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College Basketball point spreads betting is the most common way to wager on collegiate basketball. Its most basic form is a team that’s the favorite and a team that’s the underdog. A point spread is the number of points the favored team must win by, or the number of points the underdog needs to remain within in order for a wager to pay. The point spread is established by a sportsbook. 

The favorite -or team with the perceived better chance of winning- is conceded a number of points, expressed by a minus “-” in front of it. They’re then considered to have covered the spread if they win by more than that many points. Bets on that team against the point spread win. 

The point spread for the underdog, which is the team thought to have the lesser chance of winning, is denoted with a “+” in front of it. Bets on the underdog against the point spread win if the underdog either wins the game outright, or loses by less than the spread figure.



College Basketball Betting Explained

College Basketball Betting Odds & Examples


When betting on the moneyline in NCAA basketball, the bettor is wagering on the team they think will win the game outright. The sportsbook determines the favorite and underdog by awarding odds. For example:

Moneyline Betting Example

Team Moneyline
Kentucky Wildcats +200
Duke Blue Devils -200

In this example, Duke is favored over Kentucky. Therefore, a $100 wager on Kentucky would pay $200, since they are the underdog. For a bet on Duke, the bettor would have to place a $200 wager to win $100.  


When betting on college basketball, point spreads is one of the most popular bet markets. The spread designates the favorite with a minus (-) sign. The underdog is always represented by the plus (+) sign in front of the odds. Here’s an example of how that would look:

Spread Betting Example

Kentucky Wildcats+3.5 (-110)
Duke Blue Devils-3.5 (-110)

In the example, Duke is the favorite, and Kentucky is the underdog. A bet on the favorite means they must win the game by four points or more for the bet to be a winner. A bet on Kentucky means they would either have to win the game, or lose by three points or less. 


Bettors can make a wager on the total number of points scored by both teams in the game. Here’s an example of how the line would look:

Over/Under Betting Example

Kentucky Wildcats(-150) O/U 132
Duke Blue Devils(+180)

Placing a bet on the over means the bettor believes the total points scored by both teams combined will be more than 132 points, while betting on the under is a wager that the total points scored will be less than 132. 

How to Bet on College Basketball

Both the underdog and the favorite are given a point-spread “handicap” in a college basketball wager. This will always be the same precise value, and it is designed to keep wagers on the game balanced.

Let’s take the North Carolina Tar Heels and Kentucky Wildcats, as an example. North Carolina might be -3½ on the spread, in which case the Wildcats would be +3½ . As a result, UNC only covers if it wins by four points or more. Kentucky, on the other hand, covers if it wins the game outright, or loses by three or fewer points.

Tips & Tricks For NCAAB Betting

It’s critical to establish the groundwork for betting success by preparing before placing your first bets. Over time, it becomes highly significant and it differentiates between success and defeat for the player; this is the primary feature that distinguishes professionals from amateur gamblers: preparing before placing bets is one way most bettors have become successful at it. 

The first plan in creating a betting strategy is figuring out on whom you want to wager, and we strongly advise you do so as a first step. Do this for any sport, although it’s especially crucial in the college basketball market because of how many games are played each night. 

College basketball, unlike any other major sport on which to wager, is a perpetual exercise in information overload. Night after night, there are (usually) a large number of games, and for each game, there’s a slew of sports betting sites offering opinions, predictions and lines based on a variety of home-brewed algorithms and formulae. 

Even the seasoned gambler might get overwhelmed by the amount of data and information available. All of this, in our opinion, is quite useful, but only if properly filtered and managed. 

Since it’s your money that’s gained or lost at the end of the day/night, it’s none other than you bearing final responsibility. A bad system costing you money is an unfortunate circumstance, but there’s a chance to employ other tools to improve your game. 

Keeping Track of Your Betting Patterns

This can help you overcome your own biases and, in the long run, aids in determining betting behaviors that are profitable for you while avoiding others.

There are new bettors who sometimes make the mistake of wagering on every game, which is an unfortunate scenario. There’s no way, regardless of how bright you (think you) are, that this ends well. It’s not a winning technique, so stick to betting on games where you believe there’s a good chance of winning. This is what we mean when we say “value.” Let’s assume you agree with the bookmaker, the Florida Gators should win a particular game by seven points. 

Even if the line is -7, you should not wager on this game. If you’re correct, the best option is to tie (“push”) your bet. Remember that the house is always paid a percentage on every “pick-a-side” wager, which is why you’d have to win more than half the time to make any money. 

Wager Only on Games If You’re Confident That a Team Will Cover the Spread

While wagering on those specific games, look at the same time for lines where you believe something is amiss, spreadwise. It’s the bettor’s goal to make informed decisions that he/she feels will result in a victory. If you wager on every game, you’re simply gambling, and not allowing your ability and understanding to show.

In short, the best advice we can provide to any bettor is to use whichever method works the best. For some people, all they need is a simple spreadsheet containing a few patterns and a notes area. Others may have to take things a step further. Whatever method you use, be sure you keep track of it. If you do, your bankroll will be rising more frequently than if you were blindly betting.

NCAA Basketball History

In 1890, college physical education administrators from all over the United States met at Springfield college to talk about winter physical education classes and how they could become as popular as baseball and football were in summer and fall classes. 

They asked James Naismith, a physical education instructor, to invent a sport that would fit the bill. He built two peach baskets at the opposite ends of a gymnasium and used a soccer ball as the first basketball. 

The sport was instantly popular among students, and by 1900, several eastern colleges put together basketball teams that were competing against each other, with Naismith coaching the University of Kansas team. The games were low-scoring, mainly because there was no shot clock.

The first national tournament was the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) in 1938. The following year, the NCAA started a tournament with eight teams playing at a different location each year. Oregon won the first championship in Evanston, IL.

The popularity of college basketball never stopped growing. There are now a total of 32 NCAA Division I conferences with 358 universities participating in Men’s basketball throughout the country, with the annual NCAA Tournament Final Four watched by more than 20 million viewers each season.


Hopefully, you can now call yourself a college basketball point spreads professional. While they appear to be basic bets, they have a lot of impact when it comes to cashing. Point-spread betting is among the easiest to understand and the easiest way to make money in the long run, provided you stick to your plan. Using the tips and tricks above should enable you to start making money with your wagers. 

One of the biggest takeaways is to always play within your means and never chase losses. If you have a plan in place, stick to it, as that’s a benefit in the long run. The most successful bettors are the ones who are smart with their money, and smartly manage their bankroll.


What’s the Best Way to Bet on College Basketball?

College basketball is usually wagered Ion by picking the winner of the game with a moneyline bet, betting which team will cover the spread, or betting the over/under, which is the total amount of points scored in the game.

How Long is a College Basketball Game?

College basketball games are made up of two twenty-minute halves.

Is It Legal to Bet on NCAA Basketball Games?

Yes, betting on NCAA basketball is legal in states throughout the U.S., with many online sportsbooks to choose from.

Is NCAA Basketball Becoming More Popular?

College basketball’s popularity has been pretty constant in recent years, but expects to grow as sports betting spreads throughout the country.

What’s the Easiest NCAA Basketball Bet to Make?

The moneyline bet is the easiest bet you can make. The only thing needed is to pick the team you expect to win the game. If you choose correctly, you win the wager.
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