NCAA Basketball Odds Guide

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From the beginning of November until early April, bettors from around the world can wager their money on NCAA College Basketball events. Betting on NCAA College Basketball is getting more and more popular all the time. The main reason for that is that NCAAB games are incredibly exciting to watch.   

College Basketball used to be a sport that was only popular around the month of March when the so-called March Madness is taking place. It’s a sort of tradition in America to do office bracket pools, with the goal of predicting which team is going to do the best in the NCAA Basketball Playoffs.

In the past, predicting March Madness outcomes used to be a friendly competition among colleagues at their workplace. But, since the sports betting ban was lifted in May 2018, many Americans started betting on both pre-season and regular season college basketball games.

Apart from being fun to watch, college basketball can be a very profitable sport for some bettors, since certain wagers can have very favorable NCAA Basketball odds.

Eager to find out exactly which wagers offer the best odds? Let us show you…

Moneyline Odds

Betting on the Moneylines is as easy as picking a side. With Moneyline wagers, your winnings or losings are based on odds that are predetermined by the oddsmakers. The favorite in the game will always be a (-) number and the underdog in the game will be the (+) team.

An example of a Moneyline wager is betting on Michigan Wolverines at the odds of -200 in a game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. If you bet on Michigan for $100 and they win, you will win $50 but if Michigan makes an upset, you will lose your stake of $100.

That said, the scenario in which Michigan Wolverines would lose to Minnesota Golden Gophers is highly unlikely to play out. The thing with NCAA Basketball is that this is a competition in which favorites win most of the time. The best college basketball teams tend to lose only a couple of games over the course of a season.

And those defeats happen either when they’re playing against teams of similar quality or at times when their Playoff destiny is already known. If a team has already collected enough points to secure a spot in the March Madness tournament, their coach might decide to experiment with new tactics in a final couple of rounds of the regular season.

What this means for bettors is that they can make nice profits if they back favorites most of the time. Unfortunately, sportsbooks realize that favorites win most of the time, which is why the odds on these teams are often not too attractive. This is the reason why many bettors decide to spice things up by betting on another type of wager – the point spread.

Point Spread Odds

Another popular type of wager in NCAA Basketball is wagering on a team with or against the Point Spread. Point Spread can best be defined as any wager in which you are adding/subtracting a certain number of points to/from the final score of the team you are wagering on. This may sound too complicated to a newbie in the world of basketball betting, which is why we’re going to explain Point Spread betting with an example.

And a good example of a Point Spread Wager is Duke Blue Devils -15 over Maryland Terrapins. What this is saying is if you were to bet on the Duke Blue Devils, you would take 15 points off their final score. That final result score would need to be larger than the Maryland Terrapins score in order for you to win.

If the final score was Duke 100 Maryland 80, you would win because the Blue Devils won by 20 points difference. But, if the final score was Duke 100 Maryland 87, you would lose because the final score minus 15 points would be Duke 85 Maryland 87.

Obviously, it’s more difficult to win a Point Spread bet than a Moneyline bet, but because of that, the odds on this wager are much better. In this particular example, the Moneyline odds on Duke would be around -300, but a -15 Point Spread bet on this team would be much higher. It would probably be in the ballpark of +100.

Odds on Totals (Over or Under)

Another very popular way of betting on NCAA College Basketball is by wagering on whether the final score will be over or under the posted total. Over and Under plays are very popular in sports today mainly because you are basically playing both teams with the hopes of the game being offensive or defensive.

If someone believes that the game will be a high scoring affair, they are more inclined to playing the ‘over’. Likewise, if they think the game will be a very low scoring game, they are more inclined to go with the ‘under’ bet.

When you play the over, your total combined score will need to equal more than the predetermined total number. For example, if the total in the North Carolina vs. Georgia Tech game is 155 points and you wager $250 on the over, you will need the total score to add up to more than 155 points. Therefore, if the final score of the game is North Carolina 80 Georgia Tech 78, you would win because 80 + 78 = 158 and that is higher than 155.

At this point, you’re probably wondering how sportsbooks decide on the number of points that would serve as the Over/Under margin. For an elite competition such as the NBA, sportsbooks may decide to hire real experts to help them decide on what point margin to go with and which odds to offer. With the NCAA Basketball, things are a little bit different.

Considering that there are many more matches in an NCAAB season than there are in the NBA, sportsbooks just can’t do in-depth research in order to come up with the best-possible Over/Under offers. Instead, they go with a little bit different approach.

They set the initial odds according to previous performances of the teams in question and adjust those odds once the bettors start wagering their money. For example, if the sportsbooks notice that a lot of money is being wagered on Over 155 points in the clash between North Carolina and Georgia Tech, they will make the odds drop.

Parlay Odds

Betting parlays is a great way to make some extra money by combining two or more plays on a single ticket. When betting parlays, you’re basically betting on two or more teams will win compared to odds. For example, if you were to play a three-team parlay, you would need all three teams to win to pay off at 6 to 1 odds.

Therefore, if you were to bet $100 on a three-team parlay and you win, you would cash $600 but if you lost, you would only lose $100. A breakdown at most online sportsbooks will return as follows:

  • 2 team parlay 13 to 5
  • 3 team parlay 6 to 1
  • 4 team parlay 10 to 1
  • 5 team parlay 20 to 1
  • 6 team parlay 40 to 1
  • 7 team parlay 75 to 1
  • 8 team parlay 150 to 1
  • 9 team parlay 300 to 1
  • 10 team parlay 700 to 1

Please keep in mind that at various online sportsbooks, the return on investment may vary up and down due to odds and amount of money wagered on a particular team.

Teasers Odds

There are times when betting on NCAA College Basketball that we find ourselves in favor of a team but not really liking the point spread. When these times happen, it is ideal to wager that team in a Teaser so you have the ability to sort of bend the point spread. With teasers, depending on how many teams you play, you can move the line for a certain amount of points.

In NCAA College Basketball, you can move the line up or down depending on whether your team is the favorite or the underdog. One thing to keep in mind with teasers is that if one team on your ticket loses, your entire play is a loss. Various online sportsbooks have various rules depending on how many teams you will be betting on.

Some sportsbooks will only allow you to move the point spread 4, 4.5 or 5 points while others will allow you to move the point spread up to 16 points but it will cost you. If you are to move the line 4 points, it will return you +117 for 2 teams but if you play those same 2 teams and move the line by 16 points, it will cost you -3000!

Odds on NCAAB Futures

Future bets are those with the outcomes that will be known in a relatively distant future. An excellent example of a future bet is the March Madness winner. Betting on which team is going to win the next year’s Playoff would be a future bet.

Odds on favorites are almost always higher early on than just before the event. You can take an advantage of this and win yourself nice money. The problem is that with the event taking place weeks or months into the future, you just don’t have enough information to be able to make a correct pick.

Who knows what the future holds? A key player might get injured, for example, which would drastically reduce his team’s chances of winning. In turn, that would also reduce your chances of winning the bet. But exactly that is what makes this type of bet so attractive.

Odds on NCAAB Props

There are some online bookmakers that let you make NCAAB bets on things that don’t have too much to do with what’s happening on the court. Some examples of NCAAB proposition bets include betting on which venue will host the March Madness Final Four next year or which NCAAB venue will sell the most tickets the next season.

Sometimes, sportsbooks come up with prop bets on their own as a way of promoting their NCAAB betting offer. But, sometimes, they might decide to leave it to the bettors. Some online bookmakers let the players propose bets, based on which the bookies set up the odds. How high the odds are is something that depends on how likely/unlikely the outcome is to happen.

How are the Odds Set?

To understand how oddsmakers decide on the odds, you need to understand how sportsbooks work. When placing a bet, you’re betting against the bookmaker – if you win, they lose. This is why it’s in their interest to offer as low odds as possible on outcomes that will probably happen. Therefore, the odds on big favorites are always very short.

If they could, sportsbooks would offer low odds on every bet. But they can’t do that. If they did it, no one would ever want to place any bets. This is why the bookmakers need to offer such odds that would seem attractive to bettors, while still ensuring the profit for the house.

The result is that the odds for every event are set in such a way that no matter what happens, the sportsbooks get their profit. This is why you would not win any money even if you covered every potential outcome. For instance, if you bet a hundred bucks both on Tennessee and Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference of NCAA basketball, you would not make profits.

Let’s say the odds on each moneyline bet are -110. If you place $100 on each possible outcome, no matter which team won the game, you would win a total of $190. The problem is that your stake in total would’ve been $200. And that means the sportsbook would earn $10 off your bets. The profit of $10 on $200 equals 5%, which refers to the profit margin of the bookmaker.

Why Do NCAAB Odds Change All the Time?

The odds change because the sportsbooks want to ensure they will get their profit no matter what. They don’t want to leave anything up to chance. So, if bettors are placing much more money on Tennessee Volunteers, the sportsbooks are going to make the odds drop on this team.

At the same time, they will make the odds on Volunteers’ opponent go up, thus creating an incentive for bettors to back this team. This way, the sportsbook is making sure that they’re going to get their profit margin.

This practically means that the odds have nothing to do with what the sportsbooks think about an NCAAB game. Instead, they reflect the opinions of the bettors. If the odds on Tennessee Volunteers are dropping, it means that more money is being placed on this team. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that this team is actually going to win.

So, how can you take this to your advantage? Knowing that the odds can’t tell you which team is going to win means that you need to put your trust only in yourself. Instead of focusing on the odds, you better focus on your college basketball knowledge.

Live In-Game Odds

Many sportsbooks now offer live in-game wagering on most sports, including NCAA College Basketball. This is basically defined as betting on a game after it has already started. Depending on what’s happening inside the arena, sportsbooks might decide to adjust the odds or manipulate the point spreads.

For example, if you play a team that’s winning and they are currently already up by 10 but the opposing team loses one of their top players due to injury, the point spread for that team may rise up to -15 or even -20 points. It’s the oddsmakers feel that they will not only win by the amount they are up currently, but will also continue to increase that lead. Furthermore, some bookmakers might decide to leave the -10 spread in the offer, but you can be certain that the odds are not going to be as good as they were pre-game.

Likewise, the odds might rise if the favorite is playing poorly in the early stages of the match. And you can take advantage of that. If a college basketball team that’s packed with talented players is losing to a major underdog in the first half, it could be wise to bet on that team to turn the match around.

Let’s say Virginia Cavaliers are playing NC State in the regular season of the NCAA basketball. The pre-match odds on the Cavaliers are -1000, which is far from being attractive. Betting a hundred bucks would bring you a profit of only 10 dollars. Doesn’t seem like a good deal, right?

But, what if Virginia Cavaliers lose the first half, like they did in 2019? In that case, the odds on the favorite would go up ahead of the start of the second half. They would probably be around -150. What this means is that if they managed to turn the game around, you would get a net profit of $67 on a $100 bet.

Thanks to the fact that the odds can change drastically in live betting, many bettors decide to use this tactic and make their fortune backing the favorites.  

Which Sportsbooks Have the Best Odds for NCAAB Events?

Different sportsbooks have different profit margins, that is, the percentage that the house gets no matter what the outcome is. Bigger sportsbooks tend to have a profit percentage that’s not too high. It’s because the betting volume at those sportsbooks is huge, so even a tiny percent brings them huge profits. Earning 5% on a betting volume that’s measured in millions is definitely a big earning.

This is why big-name sportsbooks are likely to offer pretty decent odds on all NCAAB events. Of course, this doesn’t mean that every other bookmaker offers odds that are not as good. On the contrary, sometimes smaller sportsbooks offer better odds than big ones.

It’s because when you’re new to the betting business, you need to do all in your power to attract bettors to sign up to your sportsbook. And the best way to get them swarming to your website is to give them better odds than what your competitors are giving.

Picking Sportsbooks with Attractive Odds on Favorites

The odds on the favorite are going to drop if a lot more money is being wagered on that team than on the underdog. But how drastic the odds change is going to be depends on the betting volume. Betting a grand on an outcome will not make the odds change if the betting volume is several million.

The problem is that betting volume on most NCAA Basketball events is not that high. Especially not at sportsbooks that don’t have too many basketball bettors. If someone puts several thousand dollars on the favorite, the odds on the favorite will drop significantly.

This is why big sportsbooks usually have much better odds on favorites than those with a smaller number of players. If you’re going to bet on the favorite, you can be sure you’re gonna get a better value if you stick to the world’s largest sportsbooks.

Choosing Sportsbooks with High Odds on Underdogs

Many sportsbooks intentionally boost the odds on the underdogs in order to make the players bet their money on that outcome. It sometimes happens if they’re almost 100% certain that the outcome in question is not going to happen.

In other cases, they do it simply in order to restore the balance that was disrupted with a big bet on the favorite. If that is what’s happening, you can take advantage of that and grab yourself a nice value. Of course, this is only true if you believe an upset is actually going to happen.

Other Criteria for Picking the Best Sportsbook

Offering attractive NCAA Basketball odds is one of the things that make a sportsbook attractive to bettors. Sure, it’s nice to get better value, but that shouldn’t be your only criteria when picking your NCAAB sportsbook. There are plenty of other factors that come into play.

Your ideal college basketball sportsbook needs to have an operating license and a great track record when it comes to paying out the winnings. It also needs to have a website that’s easy to navigate, plenty of banking options, advanced security features, and so on.

So, how are you supposed to find one such sportsbook? To do it on your own, you would need to spend hours in front of your computer, doing your research. Luckily, there is one much simpler solution. You can just trust our judgment and go with an NCAAB sportsbook approved by Vegas Odds!

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