Interpreting odds for the first time can be an intimidating process. But like everything else, practice makes perfect. We’ll teach you how to understand college basketball’s betting language, NCAAB betting odds, how to bet on NCAAB games, increase your chances of winning wager, and ultimately grow your bankroll.
By the end of this guide, if you’re not ready to make the right picks but want to wager, our NCAAB computer picks page can help. But before you place your first NCAAB bet, let’s go over what the experts already know.
NCAAB odds are usually expressed in three different ways:
American odds are the most common format used by top US sportsbooks. Odds start with either a minus (-) or a plus (+) and are always a whole number (+235, +120, +150, -225, -845 etc.)
The odds tell you how much you need to wager to earn $100, which team is the favorite and which team is the underdog.
The positive odds are easy to calculate. The odds represent how much you’ll win if you bet $100. In this example, we win $255. To calculate the payout for odds of +255, simply use the following formula:
For negative numbers, the value of the odds tells you how much you need to bet to win $100. In this scenario, we need to risk –$185 to win $100. To calculate the payout for odds of -185, just apply the following formula:
The most common format used by European sportsbooks are decimal odds. Decimal odds are always positive and decimal numbers.
Below is the formula for calculating the profit and return for decimal odds of 1.98:
So…what’s the difference between return and profit?
Used primarily in the United Kingdom and Ireland, fractions represent the profit you would earn for a successful bet. The following is how to calculate the profit for the fractional odds of 7/1:
The leading online sportsbooks offer 200+ betting options on a single college basketball game. Commonly placed NCAAB bets include:
For the easiest way to bet on a college basketball game, look no further than the moneyline bet (odds vary.) Simply put, it’s a prediction on which team wins the college basketball game.The sportsbooks assess the two teams, determine an underdog and a favorite, and then release the moneyline odds. For example:
In this example, the Kansas Jayhawks are the favorite. A $100 bet on the Kansas Jayhawkss would earn you a $50 profit if they won the game. On the other hand, a $100 bet on the North Carolina Tar Heels would earn you a $165 profit.
The oddsmakers at betting sites will assess the weaknesses and strengths of the teams, focusing on offensive and defensive stats, recent results, head-to-head matchups, injuries and so on. They determine which team is stronger, and they assign a points handicap to that team.
This results in a point spread and it allows the sportsbooks to “level out the playing field” for both teams.
In this example, the sportsbooks have priced the Kansas Jayhawks as the favorite to win. You have two options:
There is always a favorite and an underdog in an NCAAB game. If both teams are deemed to be evenly matched, there will not be a point spread, and you can simply bet on either team to win (moneyline.) That is known as a pick’em, and it is rare.
This is another popular NCAAB bet. All you have to do is estimate how many total points will be scored in a specific college basketball game. The sportsbooks will release a total points line on each game. For example:
If you expect North Carolina and Kansas to combine for at least 151 points, you can bet on the over. If you believe the game will see 150 points or fewer, you should bet on the under. If the game lands exactly on 151, there would be a push and both sides of the bet would be no actioned, meaning bettors get their money back.
There will be a standard total points line, but you will also find alternate total points lines. They allow you to move the line down or up, which updates the odds. You will also find alternate points lines for both college basketball teams.
NCAAB prop bets provide you with hundreds of additional betting opportunities on any given college basketball game. Prop bets focus on a proposition – whether something will happen during a game – and they are often unrelated to the final result. Prop bets in college basketball often fall into two distinct buckets:
Player props focus on individual performance stats. You can bet on the total number of points, three-point field goals, assists, blocks, steals, rebounds, etc. You can also bet on the following stats:
Game props might include betting on the highest scoring half or whether the game goes into overtime. You can also bet on the following game props:
Sportsbooks release NCAAB futures odds on a range of markets before the season begins. These odds update often and will be available to bet on throughout the season. Examples of NCAAB futures bets include:
The odds on these markets change over the length of the NCAAB season, depending upon how poorly or well the teams are playing.
You can also bet on the first or second half of a college basketball game. Sportsbooks release the exact same key betting options – spreads, money lines, totals, and props – and both halves of a college basketball game. See the following for an example of a second half bet:
In this example, Kansas are the favorite. A $110 bet on Kansas would earn you a $100.00 profit if they covered the first half spread, whereas a $110 bet on North Carolina would also earn you a $110 profit.
NCAAB betting sites allow you to keep betting on games after they have started. This type of betting is also known as “live betting” because moneylines, total points lines, props, and alternate lines will dynamically update as the college basketball game progresses.
You can continue betting until the game ends, but make sure to do your research. You want to avoid betting with your pride at all costs. If not, there’s a slight chance you’ll win but odds are, you’ll eventually deplete your bankroll.
Let’s say the Michigan Wolverines are playing the Duke Blue Devils and the odds to start the game are:
In the first half with 10 minutes remaining, the point spread odds have adjusted to reflect the performance of Duke to start the game against Michigan. The in-play odds have adjusted to favor Duke by –7, while the pregame odds were –3.
A parlay bet lets you combine predictions on multiple games into a single bet. Because it’s harder for you to win a parlay, the odds of you winning are much greater. For example, let’s say you like these three wagers:
If you combined them into a two-team $100 parlay, you would earn a profit of $264.46. The winnings from each leg roll over onto the next leg, meaning the profit compounds inside the parlay, leading to large payouts. However, if one leg fails, the parlay fails and you lose the wager. Alternative options include:
You can bet on college basketball games legally in many different states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, Nevada, and Illinois.
You can bet on college basketball games by downloading a sports betting app or by visiting an online sportsbook website. You can browse a range of betting options, including moneylines, run lines, either for the full game, totals, a specific half, etc.
The highest rated NCAAB betting sites include Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM. If you are looking for a broad variety of bets and useful features, Draftkings is a great option. BetMGM is the best for odds boosts and bonuses.
For most people it takes years and years of sports betting to perfect the science of wagering on NCAAB. Before placing a bet, make sure to do your research, here are some things to look for:
There are many things you should consider before placing a bet on an NCAAB game like:
Simply put, never place a bet unless you know who’s playing in the game. This might seem obvious but who’s active for the game has a massive impact on the odds. When the game day status of key players is unknown, most sportsbooks will not release the odds to the public.
The public consensus refers to which team the majority of the public is placing bets on. It’s not uncommon for popular teams to receive 90% or more of the wagers. This creates opportunities for handicappers who know how to take advantage of these scenarios.
Simply, it means that an NCAAB team is a 33.5-point underdog in the spread betting market. If you bet on that team to cover the spread, they must win the game or lose by up to 33 points for the bet to pay off.
You can bet on college basketball online in the following states: New York, Colorado, Rhode Island, Wyoming, Louisiana, Tennessee, Virginia, Oregon, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, and New Hampshire. Sportsbooks offers websites and mobile apps for NCAAB and general college basketball fans and bettors.
Yes, you can bet on non-college basketball sports online in the states listed above! The most popular sports to bet on are NCAAF, NBA, NFL and MLB. You can also bet on the following sports (and more):