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College Basketball Odds

Are you taking your best shot when betting on an NCAA basketball game’s winner or top scorer? After analyzing NCAA basketball odds, how do you pick among over 300 NCAA Division 1 schools to win the yearly tournament?

The NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball tournament has become one of the most significant events in the sports world. Betting on the March Madness winner or a college basketball point spread, for example, can seem challenging, especially to beginner bettors in basketball. Learning the basics can increase your chance of successful bets. can help you make college sports bets like betting on NCAAB odds. Read on to learn how college hoops odds appear and how to read them, different types of college basketball bets, and where to bet on NCAA basketball.

How to Read and Interpret College Basketball Odds

Whether you’re a newbie or professional bettor, you’ll have to know how to read and understand betting odds for college basketball. It’s a key step in learning how to bet on NCAAB.

Point spread, totals, and moneylines are some of the most popular types of bets bettors make on college hoops.

Oddsmakers use the spread to create a balance for both teams in a sports matchup. The spread increases the chance that more bettors will pick the underdog, the weaker of the two teams.

The team giving points or “laying the points” is known as the favorite. The favorite is listed using a minus sign (-) before the point spreads. A plus sign (+) shows the underdog.

Another number that’s connected to placing bets is the vigorish, “vig,” or “juice.” This figure is a percentage that the online sportsbook deducts from a bettor’s winnings for its services.

One way to reduce the vig is to combine single bets into multi-leg bets. For example, a 3-leg parlay requires paying one vig instead of three vigs for single bets.

College Basketball Odds: How They Appear

Since hundreds of Division 1 basketball teams exist, you can also bet on hundreds of games based on NCAAB odds each week. You can bet on college basketball teams such as:

  • University of Houston
  • Georgetown University
  • Miami University
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • University of San Diego
  • University of Cincinnati
  • Villanova University
  • Indiana University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Seton Hall University
  • University of Iowa
  • Purdue University
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Texas
  • UNLV (University of Nevada Las Vegas)

Types of College Basketball Bets

Odds appear differently, depending on the type of bet you make.


The over/under or “totals” is another common way to bet on college hoops. In this case, you must pick over or under the projected combined total score for the game. Here’s an example:

Baylor vs. Gonzaga (142)

Suppose the game’s combined total score is exactly the number the oddsmakers set. In the above scenario, let’s say the final score is Gonzaga 72, Baylor 70.

In this case, the bet is a push, and sportsbooks return the original bets to the bettors.


The moneyline bet is a straight-up (SU) bet that removes the point spread. Here’s an example of college basketball moneylines:

Arizona Wildcats -300

UCLA Bruins +250

In this scenario, a bettor must bet $300 on Arizona to earn a $100 profit. If the favored Wildcats win the game, the bettor wins a total payout of $400 on a $300 bet. That includes the profit ($100) and original bet ($300).

Meanwhile, suppose a bettor’s weekly basketball picks include UCLA, and the Bruins upset the favorite. In that situation, the bettor gets a $350 payout on a $100 bet. The $350 total payout includes the $250 profit and $100 original bet.

Point Spread

Point spread betting is among the most popular bet types. A point spread shows the number of points the favorite gives and the underdog receives to balance the line.

Here’s an example of the betting line offered for spread bets:

Duke -3.5

North Carolina +3.5

In this scenario, Duke must win by at least 4 points to cover the spread, resulting in a winning bet. Meanwhile, if North Carolina loses by 3 points or less or wins outright, the Tar Heels bettors win the bet.

Sometimes the spread includes whole numbers, and other times it has increments of 0.5 points. Basketball spreads with half points, like +2.5, prevent a tie or a “push” because a basketball team can’t score half a point.


A college basketball futures bet is a bet that bettors make on a future event. More specifically, it must be after the current day and is often weeks or months later.

In basketball, a common futures bet is on the winner of the NCAA tournament championship.

In general, you can get the best betting odds if you make these bets during the offseason or preseason.

Here’s why. Futures odds have more movement during the regular season as teams play games and experience events like the NBA draft, injuries, and suspensions.

The most popular event in the NCAAB futures market is the college basketball tournament. This yearly hoops tournament is informally known as March Madness due to teams playing over 60 total games in under three frantic weeks.


A parlay bet is a multi-leg wager. You must win each part to win the parlay bet. If one part doesn’t hit, you lose the entire parlay.

Here’s an example of picks for a 5-leg (part) parlay bet:

  • NFL: Patriots
  • NHL: Flyers
  • MLB: Yankees
  • UFC: Dustin Poirier
Prop Bets

A proposition bet or prop bet on college basketball is a side bet on whether something will happen during an NCAA game or tournament. You’re wagering “yes” or “no” on a certain event.

Prop bets are often unrelated to a game’s outcome. Here are some examples of college basketball prop bets:

  • Will Michigan go undefeated this season?
  • Will Baylor reach the Final Four?
  • Will Michigan get a technical foul in the championship game?

Prop bets can be an exciting and profitable way to place bets on college basketball. It’s imperative to do extensive research if you want a better chance of winning bets.

How the NCAA Basketball Tournament Works

The tournament consists of 68 teams, which include:

  • Conference championship winners (32 teams)
  • At-large teams (36 teams)

A selection committee picks the at-large teams based on factors like overall record and strength of schedule. The NCAA then seeds the teams based on their power rankings. The rounds of the tournament include:

  • First Four (play-in games)
  • Regional first Round (64 teams)
  • Regional second Round (32 teams)
  • Sweet 16
  • Elite Eight
  • Final Four

The First Four round includes the lowest-seeded eight teams. The single-elimination games’ winners advance to the regional first round.

In fact, the entire NCAA tournament is a single-elimination tournament. In other words, if a team loses once, then it doesn’t advance to the next round.

The first two rounds include 64 teams that play in four regions with 16 teams each. The four regions are:

  • East
  • South
  • Midwest
  • West

As the name suggests, the Final Four round includes the tournament’s last four teams that haven’t lost yet. The semi finals winners advance to the NCAA national championship game.

Here’s an example of an NCAAB futures line for the NCAA tournament:

Gonzaga Bulldogs +800

Virginia Cavaliers +1400

The team with the board’s lowest odds is the favorite. In this scenario, it’s Gonzaga. If you placed a $100 bet on Gonzaga to win it all and the Bulldogs won the championship, you’d get a $900 payout. That includes an $800 profit and the $100 original bet.

The underdog teams offer bigger payouts due to the lower likelihood that they will win it all.

Where to Bet on College Basketball

You can find a dedicated section for college basketball at most online sportsbooks. The odds pages of online sportsbooks tend to offer similar odds for college basketball games.

Most online sportsbooks offer spread bets for NCAA basketball. Note that the game times for college basketball are often listed in Eastern Standard Time.

When looking for college basketball lines, it’s important to pick legit sportsbooks like for safer bets.

Before placing bets on college basketball odds, do your homework and analyze the odds. Have a ball and take advantage of our latest promotions now.


1. What's the best college basketball team?

As of August 2021, UCLA has won the most NCAAB Division 1 championships at 11 titles. The Bruins are followed by Kentucky (8 titles) and North Carolina (6 titles).

2. Is college basketball betting legal?

Several states like New Jersey, Colorado, and Michigan have already legalized in-person or online betting. Other states have pending bills for legalized gambling.

3. What was the biggest blowout in NCAA tournament history?

The all-time biggest point differential was the blowout in the first round of the 1963 South regional. Loyola dismantled Tennessee Tech 111-42 (69-point differential). Loyola advanced to win the tournament championship that year.

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