Learn how to bet on college basketball. From beginner’s basics, to expert strategy, you’re covered for how to bet on NCAAB.

How To Bet On College Basketball: Online Betting Tips

The world of college basketball is an exciting and unpredictable arena. With the craziest crowds and the biggest upsets ready to unfold, it’s hard to top the action. One way to take the intensity up from a 9 to a 10 is by getting some skin in the game and placing bets. 

If you’re new to the world of sports gambling, no sweat! Here at Odds Shark we have all the tips, strategies and help so that you can learn how to bet on NCAA basketball and start winning today.

How To Read NCAA Basketball Betting Lines

There are several ways to read betting lines in college basketball. The three most common ways you will find college basketball odds displayed is in American, Decimal and Fractional odds.

American Odds

American-style lines will be displayed with a plus or minus sign attached, designating who is the underdog and who is the favorite. These lines are generated based on a $100 wager, so a favorite might be listed at -200, which means you would need to wager $200 to win $100. On the flip side, if a team is valued at +200 to win, you would win $200 if you wager $100 on them.

Decimal Odds

Incredibly straightforward to read, decimal lines are displayed with the bet’s direct betting value multiplied by your wager. For example, if a team’s odds to win are 1.90, then a $100 bet (1.90 x 100) would pay out $190.

Fractional Odds

Most commonly found in horse racing but still applicable outside of it, fractional betting works on the basis of how many times an outcome would happen in a given sample size. For example, if Gonzaga were favored to win 7/11, this means that if the game was played 18 times, Gonzaga would win 11 out of the 18 times, and lose seven times.

To calculate your winnings for this type of bet, you would divide the loss probability (7) by the win probability (11), then multiply that number by the value wagered. So in this instance, if you bet $100 on the Bulldogs to win at 7/11 odds, you would win $63.63. The same method is applied to an underdog in the same situation. If Gonzaga were an 11/7 underdog, you would divide 11 by 7 and multiply by your $100 bet to reach a $157.14 payout.

Types Of College Basketball Bets


Let’s start with the basics of how to bet on college basketball games, the moneyline. A moneyline bet is as simple as it gets when it comes to single-game betting, where you bet on who you feel will win the game straight up, no other strings attached.

Odds will vary depending on the matchup you decide to wager on based on who is favored to win. If you can snuff out an under-the radar underdog, you can win big with this simple bet, or you can play it safe and bet on a heavy favorite to take an anticipated W.

Point Spread

The cousin of the moneyline, betting the spread of a game is another simple and easy way to get started in college basketball betting. For any given contest, there will be a given point spread. This spread represents the differential of the final score of a given game set by oddsmakers. 

For example, if UNC is set as an 8.5-point favorite (-8.5) over Kentucky, that means if you wager on the Tar Heels to cover the spread, they would need to win by a margin of 9 points or more. 

On the flip side, the Wildcats would be +8.5 and if you bet them to cover the spread, UK could ultimately lose the game but you would still win your bet if they lose by no more than eight points. Betting on the point spread is a great way to add value to a bet as the odds will generally sit evenly with both sides.

March Madness Betting Sites


You can bet the OVER/UNDER on different aspects of a game. Whether it’s total points scored in the game, in a half or by a specific player, you can wager on whether the oddsmaker’s set number will be reached.

For example, if the line for total points scored in a matchup is set at 150.5, that would mean to hit the OVER, the two teams would have to combine for 151 points or more. To hit on the UNDER, the total score would have to be 150 or less. OVER/UNDERs also apply for other stats such as rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, but points are generally the easiest and most readily available odds at most books. 


Parlays are a fantastic way to get more bang for your buck when betting on college basketball. A parlay allows you to make several wagers and multiply your odds by stacking each wager together. The catch for a parlay, however, is that in order to win, every bet placed needs to hit, otherwise you lose your wager.

For example, if you wager a five-game parlay and four of the five teams you backed win, you still ultimately lose your bet even though you were correct on the majority of your picks. Parlays are a terrific way to wager low amounts and receive large payouts but they are incredibly challenging to line up. Some online sportsbooks will even allow same-game parlays (SGP), which has proven to be a great way to add value to your wager.

Prop Bets

One of the most exciting ways to bet on college basketball, prop bets allow you to wager outside the traditional lines of Sportsbooks/point spreads and become more specific. Props encompass everything that could transpire in a given game for both teams and individual players.

One of the most popular prop bets that can help boost your bankroll is first basket scored, where you can bet on who will open the scoring of a game. First scorer prop bets are exciting, have terrific odds and give immediate results. For some larger events such as March Madness or the Super Bowl, you can find exclusive and specified prop bets to add extra excitement to the action.


Bust out your crystal ball and look deep within it to find your next best future investment. A futures bet is simple – all you have to do is wager on the outcome of a season, the NCAA Tournament or even the Sportsbook of an individual award, and if your prediction comes true, you win.

For example, at the beginning of the NCAAB season, if you bet on Duke to win the March Madness NCAA Tournament and they come through and win it all, you win. You can find great value in futures if you invest early on a team/player that oddsmakers are sleeping on, but the longer you wait to place those bets, the more the odds will shift. So remember, it’s always better to strike while the iron is hot.

Live Betting 

Still relatively new in the sports betting world, live betting allows you to take advantage of the swinging of the tides within a matchup in real time. Also known as in-play betting, live betting on a game allows you to wager on a game’s outcome, point spread and OVER/UNDER as it transpires.

As a game progresses, new odds and line movements will continue to develop. As a team pulls ahead on the scoreboard, their odds may shrink and their opponent’s value will rise once they fall behind. For strategic bettors, you can take advantage of line movement in real time and wager on a team that has fallen behind to maximize value or vice versa, backing a team with a healthy lead to cruise to a victory/cover.

Join A Top NCAAB Betting Site

NCAAB Betting Advice

When it comes to college basketball, it’s as wild as it gets. There are some definite strategies and best practices you can use to maximize your chances to come away a Sportsbook. While there is no guaranteed way to know a bet will hit, these tips will at the very least point you in the right direction toward finding your winning bet.

Ride With Hot Teams

As simple as it gets, if there is a team that is on an absolute tear, now is not the time to bet against them. More often than not these trends will continue unless there comes a situation where the irresistible force meets the immovable object. Backing the hotter team is generally a safe bet for your money whether you want to wager on the moneyline or the spread.

Follow Trends Closely

As the college basketball regular season progresses, trends begin to build up for each team. Whether they are positive or negative, these trends go far beyond just wins and losses. While this may take some independent research on your end, finding a trend can be an easy way to make some money when you start learning how to bet on NCAAB. 

Whether it’s a mid-major school becoming a covering machine, or a blue blood that simply can’t miss from three-point range, back these trends to continue and you can find great value in most betting markets.

Use Odds Shark’s NCAAB Consensus Page

If you are ever split on a game and need a push in the right direction, Odds Shark is here for the rescue! On our NCAAB consensus page you will find public betting trends on college basketball matchups daily.

This public betting knowledge will give you much-needed insight on where to lean, or could give you the motivation to stray from the pack and fade the public in order to get your payday. 

Whatever way you decide to utilize it, the Odds Shark College Basketball Consensus Picks are a great way to help you get started when it comes to how to bet on college basketball online. If you don’t trust the public at all, Odds Shark’s computer picks are another great way to gather insight on your college basketball picks.

How To Bet On College Basketball FAQ

How Do You Bet On A College Basketball Game?

There are several ways to bet on a college basketball game. To get started, make sure you have signed up and deposited with a reputable sportsbook, go to their NCAAB odds and find the right bet for you. You can place bets on a number of things, such as the moneyline, point spread, OVER/UNDER or live betting.

Can You Gamble On NCAA?

Yes, you can gamble on NCAA sports as long as you live in an area where sports betting is legal. Different regions have varying laws and restrictions in regard to sports betting. This ranges from the types of bets you can place to how much you can wager. This applies to professional sports as well as amateur sports like NCAAB. NCAA student-athletes are not allowed to gamble on NCAA games.

Where Can I Bet On The NCAA?

There are a multitude of sportsbooks online that allow you to bet on the NCAA. On Odds Shark’s college basketball betting sites page, you can get the top-rated sportsbooks available and find the one that best fits your needs. Compare sign-up bonuses, welcome bonuses, deposit bonuses and more.

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