Tips for betting on college basketball

November is here, and that can only mean one thing to America’s college communities. The basketball season is here at last! The NCAA attracts attention from sports fans across the United States, and increasingly, the wider world too. As well as basketball enthusiasts, college basketball is a magnet for the sports betting fraternity. 

There are more ways to bet on basketball than you might think, and with legalized sports betting now available in more than 30 US states, there’s a great choice of sportbooks that you can confidently put some wagers on your local college team. Let’s look into some of the wagers that are available as we head into to the first week of the new season. 

Moneyline betting

The moneyline is the obvious starting point for anyone who is new to betting on college basketball. It’s the simplest kind of bet, as you are simply placing your money on which team you expect to win. The sportbooks will set odds according to the form of the teams, so you need to decide whether to back the favorite for a small payout or take a chance on the underdogs, meaning a bigger payday if they manage to win.


Having said that, most casual fans tend to just put a few dolllars on the team they follow as an act of support, a little like wearing a team shirt to watch he game. If your team wins, you get an extra reason to celebrate when you collect your payout!

Spread betting

Betting on the spread might look complicated at first, but once you’ve grasped the principle, it is really quite straightforward. Let’s say you are thinking of betting on UCLA’s week one match up against Sacramento Hornets. Now UCLA are going to be strong favorites, so logically, there’s little point in betting on the favorites, as you’ll get such a low return, and betting on Sacramento is almost certainly throwing your money away as they are so unlikely to win. 

The spread takes this into account, and the bookmaker predicts how many points the favorite ought to win by. You can then place an even money wager on which team will outperform that prediction. In our example, the spread might be -8.5 UCLA. This means UCLA must win by 9 or more to beat the spread. If you bet on Sacramento, you’ll get a pay out if they either win, or if UCLA win by a margin of 8 or less. 


A fun bet if you really can’t call a winner is the over/under or totals bet. Here, the bookmaker predicts how many points will be scored in total between the two teams. You place an even money bet on whether you think it will be over or under that number. 

Like the spread bet, this is usually expressed as, for example 204.5, so there is no risk of it being exactly right. 

There are numerous other bets too, including parlays, teasers and a range of prop bets. However, the moneyline, spread and over/under are a great place to start.