Is there any better month of sport than March? The NCAA March Madness tournament may be our most gambled on event year in and year out. There are tons of games. Tons of upsets. Too many buzzer beaters to count. But more importantly, everyone has money on it. And I mean everyone. From the ten dollar office pools to the Vegas sportsbooks, everyone loves placing a bet in March.
One thing often overlooked, or maybe just forgotten due to all the Madness, is that the college basketball season is a long one. It stretches all the way back to Thanksgiving and there are many good bets to play well before your bracket is busted. Learn the basics of basketball betting. Develop your own basketball betting guide. Watch some games. It will only pay off more for you in March and hopefully a little more along the way.
Let’s start here with the basic bets and strategies to get started. Take this info and run with it.
Basics of Basketball Betting
Betting basketball has never been easier. And there is plenty to bet on. The spread, the moneyline, the over/under. You can bet the 1st half. You can even lay a bet once the game has started. But what are the good ones? Here are your best bets.
- The Point Spread – The most popular in every sport, betting the point spread is a great bet when considering risk and reward. The points in basketball are much more meaningful than in other sports such as football. A few missed free throws at the end of games. A meaningless half court heave as time expires. These can turn games. Then every point you get or give comes into play. You have to know your teams. Not to mention a few other factors but playing the points is a great bet in college basketball.
- The Moneyline – Another good risk and reward bet. It plays out differently than the point spread because all you are doing is picking a winner. Always a good play especially if you are looking at a game between two evenly matched teams.
- Parlays Are to Be Avoided – There are simply too many upsets every week to bet parlays well. For a parlay to be truly successful you will need a few favorites to come in. But college basketball doesn’t work that way.
- Over/Under Bets – These are tough and aren’t a great bet in the NCAAB. Again, this is because of the upset factor. Teams catch fire as quickly as they go stone cold. Getting a good number on the over/under is tough. Sure it happens but it’s few and far between.
Basics of Basketball Betting Strategy
Of course, as with any bet in any sport, you’ve got a reason you’re laying down your money. There are many factors to consider when predicting the outcome of every game. The prognosticators on ESPN do it for ratings and you should be doing it for you bets. Here are a few things to keep in mind to give you the best bet possible.
- Conference Play is Brutal – Once the teams start in conference play the season really begins. And it is usually a very competitive season. The best teams will still lose 3 or 4 games in conference. And the reason is simple. These teams know each other. Year after year they will play each two or three times in a season. And it’s tough to beat a team twice in the same year. Taking the underdog and the points becomes a good bet late in the conference season. A moneyline bet on an upset can pay big with little risk. Always check the head-to-head records before laying a bet.
- Home Games – It’s no secret that home teams keep a big advantage in every sport and college basketball is no different. Allen Fieldhouse, Cameron Indoor, the Smith Center. These are all places no one wants to play. The student sections are crazy and can definitely sway a game. Before playing a bet, note where the game is and how that team plays at home. Certain teams go years without losing at home and it’s good to know who they are.
- Good Teams are Hard to Bet Back to Back – The good teams are going to lose. As mentioned, upsets are common in this league. But one thing good teams do is rebound from a loss. Fast. The next team they face will feel the brunt of that loss more often than not. Picking good teams to cover even as much as 15 to 20 points after a loss is a good bet. They are eager to right the ship and nothing feels better than a blowout win.
- Senior Night – At the end of every year, usually the last home game of the season, college basketball teams will have their “Senior Night.” This is simply a night to honor the departing seniors as they play their final home game. Parents give speeches, video montages are shown, jerseys are retired. It’s a great night for the team and university. Home teams are always a good bet but home teams on Senior Night are even better. If they are getting points, take them. If they are giving points. Give them.
- Beware of Travel – In the day and age of increased television coverage, many teams will find themselves crossing the United States to play a game. There are plenty of tournaments and made-for-TV matchups that will have teams far from home. Pay attention to where these teams are coming and going from. UCLA playing in NYC? Virginia playing in Oregon? These would be bad bets. This type of travel is good for everyone except for the players. These are 20-year-old college students after all and having to travel from coast to coast does them no favors.
- Upperclassmen – While the “One and Done” era has changed the landscape of college basketball, one thing remains the same: Teams with upperclassmen are tough to beat. This is the reason the mid-majors do so well in the tournament. They’ve played together for years. They are grown men. And they simply have the experience to know how to win games. When you are looking for a team to ride with. Find one with plenty of Juniors and Seniors.
Don’t wait until March to place a bet on college basketball. College basketball has wonderful teams, great programs and competitive conferences. Follow the season. Watch some games. Place a few wagers. It will only make you that much better come March and you may make a few bucks on the way.
Betting on college basketball doesn’t have to start in March. Let this be the start of your basic guide to betting basketball. It’s good to have a few tried and true strategies in your pocket before placing any bet with the best sportsbooks and college basketball isn’t any different.