Betting on NCAA Basketball Guide


The NCAA is the top organization for college basketball in the United States. It runs from November to April and has a full schedule with each team playing around 30 games a season. While there are plenty of major games throughout the season, the main focus in the NCAA is the March Madness Tournament held at the end of each season. This massive tournament features the top 64 teams each year to compete for the honor of being crowned NCAA Champions.

There are no shortages of betting lines for NCAA basketball mainly due to the league’s popularity among bettors. March Madness alone is the only behind the Super Bowl as the most bet on sporting competition in the country. During the season, sportsbooks will feature betting lines for every game in the NCAA, whether they feature top teams or not. In this guide, we will examine which bets are constantly featured and which NCAA factors affect betting.


The Main NCAA Betting Types

Betting lines for NCAA Basketball games will be a common staple on US sportsbooks. The number of the lines and betting types will vary for each game, but for the biggest competitions there will generally be around 100 or more. While this may seem like a high number, there are only a handful of main betting types that must be known.

Moneyline Betting on the NCAA

For any competition in the NCAA, whether regular season or tournament games, there will be a moneyline bet available. This is the most common type of wager taking the center spot on the main betting line. It’s also the simplest bet that can be made. The moneyline is a bet on which of the two teams will win the game. To successfully win this bet, the winning team can be bet on either pregame or on live odds.

In the NCAA, the moneyline bet has three different possible outcomes. The first two, are either one of the opposing teams winning the game. The third, however, is a tie. That is, neither team is leading the game at the end of the fourth quarter. Since overtime is a common enough occurrence, its best to find betting lines that offer a moneyline bet with overtime included. This way there are only two possible outcomes and the bet has a higher chance of cashing.

NCAA Totals Betting

The totals, or over/under bet, is another main way to wager on the NCAA. This bet also appears on the main betting line and can be as popular an option as the moneyline for basketball games. The most common way to make an over/under bet is on the total number of points scored in the game. This includes the points scored by both teams combined.

For each NCAA game, the sportsbook will list a number for the totals. The way to win the bet works like this. The player must correctly bet on whether the total number of points scored by both teams will be higher (over) or lower (under) than the sportsbook’s number. There is such a large variety of teams in the NCAA that the number given for each game will be different. The most important thing here is to study each team’s current form and past matchups between the two teams.

Spread Betting on the Main Line

Along with the first two bet types, the spread is an absolute must know for betting on NCAA basketball. Since the teams in the NCAA can be severely mismatched in terms of strength, the spread is especially necessary. Like with the totals bet, the sportsbook here will also list a number that signifies the spread for each game. The spread is the number of points that represents the strength advantage that one team has in the game over the other.

This essentially makes both of the teams equal for the purpose of betting. A wager on the favored team means that it will need to win the game by more points than the spread. For the underdog, there are a couple of ways a spread bet can win. The first is for the team to win the game outright. However, the underdog can also lose the game by less than the spread and the bet will still win.

NCAA Prop Bets and First Basket

The prop betting category has the most variety and ways to wager than any other. This is because there is really no limit to the number of props that can appear on a sportsbook’s line. A prop bet is defined as any wager that does not directly affect the final outcome of a game. These bets may have a lot of different options, but the majority are quite straightforward in how to win them.

Some popular ways to wager on prop bets for NCAA basketball include the possibility of overtime, whether the final score will be odd or even and teams to win by a certain number of points. For the NCAA especially, a prop bet on which player will score the first basket is incredibly popular. Correctly betting on which player will score the game’s first basket is favored for its high odds and its chances of winning.

Futures Betting

The futures bet is mostly distinct as this is not a wager on a single game. Instead, this is a long-term bet that will be live until the end of a season, tournament or competition. Bets made here are most commonly placed on a team to win the championship. In the NCAA, you will have futures on which teams will win their Conference Tournaments as well as which team will win the March Madness Tournament.

Futures bets can also be made on individual end of the season award recipients. These include which player will win the Naismith Award and John R. Wooden Award for example. Players can make multiple futures wagers on the same market, like picking three different teams to win March Madness. A futures bet can be placed at any time throughout the year, but the odds will consistently change due to new events unfolding.


Defining Characteristics of NCAA Basketball

The NCAA Basketball season continues to be popular due to the number of rivalries, end of season tournaments and breakout stars each year. Teams in the NCAA change quickly from year to year, and there are always a large number of teams competing for the championship. The massive schedule and end of the year tournaments combine to give lots of different options for sports betting.

Main Competitors and Team Changes

Unlike other leagues, it’s fairly common in NCAA Basketball for a team’s star player to only play one year. There is a rule that athletes must play at least one year of college basketball before declaring themselves for the NBA Draft. Thus, teams are used to the possibility of its breakout star leaving after only one season, instead of four. This doesn’t change the strength of a team as drastically as we might expect, mainly due to the top-notch recruitment programs the big schools have.

However, it does leave room for change in the rankings among the biggest schools. If one star leaves, they will more than likely be able to recruit another standout player for the next season. However, it does leave doubt for the following year, especially if that team went far in a tournament. With a key piece of some team’s starting lineups missing, it shuffles the deck on which big teams will be at the top the following year.

End of Season Tournaments

The NCAA College Basketball postseason is among the most exciting for American sports betting. The season’s end brings about multiple conference tournaments as well as the famed March Madness Tournament. During the time of the latter, sportsbooks will go wild with odds, promotions, lines and other contests in order to prepare. March Madness features the 64 top NCAA teams competing in a single-game elimination tournament to determine the NCAA Champion.

March Madness alone is the second most bet on event in the country, second only to the Super Bowl. Bettors will do more preparation than usual for this tournament by filling out brackets and researching each team and potential matchup. Futures bets are a popular betting line to take here as well as moneyline bets. Upsets happen each year at March Madness, so taking the spread on big teams can be a risky option.

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