How to Bet on College Basketball: NCAAB Betting Explained

College basketball can seem like an exciting yet daunting prospect for most bettors. Betting and watching college hoops can definitely enhance a bettor’s knowledge on NBA basketball as well, however for entertainment purposes we would argue that college basketball can actually be way more fun than the NBA.

Only those that have experienced the absolute mayhem of March Madness will know what we’re talking about. So let’s get you introduced on how to bet on college basketball.

Best Betting Sites For College Basketball Betting

In order to get the most out of your bet, it’s important to pick the right betting site for you. Here are a few options you can choose from that will make your online sports betting experience a positive one.

Betway is a powerhouse of a bookie, and their mobile application really makes the betting experience smooth and easy. Betting on college basketball with Betway is easy to understand, and their college basketball lines and live odds are competitive compared to other websites.

They have a 100% welcome deposit bonus of up to $200 which will take you a long way. Betway is definitely one of the top online sportsbooks to bet on your favorite teams.

Betonline has been around since 2001 and has been a staple in the online sports betting scene. They provide a hefty welcome deposit bonus of up to $1000 and you can even deposit with Bitcoin! The desktop experience can seem a little outdated but their mobile application stands up to the test and provides a great betting experience.

Everything You Need To Know About Betting On NCAA Basketball

College basketball is fundamentally a different game to NBA level basketball. There are so many different rules that can confuse bettors at first, but once explained it becomes quite easy to understand.

First of all, NCAA basketball consists of two halves of 20 minutes, compared to NBA basketball’s 4 quarters of 12 minutes.

Next, the shot clocks are completely different. NCAA teams get 30 seconds per possession, and the clock gets reset to 20 seconds if they rebound the ball off the rim. For the NBA, it’s a 24 second shot clock with 14 seconds after an offensive rebound.

Lastly, the NCAA and March Madness is absolutely bonkers. There are so many teams and so many upsets it truly makes for an insane viewing experience.


The moneyline bet is the most simplest of all: you’re betting which team will win the game. This is by far the most popular bet out there, and putting a bunch of moneyline bets in a parlay when March Madness begins can get really funky. Would you ever expect North Carolina to beat Duke or Kentucky? It’s happened before and you’ll never know when it will happen again!


For new bettors, seeing plus and minus signs and decimal points can get confusing and they might be a bit put off with choosing a spread bet, however it can be really great to add to your bet slip as it usually has better odds because it is a much more specific bet. 

Basically a spread is predicting how much a team will win by. If the odds are Kentucky +7.5 and North Carolina -7.5 (as unrealistic as these odds are currently), that means that North Carolina is the favorite and the lines are indicating the average they will win by is 7-8 points.

Most online sportsbooks will have options to customize the spread. This means that instead of adhering to the bookies’s evaluations, you can make your own spread. So instead of +/- 7.5, you can change it to 12.5 or any (realistic) number you want.


The totals market refers to how many points will be scored in the game by both teams combined. This bet is probably the easiest to predict, as there are hard statistics to help support you. Through a bit of research it’s very easy to find out which team is better offensively and which team is better defensively.

From that you can deduce the amount of points that will be scored in a match. Usually this bet will look something like O/U 210.5 – or whatever amount of points is predicted by the bookies.

There are alternative lines you can bet on in the totals market, though. You can bet on how many points will be scored each half, each quarter, or by one team.

Different betting sites may have different markets and odds, so it’s important to stay diligent and find out which bookie offers the best value for your money. You may find some gems of a bet on one site and not on another.

College Basketball Betting Strategies

Helpful Tips and Tricks

Every bettor must understand a few things:

  • How bookies value the market odds
  • Bankroll strategies
  • Mental strategies

Let’s gloss over each of them real quick.

Beating The Bookies

There may have been a time in your life where you were excited to bet on a game, confident that your prediction will come true and you’ll earn a bunch of money. Then you look at the odds and find they’re horrible. 

Bookies are specialists at predicting which game will generate the most bets and which markets will be the most popular, so they manipulate the prices to maximize their profit. It’s just how the game is played.

That’s why you need to evaluate alternative markets and catch the bookies slipping. They can’t know every market for every game (granted, neither can you) and they’ll make a mistake and value a certain market at a really great price. That’s where eagle-eyed bettors grab the opportunity.

Bankroll Strategy

Be smart with your money. Yes, you should be prepared to lose whatever you deposit because more times than not, you will lose it. But if you bet smart and restrictively, you can minimize your losses significantly. Understand your budget, and don’t shoot for the moon by making a huge parlay. Keep yourself grounded and bet what you can.

Mental Strategy

This goes hand-in-hand with bankroll strategy. You don’t want to be too greedy, and you don’t want to get tilted. If your bet loses by the smallest margin, don’t go crazy and make a ridiculous bet on something else out of anger. Keep yourself grounded and move on to another bet another day.

Betting On March Madness

This is where all the big bettors come to play. This is what NCAA basketball is all about. The big event.

If you don’t know what March Madness is, the simplest explanation is that it’s a huge college tournament where 68 teams battle for first place. They are separated by conferences and the #1 seed will face the last seed and so on until they advance further through the tournament. It’s literal madness.

It’s very important to understand that college basketball is so unpredictable. While there are clear favorites a lot of the time, let’s say Kentucky goes against Saint Louis or some team like that. 

It’s pretty obvious Kentucky will win the vast majority of the time. However, can you predict who will win between Saint Louis and Michigan State? It’s really unpredictable unless you’re an absolute savant in NCAA basketball.

So perhaps a valid strategy would be to, instead of betting on moneyline, perhaps bet on totals or quarter props. This way you can avoid a heavy upset while still having a great valued bet.

Research Everything

A lot of the fun in betting is devising an action plan for an upcoming match. Maybe you’re betting on who’s going to win the U.S. Open and you’re trying to find the best candidate to bet on. Research is a huge part of the fun. With college basketball, it’s an integral part of the betting process. The NCAAB is so huge in America and the fact that a lot of the rosters on these teams change so frequently means that it can be hard to really get a solid grip of what’s going on.

Luckily there are so many websites out there that can help you out. You can get literal scouting reports on teams and players, you can look at their raw stats and make the distinction yourself, or you can get expert’s opinions on a particular match.

Knowledge never hurt anyone. At least when it comes to betting.

Can You Bet On Women’s College Basketball?

This is a tricky one. A lot of bookies actually don’t have a women’s college basketball line. In fact a lot of bookies don’t have markets for women’s sports in general, or at least they’re not very in-depth. Which is a real shame, as there’s a lot of great competition out there in women’s sports.

If you do find markets for women’s NCAA basketball, it definitely does not hurt to try it out. All the same rules as men’s NCAA applies, but you will most likely find that the odds are less competitive or the markets are quite restricted.

Hopefully we can see strides in the future for the popularization of women’s sports so that we can have competitive bets for women’s college basketball.

Closing Thoughts

You’re ready to fly out into the college basketball betting world. You’ve learned a lot! As with all betting, experience and knowledge is king and you shouldn’t shy away from learning along the way. You’ll find your comfort picks and bets, you’ll find your most hated and unluckiest teams. It’s all part of the fun, and you should always remember to stop when the fun stops.

And with that, go ahead and bet on some college basketball! We really recommend you catching the upcoming March Madness tournament and have your socks blown off.

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