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College Basketball Odds

Live college basketball odds are always available at OddsTrader. You can keep up with your favorite teams, or consider using our stats-driven NCAAB computer picks to help you make smarter wagers. New bettors can read on to learn how to read NCAAB odds and the types of bets they can place.

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NCAAB - March MadnessMon 04/08

College Basketball Odds

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 when betting on this popular sport.

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.

How To Read NCAAB Odds

NCAAB odds are usually expressed in three different ways:

  • American Odds
  • Decimal (European) Odds
  • Fractional (British) Odds

How To Read American NCAAB Odds

American odds are the most common format used by top U.S. 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:

  • Positive (+) odds show theamount of profit for a $100 bet
  • Negative (-) odds show the amount needed to bet to win $100

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:

  • Payout = (Odds / 100) * Wager

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:

  • Payout = (100 / |Odds|) * Wager

How To Read Decimal NCAAB Odds

The most common format used by European sportsbooks is 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:

  • Profit = (Odds – 1) * Stake
  • Return = Profit / Stake

So…what’s the difference between return and profit?

  • Return is how much profit you made plus your original wager amount
  • Profit is how much money you won by placing your wager

How To Read Fractional Odds for NCAAB

Used primarily in the United Kingdom and Ireland, fractions represent the profit you would earn for a successful bet.

The following formula is how to calculate the profit for the fractional odds of 7/1:

  • Profit = (Numerator / Denominator) * Stake

What are the different types of NCAAB bets?

The leading online sportsbooks offer 200+ betting options on a single college basketball game. Commonly placed NCAAB bets include:

Moneyline Betting

For the easiest way to bet on a college basketball game, look no further than college basketball moneyline bets. 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:

  • North Carolina Tar Heels +165 at BetMGM
  • Kansas Jayhawks -200 at FanDuel

In this hypothetical game, the Kansas Jayhawks are the betting favorites. A $100 bet on the Kansas Jayhawks 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.

Point Spread Betting

With college basketball point spreads 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.

  • North Carolina Tar Heels +4.5 (-115) at BetMGM
  • Kansas Jayhawks -4.5 (-105) at FanDuel

In this example, the sportsbooks have priced the Kansas Jayhawks as the favorite to win. You have two options:

  • Bet on the North Carolina Tar Heels at +4½, meaning they would need to win the game or lose by no more than 4 points for the bet to cash.
  • Bet on the Kansas Jayhawks at -4½, meaning they would need to win the game by 5 or more points for the ticket to cash.

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 bet on either team to win (moneyline.) That is known as a pick’em and it is rare.

Point Totals (Over & Under Wagers)

College basketball totals are 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:

  • Over 151 points (-110) at BetMGM
  • Under 151 points (-110) at FanDuel

If you expect North Carolina and Kansas to have a combined score of at least 151 points, you can bet on the over. You should bet on the under if you believe the game will see 150 points or fewer. 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 betting line down or up, which updates the odds. You will also find alternate points lines for both college basketball teams.

How To Bet on Props

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:

  • Game Props/Team Props
  • Player Props

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:

  • Made free throws
  • Steals + Blocks
  • Points + Rebounds + Assists
  • First Basket (player who scores the first field goal)
  • Method of First Basket
  • Turnovers
  • Double Double
  • Triple Double

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:

  • Team to Score the First Basket
  • Exact Score
  • Team with the least turnovers
  • Team with the most blocks
  • Team with the most steals
  • Team with the most three-point field goals
  • Team with the most made free throws
  • Exact Margin of Victory

How To Bet on Futures Odds

Sportsbooks release NCAAB futures odds on a wide range of markets before the regular season begins, including odds for March Madness. The odds for these college basketball bets update often and will be available to bet on throughout the season. Examples of college basketball futures bets include:

  • Odds to win the NCAAB Championship
  • Odds to win each Conference
    • Odds to win the ACC Tournament
    • Odds to win the Big 10 Tournament
    • Odds to win the Big 12 Tournament
    • Odds to win the Big East Tournament
    • Odds to win the Pac-12 Tournament
    • Odds to win the SEC Tournament
    • Odds to win the Mountain West Tournament
    • Odds to win the WCC Tournament
    • Odds to win the A-10 Tournament
    • Odds to win the C-USA Tournament
    • Odds to win the MAC Tournament
    • Odds to win the American East Tournament
    • Odds to win the ASUN Tournament
    • Odds to win the Big Sky Tournament
    • Odds to win the Big South Tournament
    • Odds to win the Horizon Tournament
    • Odds to win the SoCon Tournament
    • Odds to win the Sun Belt Tournament
    • Odds to win the WAC Tournament

The odds on these markets change over the length of the college basketball season, depending on how poorly or well the NCAAB teams are playing.

How To Bet on the First Half or Second Half

You can also bet on the first or second half of a college basketball game, including the big games during March Madness and the National Championship. 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:

  • North Carolina Tar Heels (+2½) at BetMGM
  • Kansas Jayhawks (-2½) at FanDuel

In this example, the Kansas Jayhawks are the favorite team to win a basketball tournament. 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.

What other types of NCAAB bets exist?

Beyond traditional moneyline wagers and points spread bets, college basketball fans can bet on their favorite NCAAB teams in a wide range of other ways, including the following popular types of bets:

Live Betting

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 college basketball betting odds to start the game are:

  • Michigan (+3 -110)
  • Duke (-3 -110)

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.

Parlay Betting

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:

  • Duke Blue Devils (-3.5 -110)
  • Michigan Wolverines and Duke Blue Devils (Under 150 Total Points)

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:


With this guide, you’ve gained a solid foundation in understanding and betting on college basketball. We’ve covered the basics of reading odds, the various types of bets you can place and even advanced strategies to enhance your betting experience.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to refine your betting tactics, the information provided here will help you make informed decisions, increase your chances of winning and possibly grow your bankroll.

Remember, successful betting involves research, understanding the odds and responsible wagering. So use this guide as your go-to resource for NCAAB betting and always bet with confidence.

College Basketball Odds: Frequently Asked Questions

How do basketball odds work?

Basketball odds indicate the probability of an outcome and the potential payout. Negative odds (-) show the amount needed to bet to win $100, while positive odds (+) indicate the potential win from a $100 bet. Understanding odds helps in evaluating potential returns and making informed betting decisions.

Where can I bet on the NCAA Tournament?

You can bet on the NCAA Tournament at various legal sports betting sites and apps in states with legal sports wagering, such as FanDuel, Caesars Sportsbook, bet365 and others. These college basketball betting sites offer welcome promos and competitive odds for NCAA basketball betting.

What type of bet is best for basketball?

The best type of bet for basketball largely depends on individual preferences and knowledge of the game. Popular options include point spread, moneyline and totals (over/under) bets. Additionally, prop bets on specific player or team performances are also favored by many basketball bettors.

Are moneyline bets worth it?

Yes, moneyline bets can be worth it, especially in situations where there is a clear favorite or underdog. They offer a straightforward way to bet on the outright winner of a game, providing simplicity and potentially attractive odds for informed sports bettors.

What are college prop bets?

College prop bets are specific wagers on individual player or team performances during NCAA basketball games. These bets can involve various aspects such as points scored by a player, rebounds, assists or even team statistics like total three-pointers made. Prop bets add excitement and variety to college basketball betting.

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