Learn How to Bet on College Basketball

NCAAB Betting Guide: Tips, Terms, and Sportsbooks

Introduction to College Basketball, including How to Bet on College Basketball

The game of basketball has been around since the late 1800's, but it wasn't until 1939 that the NCAA implemented a tournament to declare a national champion among colleges across the country. Fast forward to today's game, and we have a four-month season of regular season games before the conference tournaments and the start of March Madness

Once it's time for the Big Dance, 68 teams compete for a spot in the Final Four and National Championship game to become the best team in the country. 

College basketball is similar to professional basketball, but there are different rules for both that make significant changes in how the game is played. How many fouls does each player get? How long is the shot clock? How many minutes are there in each half?

But what's even more important than knowing how the game works? How to bet on it. Use the information below to get a grasp of the game and how to effectively bet on college basketball.

Jump Ahead: NCAAB Betting 101 | Best Sportsbooks to Bet NCAAB | NCAAB Futures Odds | NCAAB Betting Tools | NCAAB Team Odds | FAQs

NCAAB Betting 101: The Basketball Betting Basics

There are three different answers you may want when trying to figure out how to bet on college basketball:

  • “I see Clemson -180 and Syracuse +160. What on earth does that mean?
  • “I know how to bet and what all those numbers mean, but I don’t know where to bet.”
  • “I know how to bet, but I want to sharpen my handicapping skills and become a more profitable college basketball bettor.”

Let’s start with the basics.

How Do Moneyline Odds Work?

A popular bet in college basketball is the moneyline, which requires you to pick the winner of the game. But it’s not a 50-50 proposition in most cases – you won’t get paid the same for taking Alabama to beat Vanderbilt at home as you would for taking the Alabama to beat Georgia on the road, given the ability of each team.

So each team is assigned moneyline odds by the sportsbook based on their ability, and bettors have to pay a corresponding price. Here’s how they work:

  • Michigan -300
  • Michigan State +250

American odds like these are centered around $100. So if you bet $300 on Michigan at -300, you’d win $100 if they wins. If you bet $100 on Michigan state at +250 and they win, you’d win $250.

You don’t have to bet $100, of course. If you bet $3 on Michigan, you’d win $1. Bet $1 on Michigan State, win $2.50.

Are There Point Spreads in College Basketball?

In football and basketball (both in the pros and college), the most popular betting option is the point spread – it’s a bet on the margin of victory in that game.

Let’s use that same example from above.

  • Villanova -10.5 (-110)
  • Xavier +10.5 (-110)

Because Villanova is so much better than Xavier, sportsbooks are saying it’s about a 50-50 chance that they win by 11 points or more.

What About Over/Unders?

Another popular betting option in college basketball is wagering on the total (aka the over/under).

You’re betting on the total points scored by both teams going over or under the number set by sportsbooks.

The Kansas-UNC National Championship total on April 4, 2022 was 151. Kansas won 72-69. That means anyone who took the under cashed their bet because only 141 points were scored.

But depending on the teams and situation, you may have to risk a different amount on the over or under.

Kansas vs. UNC

  • Total: 151
  • Over odds: -115
  • Under odds: -105

Like the moneyline example above, you have to pay more for betting the over than the under. Sportsbooks and bettors have determined the game going over 151 is more likely than it going under. 

For every $1.15 risked, you’d win $1. For every $1.05 risked on the under, you’d win $1.

Duke vs. Texas

  • Total: 151
  • Over odds: -105
  • Under odds: -115

Sportsbooks believe it’s more likely the game goes under than over, so you have to pay a bit more to take the under.

Totals are not just limited to the full game. You can bet the first quarter over/under, alternate totals, and more. 

For additional explanation, you can explore the articles below.

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How to Bet on College Basketball
From advanced stats to strategies and resources, The Action Network has everything you'll need to learn how to bet on college basketball.
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A moneyline just means who you think is going to win. Check out this article explaining how to read those odds and more.
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Over/Under aka Total
An Over/Under means betting on the total number of points scored in a game. See how those odds work here.
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A spread means how many points a team is expected to win or lose by, and it's up to you to decide which team will cover that number...
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NCAAB Betting Tools & Utility

Betting Calculators

Figuring out the correct wager you want to place on a straight bet can be tough based on the odds, and gets even harder when you want to create one of your favorite 10-leg parlays. The Action Network's got you covered with out betting calculator that will do the math for you!

ATS NCAAB Against The Spread

Books set point spreads on games that help you understand how many points the favorite is expected to win by over the underdog. So it's up to you to decide if they'll cover that spread, or if the projected losing side can make it a close game -- or even win the whole thing.

NCAAB Public Betting

It's always a good idea to check out what the public consensus is on a particular game you're thinking of betting on. The Action Network has you covered here as well. Side with the public or fade them to get an edge. Win or lose, make your choice.


Sometimes, having experts share their insights on a game can help you take a side in a game you're undecided on. The Action Network has a panel of experts that share their takes and picks on every game being played on the hardwood each day. Take a look at their records and history, and see who you'd like to follow or fade as the season moves forward.


You want to get the best bang for your buck when betting on a game, but it's tough to tap through each sportsbook on your phone to find the best line. The Action Network's Odds page will show you all the lines available for the biggest sportsbooks out there, as well as the two best options on each side of a game. 

NCAAB Injuries

Injuries are a part of any sport, and besides for the implications they have on the court, they can also effect betting lines and how you should wager on a game. Keeping track of injuries every day can be tough, so check out The Action Network's Injury Report each day to make sure you don't suffer a bad beat that could've been avoided. 

Best Sportsbooks for College Basketball Betting

Different sportsbooks provide different odds when it comes to games lines, player props, futures and more. Take a look at our options and picks on where to go for your different college basketball bets to find those best odds, so you can make the most profit.

Best NCAAB Book #1: Caesars
Looking for the book that'll provide the best odds for NCAAB wagers? Check out Caesars.
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Best NCAAB Book #2: BetMGM
BetMGM has a sleek mobile app and comprehensive college basketball coverage.
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Best NCAAB Book #3: FanDuel
FanDuel Sportsbook has a sleek mobile app and innovative betting options for college basketball fans.
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NCAAB Futures Betting Odds

Futures betting lets you select champions, awards and more across different parts of college basketball ahead of time, meaning you'll get huge odds and the potential to win big at a smaller risk margin. Futures can be bet on at nearly any point in a season, but you'll find the best odds during the preseason -- which also makes predicting things like who will win the National Championship or be named National Player of the Year even more fun when you make the call before the season's even started.

NCAAB National Championship Odds
Making it to the Final Four and winning the Tournament is every college basketball team's goal at the end of the season. But who will be the ones to do it?
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NCAAB Team Odds

College basketball takes over the sports landscape after the Super Bowl, with eyes turning to the sport ahead of March Madness through the end of the Big Dance. As the rounds go from week-to-week and we end up at the Final Four, the bets keep coming. But the Big Dance isn't the only time you can bet on college basketball -- the schedule starts in the beginning of November, so you can watch your favorite team grow and progress through the season until it's conference tournament time. 

Find your favorite team's odds below:

AAC logo AAC Betting

AAC Teams

Cincinnati logo

Cincinnati Bearcats

ECU logo 

East Carolina Pirates

houston cougars 

Houston Cougars

Memphis logo 

Memphis Tigers

SMU logo 

Southern Methodist Mustangs

South Florida logo

South Florida Bulls

Temple logo 

Temple Owls

Tulane logo

Tulane Green Wave

Tulsa logo 

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

UCF Logo 

UCF Knights

Wichita State logo

Wichita State Shockers

ACC logo ACC Betting

ACC Teams

Boston College logo

Boston College Eagles

Clemson logo

Clemson Tigers

Duke logo 

Duke Blue Devils

FSU logo

Florida State Seminoles

Georgia Tech logo

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Louisville logo

Louisville Cardinals

Miami logo

Miami Hurricanes

NC State logo

NC State Wolfpack

UNC logo

North Carolina Tar Heels

Notre Dame logo

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Pitt logo

Pittsburgh Panthers

Syracuse logo

Syracuse Orange

Virginia logo 

Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia Tech logo

Virginia Tech Hokies

Wake Forest logo

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Big East logo Big East Betting

Big East Teams

Butler logo

Butler Bulldogs

UConn logo

Connecticut Huskies

Creighton logo

Creighton Bluejays

DePaul logo

DePaul Blue Demons

Georgetown logo

Georgetown Hoyas

Marquette logo

Marquette Golden Eagles

Providence logo

Providence Friars

Seton Hall logo

Seton Hall Pirates

St. John's logo

St. John's Red Storm

Villanova logo

Villanova Wildcats

Xavier logo

Xavier Musketeers

Big Ten logo Big Ten Betting

Big Ten Teams

Illinois logo

Illinois Fighting Illini

Indiana logo

Indiana Hoosiers

Iowa logo

Iowa Hawkeyes

Maryland logo 

Maryland Terrapins

Michigan logo 

Michigan Wolverines

Michigan State logo 

Michigan State Spartans

Minnesota logo 

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Nebraska logo 

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Northwestern logo

Northwestern Wildcats

Ohio State logo

Ohio State Buckeyes

Penn State logo

Penn State Nittany Lions

Purdue logo

Purdue Boilermakers

Rutgers logo

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Wisconsin logo

Wisconsin Badgers


Big-12 logo Big-12 Betting

Big-12 Teams

Baylor logo

Baylor Bears

Iowa State logo

Iowa State Cyclones

Kansas logo

Kansas Jayhawks

K State logo

Kansas State Wildcats

Oklahoma logo

Oklahoma Sooners

OK State logo

Oklahoma State Cowboys

TCU logo

TCU Horned Frogs

Texas logo

Texas Longhorns

Texas Tech logo

Texas Tech Red Raiders

West Virginia logo

West Virginia Mountaineers

PAC-12 PAC-12 Betting

PAC-12 Teams

Arizona logo

Arizona Wildcards

Arizona State logo 

Arizona State Sun Devils

Cal logo

California Golden Bears

Colorado logo 

Colorado Buffaloes

Oregon logo

Oregon Ducks

Oregon State logo

Oregon State Beavers

Stanford University logo 

Stanford Cardinal

UCLA logo 

UCLA Bruins

USC logo 

USC Trojans

Utah logo

Utah Utes

Washington logo 

Washington Huskies

Washington State logo

Washington State University

SEC logo SEC Betting

SEC Teams

Alabama logo

Alabama Crimson Tide

Arkansas logo

Arkansas Razorbacks

Auburn logo

Auburn Tigers

Florida logo

Florida Gators

Georgia logo

Georgia Bulldogs

Kentucky logo

Kentucky Wildcats

LSU logo

LSU Tigers

Mississippi State logo

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Missouri logo

Missouri Tigers

Ole Miss logo

Ole Miss Rebels

S. Carolina logo

South Carolina Gamecocks

Tennessee logo

Tennessee Volunteers

Texas A&M logo

Texas A&M Aggies

Vanderbilt logo

Vanderbilt Commodores


WCC logo WCC Betting

WCC Teams

BYU logo

BYU Cougars

Gonzaga logo

Gonzaga Bulldogs

Loyola Mary logo

Loyola Marymount Lions

Pacific logo

Pacific Tigers

Pepperdine logo

Pepperdine Waves

Portland logo

Portland Pilots

Saint Mary's logo

Saint Mary's Gaels

San Diego logo

San Diego Toreros

San Francisco logo

San Francisco Dons

Santa Clara logo

Santa Clara Broncos

Steve Petrella is a senior editor for The Action Network covering college football, among other things. He's a Penn State grad now based in Atlanta who enjoys great punting, clock-killing drives and turnovers in the red zone.

Basketball Betting FAQ
Is it legal to bet on College Basketball?
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What can you bet on in college basketball?
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How do NCAAB odds work?
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How many teams are in college basketball?
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How many conferences are there in college basketball?
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Can I bet on NCAAB games after they've already started?
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How does overtime work with my bet?
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