College Basketball offers some of the best sports betting options available, with over 30 conferences and 350 Division I NCAA basketball teams. There is no question that sports bettors can get overwhelmed with options when selecting which games to bet on, and spend a vast amount of time doing research for their picks.
Obviously, when it comes to picks, winging it with college basketball is the ultimate gamble. On any given day, there can be upwards of 30 NCAA basketball games being played - which can equate to hundreds of betting opportunities.
Betting on college basketball isn’t as popular as NFL betting, or even their professional counterpart, the NBA, but for US sports bettors, it can be a great avenue to big winnings if you are smart with your bets! We have compiled a list of tips and some college basketball 101 betting primers for you below:
How to Bet on NCAA Basketball
As mentioned above, with so many basketball betting options can be difficult to choose, so building a strategy will greatly help your regular-season college bets. Once March Madness rolls around and you have a much more narrow pool of 64 teams, you can make better betting decisions.
Research can take up a lot of your time, so finding a great sports betting site that has everything you need, odds, picks, predictions, and schedules in one place will save time and energy. Experts are a dime a dozen these days, so choose wisely who you choose to back. Be sure to look for an Expert’s betting record - this is usually a score out of 100 (try to find experts who have bet on at least 100 games) and this will tell you how many they’ve won vs lost and will give you an idea of their reliability.
When it comes to college basketball betting, many sports bettors will look to parlays to win big. A College Basketball parlay is a bet slip with two or more bets, and all legs of the bet slip must win for your bet to cash. This is definitely a play for more experienced bettors, as you really have to be sure about your bets to win big. Many rookie college basketball bettors will play for greed and 3-4 long shots on a $5 ticket to try to hit big, but this rarely pays off unless you know what you’re doing!
College Basketball Betting 101
There are plenty of different betting types available to sports bettors, but we are going to focus on a few of the main college basketball bets to get started:
NCAA Basketball Moneyline
When it comes to betting the moneyline, the bottom line is simple. Pick the winner. You simply have to look at a matchup and select which team you think will win. Easy enough!
When it comes to looking at the odds, or the vig, you need to look at the number next to the team name. It will likely look like this:
- Villanova -145
- Texas Tech +174
The vig shows us what the bet is worth to the college basketball oddsmakers. Villanova is favored to win, and Texas Tech is the underdog. If you select the underdog and win, you will win more money than if you selected the favorite. This is the way sportsbooks cover their bases and protect themselves.
NCAA Basketball Point Spread:
The college basketball point spread is a little trickier, but still a great option for more intermediate sports bettors.
If the same teams are playing as above, and the odds look like this:
- Villanova -10
- Texas Tech +10
Villanova is again the favorite and is projected to win the game by more than 10 points. In order for a Villanova point spread to cash, they need to beat Texas Tech by over 10 points. Texas Tech is the underdog, and for a bet on them to cash, they will need to lose by less than 10 points, or win the game entirely.
This leaves a little more room for error than it would for a moneyline let’s say. If you think it’s going to be a close game, you should take the underdog.
NCAA Basketball Totals
Betting the totals is a fun way to bet without having to necessarily know all of the statistics about each team. Totals, or Over/Under as it’s usually called is an easier betting option and a common one for those who are new to college basketball betting. The oddsmakers will select a final total - the total number of points scored by both teams combined, and you have to decide whether the actual total will be higher or lower than that number.
If a total for the Villanova v. Texas Tech matchup is 160, and the final score is 84-64 (148) then those who bet the under will have won. You don’t need to take a side for this bet, which makes it a great option when you really can’t decide who will be the victor of a matchup.
NCAA Basketball Betting Strategy
We have a few great tips to help your NCAA College Basketball betting strategy for 2020 to help you maximize your payout:
Big Conference? Bet Against the Public:
Many sports bettors do bet against the public already, it’s a profitable strategy to have - but you can also gain even more of an edge by betting on the big conferences like the ACC, Big East, SEC, Big 12, Big 10 and Pac-12. When a high ranking team is playing, and let’s say, a double-digit spread is a factor, and the action is around 70% on one side, the odds can adjust to even things out. This is especially true with college basketball totals, specifically, high totals. This is where those college basketball odds get juicy and bettors can really cash some big winnings.
Keep an eye on First Half Unders
The main lines (Moneyline, Point Spreads and Totals) aren’t the only betting options available for any given college basketball game. You can bet on many in-game plays, the halves, and even players. Many online sportsbooks have a wide selection of exciting props to wager on, and the experts are zeroing in on those when making their college basketball picks.
Ignoring the first half lines could be the big mistake you’re making in your college basketball picks. Many sports bettors have the full game total on their bet slip, and more often than not - they took the over. If you notice that the first half total is on the high side, take the under. The urgency to score isn’t so prominent in the first half of games, so teams tend to take their time setting up plays. This can be more exciting in the end, because when you bet the full game total or second half, you likely won’t be cheering for more points if you ended up selecting the under.
Home Court Favorites
One of the most classic college basketball betting strategies out there is the home court's favorite betting system. Essentially, college basketball bettors will take a home team underdog, over a road favorite. Why does this work? There are a few reasons, and we do admit, you won’t find this sneaky little bet in every college basketball game.
First, there’s the classic home court advantage aspect. College basketball fans are wild, and being in that atmosphere is enough to pump anyone up. Usually being on the home court brings out the home team’s urgency to win, and they play a whole different ball game (pun intended). Secondly, or on the flip side let’s say, these college basketball fans aren’t so welcoming to the away team, which can definitely get inside player’s heads and cause them to make mistakes or not play their best.
Online Sportsbooks for NCAA Basketball
Now that you have a solid understanding of college basketball betting, and some college basketball strategies, you are ready to find a sportsbook to place your bets!
There are plenty of online sportsbooks available to US bettors, and now that states are regulating sports betting on an independent level, you have more options than ever before. It can be confusing to choose, as there are so many with so many different offerings.
We tend to lean toward Bovada as our top pick for online sportsbooks. They have a longstanding reputation for being the best US betting site available with the best odds selection and the best bonuses. Signing up is a breeze, you simply enter some personal information, create an account and you’re ready to make a deposit!
The biggest issue with online sportsbooks is that they don’t have enough deposit options or won’t accept major credit cards - but you don’t find that issue with Bovada. They accept major credit cards like Visa and Mastercard, along with Bitcoin for those who are more into cryptocurrencies. Before you make your deposit though, you will want to look at their promotions page for their NCAA Basketball bonuses!
Bovada really takes care of its customers with a variety of different bonuses. They offer sign up bonuses, major events, like March Madness bonuses, holiday bonuses, etc. They also have a great loyalty program.
One could argue they have the best odds selection in the industry, with countless ingame plays, props, and specials. They have great entertainment odds and a casino as well if sports aren’t really your thing - but we’d assume you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t planning to bet on college basketball!
If you feel like Bovada isn’t for you, we do have other sportsbook reviews available, but if you haven’t tried Bovada, we highly suggest you give them a try this March during March Madness!
Check out our March Madness Betting page for more information on betting on the big dance!