk a pre-determined amount for a chance to win $100. For example:

Florida -220

Harvard +180

In this case, Florida is the favorite, so you have to pay $220 for every $100 that you could win. Harvard on the other hand is the underdog, which means that every $100 you wager gives you a shot at winning $180.

Over/Under Betting

Over/under bet are also known as totals. Wagers of this type are different from betting the money line or against the spread, as they require you to estimate to combined score of both teams instead of guessing who will win the match. Each bet of this kind come with a total determined by the bookmaker – betting that the actual score will be higher is called placing an over bet, while wagering that the score will be lower is often referred to as an under bet.

Keep in mind that many people consider betting the under somewhat safer, but in the end wagers of this kind tend to be very reliant on luck instead of handicapping efforts, which makes them somewhat less popular with seasoned punters.

Parlay Betting

Parlays are often referred to as accumulators or multipliers, as they allow you to combine multiple straight wagers of various types into a single bet. Please note that placing a parlay is very different from placing each of those bets separately, as the odds offered on parlays are significantly higher – two team parlays tend to pay as high as 13/5.

However, there’s a catch here, as losing a single sub-bet results in losing the entire wager. For example, if you place a four team parlay and only three of your predictions are right, your money stays with the site and you won’t receive any money. Consequently, parlays are considered to be very risky, which makes them best suited for veteran bettors and adrenaline-thirsty high-rollers.

Futures Betting

Much like in the case of NBA, many sports betting sites allow you to put your money on NCAA futures. The most popular wagering options are almost always tied to the outcome of March Madness. Most bets of this kind have to be placed before the season starts and offer excellent odds, but you should keep in mind that the money you invest in betting on NCAA futures won’t be available until the end of the season, which means that you should be very careful to avoid wagering more than you can afford.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it legal to bet on college basketball online in the United States?

Up until May 14 of last year, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 prohibited bookmakers from conducting sports wagering business in every state except for Nevada.

Thankfully, the United States Supreme Court took a second look at the PASPA, before striking the federal ban down as an unconstitutional violation of states’ rights in a 6-3 decision.

As a result, individual states are now free to pass legislation and regulate sportsbooks as they see fit. And like clockwork, seven new states – Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island – now offer fully legal sports wagering in via brick and mortar and/or online bet shops. That’s good news for anyone interested in online college basketball betting.

Dozens of bills looking to legalize sports betting are currently under consideration by state legislatures everywhere from Arizona to New York, and all points in between.

But even as these states scramble to get in on the sports betting gold rush, college basketball enthusiasts who simply enjoy filling out their March Madness bracket have nothing to worry about.

Despite recent rumblings after the Department of Justice (DOJ) clarified its position regarding online gambling, individual bettors are in luck. Federal law might be murky when it comes to operating online sportsbooks, but patronizing these businesses remains perfectly legal. To date, not a single bettor has ever been pursued by the DOJ, nor any local or state law enforcement agencies.

Taking bets can be a risky business, no doubt about it, but online NCAA basketball betting come tournament time has always been completely above board.

Are March Madness pools illegal?

Organizing a March Madness betting pool has become a beloved annual tradition, both for families and offices alike.

According to data compiled by the American Gaming Association (AGA), over 24 million people filled out more than 70 million brackets ahead of last year’s NCAA Tournament.

Of course, that hardly means more than one-fifth of the nation committed a criminal act – not in the slightest.

Sure, most states have laws on the books banning bookmakers from accepting bets. But as of now, the 13 states listed below allow for limited forms of casual pool sports betting a la March Madness pools:

And when you throw in states where sports betting has been deemed universally legal – Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island – the count rises to 20 altogether.

Thankfully though, all 50 states in the union are subject to federal laws which deliberately avoid targeting bettors. All things considered, the next time you hear about someone being arrested for submitting a March Madness bracket will be the first.

Joseph M. Kelly, a professor of business law at Buffalo State College, offered the following advice via Law360 in March of 2016:

“I would say that the chance of prosecution would be the same as being struck by lightning.

If it is just an office pool, where the winner takes all, in theory you are violating the law in about half the states, but in practice you are not going to be prosecuted.

I just can’t imagine a prosecutor taking time to go after a casual player.”

What are the odds of a No. 16 seed upsetting a No. 1 seed?

Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams for the first time in 1985, No. 16-seed underdogs went winless in their first 135 attempts against No. 1-seeded favorites.

That historically inept run came to end in 2018, when the University of Maryland-Baltimore Country (UMBC) Retrievers crushed the top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers in a 74-54 opening round rout.

It took 34 years’ worth of No. 1 vs. No. 16 matchups to produce the tournament’s first unbelievable upset, but bettors aren’t facing true 1 in 136 odds on this one. In reality, major bookmakers set the moneyline at 25 to 1 or better on UMBC, so even the miraculous mind-readers out there couldn’t cash in on this “once in a lifetime” longshot.

That means you’d have a better chance backing a (-17.5) underdog in a single tournament game – which turn only 3.67 percent of tickets into winners – compared to the fabled No. 16 over No. 1 flier.

How much money is bet on March Madness?

According to the AGA, the 2018 March Madness festivities generated over $10 billion in total wagers nationwide.

That figure – which covers everything from casual office pools to targeted one-game wagers through an online sportsbook – represents 6.6 percent of the combined sum Americans bet on sports each and every year.

What are the odds of picking a perfect March Madness bracket sheet?

Since 2014, billionaire investment guru Warren Buffet has issued a challenge that seems too good to be true. Anybody who can correctly predict all 63 games in the NCAA Tournament – filling out a picture-perfect bracket in the process – will receive $1 million every year for the rest of their life.

That challenge remains unfulfilled through five years and counting though, thanks in large part to the truly astronomical odds against nailing a spotless bracket.

Picking all 63 games correctly requires perfect accuracy on a one-on-one matchup 63 times over, or 2^63 in math geek lingo. All told, that equation equates to overall odds of 1 in over 9.2 quintillion – making a perfect bracket exactly one trillion times less likely than getting struck by lighting twice in a lifetime.

Jonathan Mattingly – a professor of mathematics at Duke University – developed a formula based on the overwhelming likelihood of the No. 1 seeds defeating their No. 16-seed opening round opponents. But even when these longshots are factored in, along with other superior seeds facing underdogs, Mattingly calculated improved odds of 1 in 2.4 trillion.

And if a Blue Devil’s digits aren’t up to snuff in your book, DePaul University mathematician Jay Bergen calculated the odds at one in 128 billion.

But whomever you consider gospel when March Madness perfection is concerned, backing one side with a single basketball bet through your favorite online sportsbook is the best way to beat the odds.

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