NCAA Basketball Odds

NCAA basketball betting lines work just like those in most other sports, with college games typically featuring two sets of odds: a spread and a moneyline.

NCAA basketball spread betting is the most well-known; a line favoring one team is set — such as Kentucky -15 — and the bettor can wager either on the favorite to win by more than that number, or the underdog to win or lose by less than that amount. Moneyline bets are made on a team to win or lose with no spread, with underdogs offering more of a potential payout. Duke -120 means a better needs to wager $120 on the favored Blue Devils to win $100, while Clemson +180 means a $100 bet on the underdog Tigers earns $180 should they win. Bettors can also wager on the total, over or under the combined points scored.

NCAAB Tournament Odds

The NCAA basketball tournament is a major sporting event on the American calendar, captivating the nation for almost a month. What begins as a 68-team bracket is whittled down through a single-elimination format that leaves brings the last four teams together for the national semifinals and title game in early April.

Especially in the early rounds — 48 games are played over the tournament’s first extended weekend — wagering options are everywhere. Given how little time teams have to prepare, upsets are common, and it’s far from unusual for a dark horse to make it all the way to the Final Four, as Loyola of Chicago did in 2018.

Seeding in the NCAA tournament isn’t always indicative of betting odds. The seeding of smaller-conference teams can often be negatively impacted by the overall quality of the league they play in; conversely, mediocre major-conference options might not be as strong as they look.

Think Wichita State, Nevada, Xavier or some of the other bracket-busting upstarts of recent years, and know the higher-seeded team isn’t always the best bet.

The tournament is also a target-rich environment for moneyline betting, given how often underdogs pull upsets and how profitable even a single-game bet on a Cinderella can be.

And be careful of public money swinging the line more in favor of power teams: that cash often comes from fans betting out of loyalty, and sometimes it’s worth making the opposite play.