College basketball is a popular betting market because not only are the games entertaining, but there is so much action available. Wagering on spreads is a great way to target college basketball, so we’ll breakdown the ins and outs of this bet type as it pertains to NCAAB.
What Are NCAAB Spread Odds & How Do They Work?
Each game is assigned a spread, which is the projected winning margin. You have the favorite (minus the points) and the underdog (plus the points).
If you choose the favorite, you need them to win by more than the spread. Underdog bettors can hit their wager if their team wins outright or loses by fewer than the spread.
Here’s an example:
La Salle +17.5 (-115) at Villanova -17.5 (-115)
If you take Villanova, they need to win by 18 or more. If you take La Salle, they need to lose by 17 or fewer. If La Salle pulls off the upset and wins outright, your bet hits as well.
One thing you’ll notice in college basketball is that there are some large point spreads, especially when national title contenders face unranked opponents.
How to Read College Basketball Spread Odds
College basketball spreads are usually displayed in American format, but you may also see them shown as decimals and fractions. Below you’ll find a breakdown of each style.
How American Odds Work
This is where odds are displayed in positive (i.e. +120) or negative (ex. -130) integers. Your bet will payout more on underdogs (positive odds) than favorites (negative odds).
Let’s provide a few examples to help with your understanding:
Risk $100 Duke -3 (-110)
- Divide 110 / 100 = 1.1
- Divide 100 / 1.1 = 90.9
- Your payout is $90.90
Win $100 Tennessee -7.5 (-110)
- Divide 110 / 100 = 1.1
- Multiply 1.1 x 100 = 110
- Your stake would need to be $110 to win $100.
Stake $100 Florida +3.5 (+105)
- Divide 105 / 100 = 1.05
- Multiply 1.05 x 100 = 105
- Your potential profit is $105 on this wager.
How Decimal Odds Work
This is a format where decimals are shown. Think of it in terms of $1 wagers. The decimal represents your stake plus the return if your wager wins.
If I bet on Villanova -2.5 at 1.91 odds, that means on a $1 wager, I would get back $1.91 ($1 stake plus $0.91 profit).
A good way to think about decimal odds is that smaller decimals mean lower payouts and vice versa.
How Fractional Odds Work
Fractional odds are more commonly displayed in horse racing, but we’ll break it down for you. Let’s say that you’re taking an alternate spread at 2/1 odds. To calculate your payout, multiply your stake by the numerator.
In this case, if I put a $100 wager, I’d multiply it by two to see that my payout would be $200.
In the event where the denominator in your fraction isn’t 1, here’s what you do:
- 5/2 odds
- Divide 5 / 2 = 2.5
- Multiply your stake by 2.5
- The result is your payout
What to Look for When Placing an NCAAB Spread Bet
Here are some important factors to consider when placing an NCAAB spread wager:
- Monitor any line movement to see how the market has reacted.
- Check to see if the public is heavily favoring one side.
- Consider the head-to-head matchup to find any edges.
- Make sure to account for any player injuries.
- Check out our college basketball odds page to find the best bet.
- Read into a team’s strength of schedule to see if they’ve beaten any tough opponents.
- Look into home/away splits because some teams play better on their home court.
Best Sportsbooks to Place College Basketball Spread Bets
Be sure to check out the following sportsbooks for your college basketball spread bets:
Caesars is an industry titan with a reputable name to have you feeling satisfied throughout your college basketball wagering experience. There are numerous banking methods to make payment convenient along with valuable welcome bonuses to help build your bankroll.
You’ll be able to place wagers on the spread for the full game as well as first and second halves. There is also a live betting platform, allowing you to make a bet during the game on odds that update in real time, depending on what has happened so far.
While doing this, you’ll be racking up points for Caesars’ terrific VIP rewards system. Be sure to join today to take advantage of one of the best online sportsbooks in the industry.
FanDuel is among the most user-friendly platforms on the market. With a sleek interface and high-functioning mobile app, you’ll be able to place your NCAAB wagers efficiently. There are also numerous promotions to give you more value on your bets.
At FanDuel, not only can you place spreads on the full game and halves, but also alternate spreads, where you can choose a more favorable number to increase your chances or shoot for the moon on a greater payout.
There are also several player props available here, which isn’t often the case in the college basketball market. FanDuel is a must for college basketball bettors.
DraftKings started off as one of the leaders in the daily fantasy sports space before expanding into one of the most successful sportsbooks in the country. You’ll enjoy a robust selection of college basketball wagers, including spreads.
There are also helpful promotions along with a lucrative welcome bonus to get you off to a strong start. Their props selection is expansive and you’ll also have the option for Same Game Parlays.
DraftKings is also one of the first operators to post betting lines, giving you an opportunity to place your college basketball spread bets sooner rather than later.
BetMGM emerged out of a partnership between MGM Resorts and Entain Holdings. They have evolved into one of the premier sportsbooks in the industry, often becoming one of the first operators to set up shop in new markets.
You’ll find everything you need here: from fair odds to useful promotions, to a helpful customer support team and multiple banking methods. What I love about BetMGM is their live betting platform, which also includes live streaming on select events.
BetMGM offers a user-friendly app that really optimizes the betting experience. If you’re betting spreads on college basketball, you won’t want to miss out on BetMGM.
PointsBet has been able to establish a foothold in this market despite originating in Australia. The reason for this is simple: it’s one of the more innovative platforms around.
They offer a unique betting style called “PointsBetting," where your wager will pay more if your selection wins by a greater margin, but you’ll also lose more if the opposite occurs. This is a fast-paced and intense form of betting that can be highly entertaining.
There are also promotions to help guide you in your college basketball spread wagering venture, so check out PointsBet today.
How to Pick College Basketball Spread Betting Sites
Here are some important factors to think about when picking a college basketball spread betting site:
- Be sure that their welcome bonus is lucrative and has lower wagering requirements.
- You need the site to have competitive odds with quick posting times.
- There should be promotions that cater towards college basketball.
- The customer support team should be accessible.
- There needs to be multiple payment methods to suit your preferences.
- The app should be functional, without any technical issues to detract from your experience.
Why Should I Bet College Basketball Spreads?
You should bet on college basketball, including spread betting for the following reasons:
- You won’t have to pay inflated prices on favorites as you would with moneylines.
- You can take an underdog and still win your bet if they lose the game.
- Studying the line movement can help you find an edge in your selection.
- Sometimes you may discover an advantage in a spread that’s too high or too low.
Why Shouldn’t I Bet College Basketball Spreads?
There are also some drawbacks to college basketball spreads, such as:
- The number may be really high, making it difficult to cover.
- Teams can bench their players in a blowout, causing them to fail to cover the spread.
- Late game fouling can have an impact on the margin of victory, affecting the spread result.
- The odds are often -110 on both sides, so the return on investment isn’t high.
College Basketball Spread Betting for Beginners
If you’re new to college basketball spread betting, consider these tips:
- Keep track of your wins and losses so you can see how you’re doing.
- Never risk too much of your bankroll on a single wager.
- Always bet what you feel comfortable losing and no more than that.
- Make sure to check each team’s record against the spread to see if they’ve been undervalued by the market.
- Shop around different betting sites to find the best line.
Additional Types of NCAAB Bets Available
This is where you bet Over or Under on the assigned number. It can be related to a full game or half.
Example: Over 126 in Duke/North Carolina
In this case, the combined score needs to be 127 or more for you to win.
These are team or player-based outcomes that focus on specific stats.
Example: Oscar Tshiebwe Over 18.5 Points
Here we need the Kentucky star to score 19 or more points.
These are bets that are settled at the end of the season, usually relating to team or player achievements.
Example: Baylor to win the National Championship (+1600)
Baylor needs to win the title for this wager to hit.
Parlays are combinations of two or more wagers. They can be composed of bet types like spreads, moneylines, totals, and props. They may be from the same or different events.
The appeal here is that the return of investment is higher, but it’s also more challenging to win.
That’s because you need to hit each leg on your parlay for it to win.
Example: Duke -5.5, Kentucky +3.5
I’d need both teams to cover the spread to win my parlay.
Learn more about how to bet spreads.