The Complete Guide To Online College Basketball Betting

When people talk about betting on basketball, they usually refer to the NBA. However, there’s no denying the fact that major NCAA events have become popular on most major sportsbooks in recent years. One of the most popular events on the college basketball betting calendar is the NCAA Tournament, referred to as March Madness.

As you’ve probably guessed, wagering real money on NCAA basketball is similar to betting on the NBA. If you already have some online sports betting betting experience, you shouldn’t have any problems with taking advantage of all the NCAA lines offered by bookmakers.

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NCAA College Basketball Betting Options

betting on college basketball

As we have noted above betting on NCAA basketball betting is very similar to the NBA. The three main options during a college basketball game are the NCAA basketball spreads, moneyline bets, and total number bets.

Point Spread Betting

Most bettors who wager on basketball prefer to place bets against the spread (ATS) and college basketball fans are no different. The idea behind this type of bet is to provide bettors an equal playing field between the opponents and give each team a small handicap.

Bookmakers use the point spread as a way of leveling out the chances of either team winning the game by providing an advantage or disadvantage based on the margin of victory or defeat for a given team. Bettors then need to choose if a team wins by a certain amount of points (the favorite) or doesn’t lose by a certain amount of points (the underdog).

Usually, betting against the spread requires you to risk $110 for a chance to win $100. Consider the following example:

  • North Carolina -5.5 (-110)
  • Duke +5.5 (-110)

In our hypothetical scenario, North Carolina is the favorite which means if bettors take North Carolina, they need to win by 6 or more points to cash the bet. On the flipside, if you put your money on Duke, you’re going to win the bet if they win the game outright or only lose by five points or less.

Moneyline Betting

Betting the moneyline isn’t as popular as betting against the spread, but it’s still popular among casual bettors due to its simplicity. When you bet the moneyline, your goal is to predict which team will win the game outright – the number of points doesn’t matter. Moneylines use $100 increments to express the odds and determine payouts and the more uneven the game, the bigger the numbers you’ll see.

A minus sign (-) in front of the odds indicates the favorite and the number listed shows how much money you must wager to win $100. A positive sign (+) in front of the odds indicates the underdog and the number show how much money you will win for a $100 wager. It is rare, but sometimes if the matchup is too extreme or one-sided, a book will take the moneyline option off the board.

Here is an NCAA moneyline example:

  • Kentucky -220
  • Kansas +180

In this case, Kentucky is the favorite, so if you bet $220, you would win $320 which is your $220 from your original bet along with $100 in profit. Kansas, on the other hand, is the underdog, which means that if you bet $100, you would win $280 which is $100 from your original bet and $180 in profit.

Over/Under Betting

Totals in basketball is different from betting the moneyline or against the spread as it requires you to pick the final combined score of both teams. This wager is strictly scoring based with nothing to do with the final match outcome. The bookmakers determine this number through past performance along with current matchups and the bettor must choose if the final combined score will land on either side of this number.

For example, if the total for an NCAA game is set at 141.5 and a bettor wagers on the under, this means that if the final combined score is 142 or more, the bet loses. If the teams combine to score 141 or less, the bet wins. As a sports bettor, there are many factors to consider before wagering on totals such as injury reports, matchups, recent schedule and performance.

Types of College Basketball Bets
  • Point Spread
  • Moneyline
  • Over/Under totals
  • Futures
  • Parlays
  • March Madness brackets

Parlay Betting

Parlays are often referred to as accumulators or multipliers, as they allow you to combine many straight wagers of various types into a single bet. Wagering on a parlay is different from placing each of those bets separately as the odds offered on parlays are significantly higher.

In order for a parlay bet to cash, all single bets within the parlay need to be a success. For example, if you place a four-team parlay (four bets in one) and only three of your predictions are correct, your bet loses. Consequently, parlays are much riskier which makes them best suited for veteran bettors and high rollers.

Futures Betting

Much like in the case of NBA, many betting sites allow you to put your money on NCAA futures. The most popular wagering options are almost always tied to the outcome of the NCAA championship or March Madness. Bets of this kind can be placed before the season starts and throughout the season with the odds varying on many factors. With a futures bet, keep in mind that the money you invest in this will be tied up until the result happens, which can take weeks and months. That’s also why you need to be able to go to the safest online sportsbooks.

College Basketball Betting: NCAA Tournament

Players love to go through the wagering options that are almost always tied to the outcome of the NCAA championship, or March Madness. A total of 64 teams make the tournament, and over three weeks, the college hoops champion will be determined. However, the Tournament is a ripe ground for upsets from the very beginning, which is part of the fun of March Madness. Navigate betting on the NCAA Tournament carefully and do plenty of research prior to tip-off.

College Basketball Betting Glossary

College Basketball Betting Term Definition
Slip / Ticket another word for bet slip in which your wager is printed on
Point Spread a type of bet where one team must win by a certain amount of points or the other team must lose within a certain number of points. For example, Duke (-7) vs North Carolina (+7) means Duke must win by more than 7 points to win or North Carolina must lose by fewer than 7 points or win outright. If the final score is Duke 98 North Carolina 91, the bet is a PUSH.
Push a sports betting term for a tie and wagers are returned to the player
Moneyline (ML) another term for an outright win sports bet. When betting the moneyline you believe one of the two teams (or player) will win the event.
Point Total (Total)  also known as an Over / Under bet, is one when you must guess whether the total points scored will be over or under a certain number
Parlay a multi-game, multi-event bet, in which 2-or-more wagers must be correct in order for the ticket to cash. Because you are betting on more results to happen successfully, parlay bets often enjoy great odds than single bets.
Teaser similar to a parlay, a teaser contains multiple event bets where the point spread and/or totals can be adjusted by “buying” points.
Juice / Vig is another term for cost of placing a bet and is easier to show an example than define. When you look at a moneyline bet on an oddsboard, it’ll look something like: Duke -120 Virginia +105
Prop / Proposition Bet – these typically have to do with a certain player or team achieving a certain goal threshold within an event. An example of a prop bet would be Zion Williamson OVER/UNDER 25 points
Specials an off-shoot of prop bets, specials are unique to a certain time frame. For example, will the Cleveland State Vikings or Cleveland Cavaliers score more points on Saturday?
Exotic as the name indicates, exotics are another form of prop bet that gets a little weird sometimes. For example, what will happen first Harvard wins or Yale wins their first game of the year.
1Q/1H/2Q/2H/3Q/4Q shorthand for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th quarter and 1st and 2nd half bets
Futures Betting on the result of a future event or result (i.e. – the Michigan State Spartans will win the 2021 Tournament +400)
March Madness Brackets The NCAA basketball tournament bracket which many people wager on, in one form or another, come the postseason

College Basketball Betting FAQs