There's just something pure about college basketball that separates it from the NBA. Perhaps it's the youth of the players. Or the frenzied crowds of students and alumni. Perhaps, it's the inter-school rivalries. Whatever it is, NCAA hoops are extremely worthwhile for both watching and gambling. It's the NCAA basketball betting that we'll be focusing on throughout this article.
We're covering all the important topics about college basketball betting — the best NCAA basketball betting sites, NCAA gambling rules, and of course, and wagering advice! By the end of this guide, you'll be well on your way to winning at NCAAB betting.
Best College Basketball Betting Sites
There are more than 350 schools with a Division I basketball program across the entire country. To the benefit of bettors, a byproduct of that is thousands upon thousands of wagering opportunities during the season. It's why so many online sportsbooks have tried to capitalize, all trying to become the best college basketball betting sites.
We'll be the judge of that, however. After trying out hundreds of online bookmakers, we know which really are the most elite for NCAA bets. Here are our top three recommendations:
NCAAB at Bovada
Selection, selection, selection — it's perhaps the biggest deciding factor when picking a sportsbook. It's also where Bovada excels at, especially when it comes to offering NCAA basketball best bets.
At this site, you'll find the full gamut of NCAA betting — spreads, moneylines, over/unders, props, futures, and then some (more on these bet types later on in the guide). And that applies to just about every D1 hoops game. You'll be hard-pressed to find a D1 matchup that's not up for gambling on Bovada.
One more thing to note about Bovada: they're incredibly quick to get NCAA odds up on-site. As soon as one game ends, you'll find a betting line for the two involved teams probably the next day. That combo of speed and selection makes Bovada one of the top spots to find an NCAA bet.
BetOnline's lines for BetOnline
Like Bovada, BetOnline is no slouch when it comes to having the NCAA best bets. Every college program — from the prestigious blue bloods such as Duke to the unknowns like Pacific University — has a home at BetOnline.
However, where BetOnline really sets itself apart from other bookmakers is its sign-up bonus. While almost every sportsbook offers a welcome deal for newcomers, few promos are as lucrative as BetOnline's. When maxed out, the bonus could be worth as much as $1000 in free play.
But wait, there's more. Around early March, right before NCAA Tournament betting begins, BetOnline — as well as many competitors — are known to offer a "special" March Madness welcome bonus that eclipses its regular deal. So if there's ever a time to sign up to a betting site and reap the rewards, it's right before the championship tourney tips off.
Betting on NCAAB at BetDSI
If you haven't gotten the memo by now, there's an abundance of college basketball bets during the season. Therefore, a sportsbook with a loyalty program would suit bettors that are in it for the long haul. BetDSI fits that bill.
Every time you wager at BetDSI — whether that's on college hoops or an entirely different sport — you rack up "BetPoints." The number of points you accumulate over a 12-month period will slot you in one of three rewards levels (Gold, Platinum, or Diamond) at BetDSI. Unique perks exist at each tier for players to unlock.
But better yet, BetPoints can also be traded in for cashback. What you do with that cash, whether withdraw as winnings or re-use in the sportsbook, is entirely up to the bettor. Either way, at BetDSI, you'll literally get paid to do college basketball gambling.
Visit our dedicated page, if you're looking for actual NCAA basketball odds. In the table below, you'll find the top bookies that also offer up-to-the-minute betting lines for upcoming NCAA games. Moreover, we've even included past scores so you can see if a team is trending up or down.
How To Bet On College Basketball
At first glance, NCAA betting rules may seem complicated. But once you actually get into it, you'll realize that's the furthest thing from the truth. Don't believe us? Welp, we're about to show you how to bet on college basketball:
College basketball bets don't get much simpler than moneyline — just pick which team will win straight up. Essentially, it's a 50-50 shot.
However, the payout is rarely 50-50. Typically, bookies set one team as the betting favorite and the other as an underdog. The distinction can be spotted by the value of the line. Positive odds and that's you're underdog, whereas the favorite has negative lines attached.
Say North Carolina and Kentucky were squaring off. If the Tar Heels were -150 to win, they're favored, and a $150 wager on them pays out $100 exactly. On the flip side, the Jayhawks might be +130 underdogs. If you were to bet $100 on them, you'll earn back a $130 profit if they prevail.
College Basketball Game Spread
This college basketball bet adds a point-spread "handicap" to both the underdog and the favorite. This spread will always be the same exact number and is meant to balance out the game.
Let's use the Tar Heels and Wildcats as an example once again. On the spread, North Carolina could be -3.5, whereas Kentucky is +3.5. Therefore, UNC covers only if it wins by four or more points. Whereas Kentucky has a little more cushion. They cover with an outright victory or a loss by three points or less.
Over/Under in the NCAAB
One of NCAAB best bets is without question the over/under. Nevermind who wins and by how many points. This wager is concerned solely with the number of points both teams combine for. Bookies pre-set a total and bettors simply choose "over" or "under" that scoring sum.
College Basketball Props
This wager is focused on specific outcomes within a game. Think of props as "side bets" outside of who will win, by how many points, and so on.
Props will vary from sportsbook to sportsbook. But some of the best college basketball bets of the day will be found in the prop section. Examples include which team will score the first bucket of the game or which player will knock down the most three-pointers, among many others.
NCAA Basketball Futures
Futures are favorites of the Vegas betting NCAA basketball scene. These are long-term plays and typically revolve around which team will win (insert any championship up for grabs here) or individual award recipients.
College Basketball Betting Events
Between November and March, there are NCAA basketball bets to be had nonstop. That's when the collegiate season runs and given how many teams there are around the country, it's a jam-packed slate. Still, there are a few events, in particular, you should circle on your calendar well ahead of time:
- Start-of-the-season tournaments: Usually held in exotic locations (e.g. the Virgin Islands or Maui), these tournaments start off the hoop season with a bang. These tourneys mix and match all conferences so it's a great appetizer for what's to come in March.
- Conference tournaments: At the conclusion of the regular season in March, every conference (all 32 of them) hosts a tournament to crown its respective champion. This makes for a mini-March Madness and a lot of NCAA bracket betting.
- NCAA March Madness: Does this even require an explanation? It's a 68-team single-elimination tournament for the national title and it's pure chaos — in all the most fun ways. With the whole country watching, the best college basketball bets seem to happen during the NCAA Tournament.
College Basketball Betting Tips
Before we let you go, we had to share some NCAA college basketball betting tips. This should be the backbone of your college basketball betting system:
Pick And Choose Your Battles
Look, betting college basketball is hard enough as it is. But it's even harder when you have money on anything and everything offered at the sportsbook.
It's not remotely possible to keep up with everything in college basketball. There's too many teams. Too many coach and player habits to pick up on. Too much injury reports to stay on top of. We could go on and on.
Instead, if you want to win at online college basketball betting, you'll need to find a niche. This could be a certain conference (e.g. the Pac-12 or SEC) or a region of the country. Once you've picked a niche, become a master on it.
Essentially, you're looking to develop specialized knowledge about this niche and the subset of teams in it. If you're only tracking 10 or so programs regularly, you'll be more in tune with these teams than the everyday bettor. Being so plugged in will allow you to spot mismatches to exploit whilst making NCAA basketball betting predictions.
Find Streaky Hot Team Going Into The NCAA Tournament
Ah yes, everyone and their mother want to know how to win NCAA Tournament bets. Of course, the unpredictable nature of March Madness complicates matters.
However, there is one tell-tale sign you should look out for before making NCAA bracket bets — recent performance. Whether a team is scorching hot or ice-cold entering March Madness tells you a lot about how it'll perform under the bright NCAA Tournament lights.
We get it, it's easy to fall in love with "one and dones" or "five-star prospects." But that gets thrown out the window come tournament time. Ignoring baseless media hype and instead focusing on what's transpired in recent games will set you up nicely to make NCAA betting predictions come March.
That does it for our NCAA basketball betting advice. While there are more tips, nothing beats out the first-hand experience. If you're ready to do NCAA gambling and learn on the fly, check out the table. Anyone of these sportsbooks can get you started with NCAA sports betting.