College Basketball Odds

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No collegiate basketball season has matched the anticipation that came with the 2020-21 campaign, especially after last year’s NCAA Tournament was so abruptly “pandemic-canceled.” The 2021-2022 NCAA Tournament odds are already picking favorites for the season.

The 2020-21 college hoops season was destined to pit Gonzaga and Baylor against each other from the start, as they were ranked 1-2, respectively, from just about wire to wire.

A romp by the Bears in the title game might have surprised a few, since it dealt the Zags their one and only defeat of the campaign.

Cheers, however, likely emanated from all corners of the Hoosier State at that outcome, since it secured the 1975-96 Indiana Hoosiers’ continued status as the game’s last undefeated team.

The Bulldogs and Bears again figure prominently on all 2021-22 preseason top-10 lists, but the most powerful team just might be the one that holds more national-championship crowns than anyone—UCLA.

Live Basketball Game Odds

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Current NCAA Basketball Betting Odds

Interest in the game’s blueblood programs will always reign supreme, and these include the UCLA Bruins (11 national titles), Kentucky (eight crowns), North Carolina (six) and Duke (five).

Indiana (five), Connecticut (four) and Kansas (three) are in there, too. Lately, Virginia and Villanova, winners of three of the past five championships, must also reckoned with annually.

Sports betting is fueling the rising popularity of college hoops, and athletic programs are starting to team up with sportsbooks.

In a ground-breaking partnership, PointsBet struck a five-year deal with the University of Colorado in September 2020. Terms weren’t disclosed, but it is more than a pact for the book to advertise at Buffaloes games.

Since 2017, William Hill has provided advertising at UNLV and Nevada football and basketball games. Expect a precipitous rise in such associations.

Best Sportsbooks For College Basketball Betting

There is a wide smorgasbord of NCAA basketball betting lines at online sportsbooks, and customers’ favorites depend upon what they are seeking and where they are located.

For instance, FanDuel provides odds on teams to qualify for the Final Four, and many books post conference-tournament numbers.

FanDuel and DraftKings are in a dozen jurisdictions, BetMGM, William Hill, and BetRivers just a few less. However, the industry is changing rapidly, almost on a daily basis, so it would be beneficial to research the accurate particulars for your jurisdiction.

Odds can vary, always making it wise to shop. Villanova, for instance (as this is being written), is +900 to win it all at both DraftKings and BetRivers, +1200 at William Hill. To a $100 bettor, that additional $300 potential profit is not minor.

This is not meant to single out any particular book, either, only to highlight differences. Baylor is +1700 at both DraftKings and BetRivers, +1200 at William Hill.

Syracuse stands out. The Orange are +3300 at both DraftKings and BetRivers, +7500 at William Hill. Anyone liking Jimmy Boeheim coming home, to join brother Buddy and pop-coach Jim, must tap that considerable advantage at William Hill.

Incentives vary, too, as exemplified in a review of what some books offer for March Madness.

NCAA Basketball Betting

There are several ways to dabble in the NCAA basketball point spreads, and we offer the below table to illustrate the most common way to make a wager.

SportsbookPoint SpreadMoneylineTotals
Team A-4 (-110)-190O 130 (-110)
Team B+4 (-110)+160U 130 (-110)

There are “side” bets, involving either taking or giving the points, or the game to finish Over or Under the designated total. Both have a -110 price; for example, a patron must risk $110 to win $100. That added 10% is the vigorish, or “vig,” the book’s charge for taking the bet.

In our example, Team A (-4) must win by at least five points or B (+4) must lose by no more than three points for wagers on either to pay off. If A wins by four, it’s a push for either side and both get their money back.

Regarding the 130 total, if both teams combine for 131 or more points, Over wagers win. If both tally 129 or fewer points, Under bettors cash their tickets. If both scores tally 130, it’s a push and both sides get their money back.

The moneyline means a bettor is taking either team to win outright. In the favorite’s case, the return percentage will be less because it doesn’t have to win by 4 points. At -190, it would cost $190 to win $100 if A just wins the game.

If someone thinks the 4-point underdog can win the game outright, the return will be greater because he or she is not taking that cushion. If B wins outright, a $100 wager will return $260—the principle and the $160 winnings.

Off those options, there are parlays. If a patron like Team A minus the point and the game to go “over,” they can be combined in such a parlay. Both must win, and the return is about 3.6 times the wager; a $10 bet will return about $36. Again, the vigorish does not factor into this bet, only a singular side wager.

NCAA Women’s Basketball Odds

Several sites book women’s NCAA basketball games but to access those companies a customer must be in a certain state, like New Jersey for 888. 

The women are more deliberate, but it is an entertaining game that is divided into four 10-minute quarters. It moves along, too, because there is only one TV timeout, at the first dead ball after the halfway point of each quarter.

The top program has been Connecticut, with four consecutive titles from 2013-16 and 11 overall. Stanford, however, defeated Arizona in early April for its third title, its first since 1992.

Five different teams have won the past five NCAA Tournaments, so it appears to have become a more wide-open field.

NCAA Basketball Futures

Anyone bullish in the summertime, say, about a team’s chances to win it all, or at least reach the Final Four months down the road, can wager on that program long before the NCAA Tournament is staged.

Favorable March Madness odds can be had when taking such an early position. Many oddsmakers at sportsbooks establish these early odds for just that reason, to satisfy the public’s growing thirst and hunger to partake in the action.

A $100 wager on Team A to win it all, at +2000 (or 20-to-1 odds), would return $2,100 (the $100 principle plus the $2,000 winnings). The vigorish does not affect futures wagers.

By the time the Madness begins, if it’s among the élite squads, those odds can be considerably lower and its holder’s grin promises to be wide since he or she will be holding a ticket with such favorable odds.

College Basketball Odds

Oddsmakers at each sportsbook are responsible for establishing the aforementioned point spreads, totals, futures odds, and all other numbers and figures related to college basketball betting.

They do so with a combination of experience, “feel”, power rankings, and insights from colleagues and other experts. Some also admit to implementing Ken Pomeroy’s vast databases in the foundation of their work, especially point spreads.

Therefore, it is wise for anyone partaking in college basketball betting to subscribe to the services provided by Pomeroy, known as KenPom, for its $20 annual fee.

Injuries, coaching changes, and strings of victories and defeats will all alter a team’s odds as the season unfolds.

Limitations On College Basketball Betting

Rules and restrictions govern the fast-changing industry. The minimum age requirement is 21 in every legalized jurisdiction except Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Washington, DC, where anyone 18 and older can make a wager. 

In Iowa and Tennessee, collegiate basketball player propositions are illegal. In Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Washington, DC, betting on collegiate teams within their borders is prohibited.

In DC and New Jersey, furthermore, collegiate events within those jurisdictions are off-limits. Oregon bars all wagering on college sports.

Those interested in making online NCAA basketball wagers should research the specific rules that govern his or her jurisdiction. 

FAQs—NCAA Basketball Betting And Odds

Is it legal to be on college basketball games online?

Yes. Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C., currently have some form of legalized mobile betting on college basketball.

Where can I find college basketball Vegas odds?

At VegasInsider.com, current figures are available for many casinos’ sportsbooks. You can also check out any of the mobile betting apps that are legal and live in Nevada.

Where can I find the best NCAA basketball picks?

Handicappers and experts can be found all over social media. There are some very wise voices on other platforms, like the Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN). Gaming Today offers some pretty sharp insights, too, in our NCAA picks.

Who sets NCAA basketball betting odds?

Oddsmakers concoct the odds for their respective sportsbooks, using their guile, experience, power ratings, and KenPom databases. Those figures move according to the market to limit the book’s exposure and liability.

Does DraftKings offer college basketball lines?

Yes, in states with legal online betting, DraftKings offers college basketball lines. Most of the industry-leading sports betting apps carry college basketball lines for most NCAA games. 

About the Author

Rob Miech

Veteran sportswriter Rob Miech covers soccer and does features for Gaming Today. He has written about college hoops for the Las Vegas Sun, CBS SportsLine and the Pasadena Star-News. He is the author of four books, including Sports Betting for Winners.

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