College basketball is the biggest sport in the United States in terms of teams and games played. 350 Division I teams exist, and each plays around 30 regular season games. The sheer number of games, which exceeds 5,000, is daunting to consider. Along with a long and busy regular season, sports bettors see a lot of action with conference tournaments, the NCAA National Tournament, and the National Invitational Tournament (NIT), all of which are held after the regular season has ended.
Add to this the strong connection between the NBA and NCAA basketball, where fans of the NBA will bet on college games and follow star players, and you’ve got the perfect scenario for a huge number of sports bets being placed on college hoops.
NCAA Basketball Betting Articles
- NCAA Basketball Matchup Tips
- NCAA Basketball Season Preparation
- NCAA Basketball Daily Routine
- NCAA Basketball Rankings
- NCAA Basketball Upsets
Basics of Betting
When it comes to betting on college basketball, sports bettors usually have access to three basic wagers. These are the moneyline, point spread, and totals (over/under). Not all online sportsbooks will offer bettors moneylines on college basketball games, but you can certainly find them.
With NCAA basketball, the moneyline bet is offered in the most basic way. You simply choose which team you think will win the game outright. If you are correct, you’ll win your wager. Of course, if you go with the favorite, you’ll have to risk a lot to win $100 on a game between one of the best and worst college teams. But if you can get moneylines on games that offer major mismatches, you can just about guarantee yourself a profit throughout the season, as it won’t matter by how much the dominant team wins. They just have to win.
The point spread is always offered on NCAA basketball contests. These are often easier to find than the moneyline. You’ll want to shop around for the best lines and look for games that are not attracting a lot of action. Often, you’ll find that those games that are under the radar screen and are not receiving major media coverage offer soft lines. This is because bookies have paid less attention to them, as a large number of bettors won’t be wagering on them. Remember, in any given week there are around 350 games, and that means that certain ones will be dealt with by bookies very quickly.
Totals wagers will often have a decent range, depending upon the teams involved and even the conference. Of course, overtime can really harm your ability to hit an under wager. When betting totals, take a very close look at how each team’s defense matches up with their opponent’s offense.
One type of bet that professional sports bettors are able to make a profit on, as long as they understand how to exploit it, is the half-time or second-half bet. Just about every sportsbook provides this wagering opportunity on college basketball games.
Published during the half-time of each game, spread and totals pertain to the second-half of the game only. Thus, you’re not choosing which team will win the game outright. You’re picking the club that will win the half. The same holds true for the totals. You are wagering on the total points scored in the second-half.
In order to take advantage of this type of bet, you’ll need to have a good sense of what happened in the first-half. Understanding what occurred and what possible adjustments might be made by teams during the half will help you make the quick decisions necessary to make cash on these kinds of wagers.
There are riskier types of bet that you can make too. NCAA basketball futures betting is popular. And you’ll find a range of props on which you may wager too. Of course, parlays are available.
However, none of these bets will be your moneymakers. These may be interesting bets to make if you’re in the money, but otherwise, stay away from them. You want to wager on the basic bets as noted above in order to keep a healthy bankroll and make money throughout the season.
Remember that props and parlays tend to be bad bets. Moneyline, totals, and second-half bets offer the lowest risk, and point spreads, under the right circumstances, are often worth pursuing.
Finding the Right Games to Bet
There are some essential things to consider in order to successfully wager on college basketball. Because there are so many college basketball teams, the primary action that a sports bettor must undertake is to identify conferences and teams that they will focus on throughout the season. As the season proceeds, they will need to find games that offer real value.
Sports bettors need to consider:
- College hoop mismatches.
- Home teams that never lose.
- Middling underdogs to wager on if the spread is over 10 points.
- Matchups that by their nature give the underdog an edge that might not be readily observable. As an example, an underdog team that has an effective inside game is playing a favored club whose top forward has been injured.
- A team that has just played a rough and long OT game. Take the early odds on such a game and bet against the tired club.
- Betting against weaker teams that have travelled a distance.
- Top teams that were blown out or had a close call in their last game and have something to prove in their next are good bets. They will usually overachieve.
- Any team that you’ve managed to determine, through your handicapping, has been given a soft line but holds a decided edge.
- Take advantage of odds posted prior to a roster change, such as an injury to an important player, that will eventually result in an adjustment of those odds. Get a bet down on the old odds before they are realigned to accommodate the roster change.
Riding Certain Players
As a sports bettor, you can ride star college players to numerous wins, especially when the team is engaged in a major mismatch that favors it. However, be careful of teams that don’t have depth or that don’t put solid players on the floor who can offer the star substantial backup. College basketball is a team sport, and role players are very important.
If a college hoop team has rabid fans and an intimidating arena, those two elements can give them a major edge in just about any game. Look to the home court advantage, which is a major element in just about any basketball game, to see if that will take a team over the top. As long as there’s strong support for the team on the home court, they have an advantage.
There will also be a few teams that simply play well wherever they are. These teams are usually the same ones that are somewhere in the top three to five of their conference.
In college basketball, one reason that home court is so important has to do the fact that the fans are very close to the action. Their reactions can influence energy on the court and referee calls.
One tactic to use when betting on college basketball is to choose three or four specific conferences and focus on the teams in those conferences. Conferences such as the Big 12, Big Ten, ACC, and Conference USA are all likely candidates. Really, any conference is worth considering as long as you can properly monitor and handicap the teams. If access to up-to-date information is available, you should be able to do a good job picking games within a league.
A team in college basketball, in its own conference, will play clubs that it will simply dominate each time. Often it will be the teams at the top easily handling those in the cellar. These are teams that you want to identify immediately and wager on often. Of course, in order to do this, you’ll need to recognize those clubs that will be the weakest in the conference, as well as those that will dominate. Often, but not always, past history is important here.
There will also be teams that are somewhere in the middle or bottom of the pack that will be able to stay with a better team, perhaps beating the spread or even winning the game outright. The only way to really determine if there’s a potential upset in the making is through careful handicapping and by monitoring that conference every day.
Smart conference betting can result in numerous wins for the savvy sports bettor who is willing do to the legwork needed. Focus your betting on specific conferences.
Weak Elements, Injuries, and the Mid-Season
One thing to be aware of is that as weak teams get to the midpoint of the season, they will begin to show the results of the stress and strain that they have been under. As they go into the second half, performances often suffer. Identify teams that lack depth, are prone to injury, or that are weak in a certain area. Look for them to unravel sometime around midseason. Bet against such teams.
College Basketball’s Postseason Play
College basketball has an extremely busy postseason. You will find conference tournaments, the NCAA National Basketball Tournament, and the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). There are hundreds of games to wager on over the course of about five weeks.
The great thing about conference tournaments is that usually you’re handicapping games where the teams have already met numerous times in the regular season. When putting together your matchups for conference tournaments, you’ll certainly want to take into consideration past performance during the regular season. However, make sure you determine what circumstances led to a particular performance by a team.
As an example, did one of the lower rung teams just barely beat one the conference’s best clubs? Why did that happen? Did the better team sustain an injury to a key player during the game, were there a few calls by officials that changed the game, or did the better team have an off night? You need to look at more than numbers to make a smart pick.
Making Money on NCAA Basketball
When wagering on college basketball, sports bettors always need to lower their risk. It’s impossible to know everything about every team and to consider every game or conference. Lower your risk by focusing on specific conferences, and getting to know the teams in each of those conferences.
When you get down to the nitty-gritty, search for games that give you a real edge and a better-than-average chance of winning your bet. Play the moneyline or spread. If you don’t like either on a particular game, perhaps the over/under is a good fit. It’s advised that you stay away from high-risk wagers, including parlays, and those that lower your payout, such as teasers. When you bet utilize wagering units, putting more units on teams and games of which you are most sure.
One note of caution: Never blindly make such bets. Doing so will compromise your ability to make the most of your bankroll. You need to always perform sound research and use solid handicapping practices when making your picks.
There are numerous helpful pages on this website that are specifically focused on college basketball betting. Be sure to use these pages, as they will offer you insights, tips, and techniques that are very useful. Thoroughly executed matchups will enable you to make winning picks as a college basketball sports bettor.