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How to Bet on NCAA Basketball

College basketball odds from

College basketball odds from

College basketball betting is really no different than betting on the NBA as far as the types of wagers that are offered. The biggest difference between the two is the number of teams that odds are offered on. While there are just 30 teams in the NBA, there are 345 Division I college basketball teams and there are lines posted on the games of each one. On a typical Saturday during the heart of college basketball season there may be close to 150 different games to bet on.


The most common college basketball wager is simply the point spread bet. In the examples above, Northern Iowa is favored by 12 over Evansville and Colorado State is favored by 26.5 over San Jose State. If you bet Northern Iowa, they must win by 13 points or more in order for you to win your bet. If you wager on Evansville, the Purple Aces can lose by 11 points or less, or win the game, and you will win your bet. If Northern Iowa wins by exactly 12 it is a push and all bets are refunded. Northern Iowa won the game 68-57, so those taking Evansville +12 won their bets, as Evansville hit a 3-pointer in the final 25 seconds to cut the final deficit to 11 points. Colorado State won its game 72-56, so those taking San Jose State +26.5 points easily won their bets.


The next type of wager in college basketball is the moneyline wager, in which all you have to do is pick the winner of the game. There are no point spreads involved. Looking above, you will see that Northern Iowa is -800, meaning that you risk $800 to win $100 to bet that Northern Iowa will win the game. The +600 after Evansville signifies that they are the underdogs and here you will be asked to risk $100 to win $600 if you bet that Evansville will win the game. You do not have to wager such large amounts, but moneyline odds are given in $100 increments for simplicity. You could just as easily wager $40 to win $5 on Northern Iowa or bet $10 to win $60 on Evansville. Since Northern Iowa won the game, they also won all moneyline wagers. There was no moneyline betting offered on the Colorado State game because they were such a prohibitive favorite and very few, if any, bettors would take San Jose State to win the game regardless of how high the odds were.

The final wager offered is the total, which is merely the combined score of both teams. The sportsbooks post a number and you can bet if you believe the total points will be over the posted number or under the posted number. In the Northern Iowa game the posted total was 122 and the teams combined for 125 points, so those who bet the over were winners and anybody who bet the under lost their wagers. The posted total on Colorado State was 135 and the teams combined for 128 points, so those who bet under 135 won their bets. As with point spread betting, had the total points in the Colorado State game ended up 135, the bet would be declared a push and all wagers would be refunded.