NCAA College Basketball Betting

Date IconLast Updated: 10 Jan 2024

College basketball is basketball in its purest form. While the NBA is more driven by individual superstars and the teams built around them, the collegiate game is by-and-large about the best teams and coaches.

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College Basketball Game Lines & Odds

College basketball game lines are based on American odds and figures in the same way that other American sports often are. The odds are based on how much money a bettor will win or lose on a NZ$100 bet or how large of a wager they must make to win NZ$100. For example, a typical NCAA moneyline will feature a favourite to win represented by a negative integer and an underdog usually represented by a positive integer. This is typical for all basketball betting scenarios.

Let’s say Duke University is facing Syracuse University. If Duke has a moneyline of -145 as the favourite, it would take a bet of NZ$145 to ensure a return of NZ$100 should the Blue Devils win. Likewise if Syracuse has a moneyline of +340, a NZ$100 bet on the Orange would win NZ$340.

Totals are generally established by an agreed upon over/under integer with the same type of moneyline. Say the over/under for the Duke v. Syracuse match is 170 with a line of +110 set for both the over or under. That would mean a NZ$110 win should the amount of points scored by both teams combined either be lower or higher than that number.

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Tips for Betting NCAA Basketball Games

The NCAA regular-season schedule is chock full of marquee matchups, much like the NBA and WNBA, in which teams will test their mettle against the best the nation has to offer both in and outside their conferences. Winning is always at a premium as tournament seeds are always on the line and in the back of players’ and coaches’ minds.

Early Season Tournaments

At the beginning of the season, programs traditionally book nonconference competition to prepare them for the annual grind against familiar opponents. These have evolved into grand spectacles and tournaments at neutral sites everywhere from New York City to the Bahamas and even Hawaii.

These tournaments are valuable to bettors both as opportunities to wager and observe, as they give fantastic early indications about the strength of top teams. Sometimes a team that may underperform after a high preseason ranking will give signs of doing so in these tournaments. Likewise, overlooked teams can use performances in these tournaments to boost their tournament stock and spark exciting seasons.

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NBA rivalries are nice, but college basketball rivalries are not only larger in number, they’re often more fierce and steeped in deep tradition. No matter the rankings of either opponent, these games will often swing back and forth in terms of momentum with upset wins and bitter losses sometimes making and breaking team’s seasons.

The pressure is often palpable for these matchups and every basket carries that extra oomph and in-your-face punch that basketball does better than most other American sports. These are often the best times to pick underdogs, as even the cream of the crop often have their struggles with a hated hungry rival.

Conference Games

Conference games, like rivalry games, have an extra bite to them due to familiarity bred over years of repeated matchups. Not all rivalries are conference-based, but most conference opponents end up being rivals.

These games seem to count double as teams battle for positioning in the conference tourneys against the opponents that know them best year-to-year. The tougher and deeper the conference, the more tightly contested its games. Stacked conferences like the ACC are known for beating each other up and making it difficult to maintain a high ranking.

But what makes life so difficult for the teams, makes betting so much fun for the fans, as conference battles are among the most entertaining and unpredictable of the season.

Conference Tournaments

Between the end of the regular season and Selection Sunday comes the last chance for teams on the bubble to get into the field of 68. Conference Tournament championships aren’t merely a source of pride, they guarantee NCAA Tournament entry to the winner.

These may only be the buildup to March Madness, but conference tournaments contain their own levels of excitement and surprising results. Betting on teams looking for deep runs can be thrilling as well as painful for bettors, but the high stakes atmosphere can lead to some serious under and over performing by all teams involved.

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Making NCAA Basketball Picks

Identifying and breaking down individual matchups is one of the most beneficial activities a bettor can practice when deciding what wagers to make on a particular game. Bettors with a solid grasp of a team’s starting five and its strengths and weaknesses are best equipped to make the best educated guesses on what team could be the another’s kryptonite.

Teams that live and die by the three-point shot could find themselves in trouble against even average teams that specialize in high percentage shots. Those same 3-point teams can knock off the best team in the nation if they’re on the mark.

Coaching impacts college basketball maybe more than any other sport at any other level. As leaders of young men, college basketball coaches are revered for their abilities to get the most out of their recruits and often enjoy repeat success season after season. There are certain coaches that have developed such reputations that their names transcend the programs they coach.

That being said, with so many tried-and-true systems of success matched against each other every season, something’s gotta give. That’s why understanding each coach’s system and what makes it tick is key for bettors to take into account when predicting big games.

Home-court advantage in college basketball is a magical thing. With different arenas of all different sizes meant to be packed to capacity, there can be some truly horrific conditions for opposing teams to endure. That’s why the raucous home upset has become a trademark of college basketball, as years of highlight reels will tell bettors.

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