College basketball, in general, is a fan favorite to watch due to the heart and effort that teams put out just for a win. This often leads to some impressive stories on the year and even some very volatile moments when certain teams play each other.
For college basketball betting, this is also similar. Bettors can enjoy the games and teams they love with the additional bonus of possibly winning some money along the way.
This article is a guide to getting started wagering on college basketball. Also, you can find tips along the way to make sure the betting experience goes as smoothly as possible. Additionally, learn more about wagering on college football.
How the College Basketball Season is Constructed
When looking at a typical college basketball season, it is somewhat unique when compared to other leagues. At the beginning of a season, you will notice that teams will play the majority of their non-conference games. At this time period, many teams will engage in tournaments or invitationals at select neutral sites with many of these games occurring on consecutive days.
Once Christmas arrives, most conferences will look to begin their league play. These games are some of the most important ones on the schedule for a variety of reasons. Conference games lead to seeding for the conference tournaments later on. Then, depending on how teams have performed in the season and in conference play, it will translate over to the “March Madness” tournament or other lesser-tier postseason tournaments.
The end goal for a lot of Division I teams is to play for the National Championship. While there are favorites every year, there are a lot of programs with very solid teams that perform better than expected. This usually leads to upsets during March Madness and what fans love most about college basketball.
Where to Bet on the College Basketball
Having a solid bet ready to go on college basketball is one thing, but finding a good sportsbook is another game. Luckily for you, and potentially where you live, you should have a variety of different options. Betting laws vary by state. So it is important that you check where you are at and adjust to those options. Some states prohibit all college betting while others have restrictions, like not allowing wagers on in-state teams.
Next, you will want to research at least a few different sportsbooks. You should be asking yourself what features you want, like best payouts, mobile betting, and other scenarios that can affect your betting experience. You also want to make sure it is a trusted and legal sportsbook. If your location allows for this, try to stay away from offshore bookies if you can for now. If not, you will need to apply the same strict rules when selecting a sportsbook.
When you do narrow it down to a few sportsbooks, you will want to compare and contrast how each one matches up. You can check who has the better odds, the best payment methods, the better interface, and even customer service.
Doing the little things like this will also help your betting experience by a mile. If you can carefully pick and choose what sportsbook works for you, then you can apply the same research methods to sports betting.
Different Types of College Basketball Bets
When you have done your research, and are ready to start placing bets on a team, there are a variety of different betting options. While one is not better than another, some sports bettors have preferences. The three most common sports bets to make in college basketball are the moneyline, over/under (total), and the point spread.
The moneyline is a straight-up bet on who you think will win. Below is an example of how to read the line.
Duke Blue Devils: -115
North Carolina Tar Heels: +110
The Blue Devils are the favorite here, as depicted by the minus sign. This means you would need to wager $115 in order to get a $100 return if they win. The Tar Heels are the underdog, as the plus sign gives it away. A $100 wager on them would return you $110 if they were to win.
The over/under bet, or the total, is a wager on how many points both teams combined will score. For example, a sportsbook might offer a number like 142.5, and then an accompanying moneyline odds will follow it, like (+100).
This means that you have to decide if both teams together will score over that amount or under that amount. The reason for the .5 is so that there is not a tie or “push” in the score.
Finally, you have the point spread bet, which is arguably one of the more popular bets. This is a bet for the margin of victory for a team. For example, let us look at two teams:
Kentucky Wildcats: +3.5
LSU Tigers: -3.5
The Tigers are expected to win since they have the minus sign, meaning the same rules apply as if you were reading the moneyline. The difference here is that the Tigers have to win the game by at least four points. For the Wildcats, they either have to win the game outright or lose by no more than three points. This means you will cover your bet. If not, they will be going against the spread.
How to Live Bet on the College Basketball
For live college basketball betting, you will need to prepare almost the same way as you do with the other bets. Take everything you just learned above, and now you can apply it in real time. If you are interested in live betting, you will need to make sure that your sportsbook even has it to begin with.
Live betting allows for a handful of different opportunities and an experience that is different from traditional sports betting. You literally get to watch the performance unfold as you place your bets. One drawback that some betters might experience with live betting is that they could potentially bet too much. The ease of placing multiple wagers throughout a game may unintentionally get bettors above their intended loss limit.
Additional Tips for Betting the College Basketball
College teams vary from year to year, especially with constant roster changes with players graduating or moving on to the NBA. Instead of betting on a team that has not played yet, you might want to wait for teams to compete in a few games to get an idea of what to expect. This means you have a good look at how well they perform on offense and how well they stop teams on defense.
For example, on offense, how well has the team been shooting? You would want to look at their field goal percentage and how well they shoot free throws. You also want to keep in mind defensive styles and who the coach is. Syracuse and coach Jim Boeheim were famous for having a 2-3 zone. Back in the day, you had Louisville and Rick Pitino with a full-court press.
It is important that you do your research no matter what team you want to bet on. The key here is to be good at researching everything that could affect the game.
College Basketball FAQ
I like a lot of college basketball teams, where should I start?
The easiest thing to do is to pick one team, and one conference to research and not try to focus on 30 different teams. However, do not rely on that one team because it is your favorite. This will help your research, but that team is not out there playing for you and your money.
What tools can I use for research?
Stats are very good at telling you a lot about a team. This information can be found on websites like ESPN or other reputable websites that track stats for sports teams. Just make sure that if you find a stat, then you can locate that same stat somewhere else to prove it is legit.
Should I track my progress?
You should definitely track how well your bets have performed. It will be difficult to figure out what to improve on if you do not know what works for or against you. Tracking your results is one of the keys to successful betting.
What if I don’t feel confident after researching?
If you feel confident in your research ability to make a bet, then you are good to go. However, if you are still uncomfortable with your decision, then you can simply write down what you think instead of putting money on the line. This way, you will know if your prediction is correct without losing money.
Team A is undefeated, ranked first in the nation, and looks good. Should I bet on them?
Betting on a favorite team is difficult since everyone else is betting on them too. The lines are generally higher than other less popular teams, and more research is needed to justify placing a bet on them.