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College Basketball Odds Explained

College basketball is full of exciting prospects, both in player talent and betting opportunities. There are plenty of exciting games to keep handicappers busy throughout the year. And with sports betting now legal in most of the United States, fans can now bet on all the major NCAA events from their homes. However, this comes with the challenge of reading college basketball odds, especially if you’re new to sports betting.

How to read college basketball betting odds

NCAA basketball odds pretty much mirror those of the NBA. You get futures, moneylines, point spreads, and totals. As is typical of United States odds, positive odds represent the underdog while negative odds point to the favorite in a college basketball game.

College Basketball Point Spreads

The point spread is one of the most common basketball odds. Usually, the oddsmaker sets a line that handicaps the favorite team in a college basketball game. This is called the spread and is usually a particular number of points. In a game between Duke Blue Devils and Kentucky Wildcats; 

Duke Blue Devils: -5.5, -110 

Kentucky Wildcats: +3.5 , +110 

The Blue Devils (favorites) must win the game by more than 5.5 points to cover the spread. On the other hand, the Wildcats (underdogs) must either win the game or lose by less than 5.5 points to cover the spread.


Moneyline bets are the simplest and most popular of all. These involve backing your expected outright winner of an NCAA game. If they win, you take all the money. But if they lose, even by a single point, you lose your money. 

Moneyline odds are based on $100. They show how much money you’ll win by betting $100 on the underdog and how much you need to bet on the favorite to win $100. Moneyline odds for our Blue Devils vs. Wildcat matchup may look like this; 

Duke Blue Devils: -120 

Kentucky Wildcats: +130 

According to these odds, you need to bet $120 to win $100 from the Blue Devil’s victory. But if you decide to bet on the Wildcats winning the game, a $100 wager on them will bring you an extra $130 if they win.


Total college basketball odds are another popular option for wagering on NCAAB games. Here, you are betting on the total points scored by both teams at the end of the game. The sportsbook sets a line, and you wager on whether the points scored will exceed the line. If you think they will, you choose over, but if you think they won’t, you choose under. 

So, in our hypothetical game above; 

Over 65.5 


Under 65.5 


College Basketball Futures

NCAAB future odds are an opportunity to win big. Handicappers wager on long-term events in the college basketball season or on the results of upcoming tournaments.

For instance, you can bet on:

Who will win awards like the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith Awards.
Which teams will make it to the final four
Which team will win the NCAA men’s/women’s division.
College basketball events with the best odds
If you’re looking for exciting college basketball odds, the following events shouldn’t pass you;

Early season tournaments

These tournaments are typically held at the start of the season in exotic locations. They attract college basketball teams from different conferences, creating exciting matchups that are fun to bet on. Here, you get all kinds of college basketball odds. 

Some of these tournaments include Myrtle Beach Invitational, Hall of Fame Tip-Off, Paradise Jam, and the Legends Classic.

March Madness

March Madness is the most crucial college basketball event in the calendar year. It runs from early March to early April in a single-elimination format played by 68 college basketball teams. As you would expect, such an event has the attention of all kinds of sportsbooks and fans. This makes it a frenzy of betting activity, presenting some of the best college basketball odds around.

Final Four odds

March Madness ends with the Final Four, four undefeated teams out of the initial sixty-eight. It’s a tense affair with intense competition, which keeps handicappers at the edge of their seats. The college basketball odds you get from the Final Four are also quite good.

Where can I bet on college basketball?

There are many places you can bet on college basketball. However, our favorite places are:

 Caesars Sportsbook


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How to get the best college basketball odds

Nobody wants to risk their hard-earned money in exchange for meager profits. This is why sports betting fans are always looking for the best college basketball odds available. To get your favorable odds;

Compare different sportsbooks’ odds

You’re missing a lot by sticking to one sportsbook. Generally, you want to compare various oddsmakers before placing your bets. This is the easiest way to find the best NCAAB odds for your games and tournaments. However, this quest for favorable odds can lead you to odd places. You might find yourself staring at odds from an illegal sports betting site. Although such sites typically have extremely attractive odds, please avoid them. You’re never really sure that they will pay you your winnings. You also don’t want to trust these platforms with your payment information.

Bet early

Betting early is a technique used by experienced handicappers. It involves making college basketball bets as soon as betting markets open before line movement occurs. That way, they get to capitalize on any mistakes made by the oddsmakers when assessing the probability of either outcome occurring.

College basketball picks and predictions

As you get deeper into the world of college basketball odds, you’ll come across picks and predictions. These are essentially betting advice given by experienced handicappers on the day’s college basketball betting lines, odds, and games. They can be an excellent way to capitalize on college basketball odds and win yourself some money. However, make sure that you always get them from a trusted source with a relatively good hit ratio.

College basketball FAQ

The Final Four is the penultimate stage of the NCAAB National Championship that typically occurs in early April. At this stage, four teams remain in a semi-final format. There are two semi-final games, and the winners of each go on to face each other in the finals to determine the national champion. This stage of the Championship is typically full of exciting college basketball prop bets odds.

These show whether a college basketball team is considered the favorite or the underdog. Favorites have the minus (-) sign in their odds, while underdogs have the plus (+) sign.

The line represents the spread, i.e., the margin used by sportsbooks to handicap the favorite team.

It is the number of points the oddsmaker predicts the favored team will win by. This represents the line used by sports bettors to wager on a college basketball game.

College basketball vegas odds are usually prepared by sportsbooks operating in Las Vegas, Nevada. As with online sports betting, you can get all kinds of odds for college basketball games, including moneylines, futures, spreads, and totals.

Written and updated by

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