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NCAA Betting

The college basketball season features over a hundred teams and runs from mid-November to March, so it can be difficult to keep track of all the teams and research their opponents, many of whom play in different conferences. All that changes once March comes around and the Madness starts. The tournament features 68 teams that are eventually winnowed down to the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, and the Final Four until, finally, college basketball supremacy is decided.

The tournament features a playoff bracket, which you can also put money on, broken down into four 16-team regional divisions. The tournament spans from the beginning of March until the first week of April. No tournament features more underdog wins, stunning upsets, and late-game drama than March Madness.

Betting on NCAA Games

Betting on NCAA games is no different than betting on professional sports, though there can be minor restrictions in certain cases. For example, New Jersey sportsbooks allow you to bet on any college games except those located inside the state, so fans can’t wager on Rutgers or Princeton games. Otherwise, most bettors in most states where sports betting is legal can wager on virtually every college football and basketball game.

The biggest difference between betting on NCAA games and betting on the pros is that the lines, which we will discuss in the next section, tend to be much bigger because the differences in team strengths are much greater when you’re dealing with leagues that have over 120 teams who sometimes play Division II opponents.

NCAA Odds

Most NCAA bets will focus on the point spread, moneyline, or point total.

The point spread is the margin the favorite must win by in order to pay out. For example, if Alabama is a -3 favorite, they must win by at least 4 points for you to win the bet while a 3-point victory would be a “push,” or draw, so you get your money back. On the other hand, if Ohio State is a +4 underdog, you would still win the bet even if they lose, as long as they lose by 3 or fewer points.

The moneyline is a straight-up alternative to the point spread. The moneyline is the ratio of your initial bet to the payout and there are no margins to cover. If Michigan is a -200 favorite, you would need to wager $200 to win $100. If USC is a +150 underdog, you would win $150 on a $100 bet.

You can also wager on the point total. Each sportsbook will have a projection of the combined points scored in the game. You can bet on whether the actual point total will be over or under the projected total.

NCAA Tournaments

College sports pack a ton of excitement and that fervor kicks into high gear once the playoffs come around. Most recently, the NCAA introduced a four-team College Football Playoff, pitting the top four teams in the country in a two-round single-elimination tournament. The College Football Playoff follows Bowl Season. In the 2018-19 season, there were 39 Bowl games played from December 15 until the first week of January. Many of these take place during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays so you can follow all the action at home with your family.

College baseball and hockey don’t draw as much attention as the other two major sports but the college baseball and hockey playoffs are often as fun and exciting as the football bowls and March Madness and betting can certainly ramp up the intensity even further.

Of course, there is no bigger tournament than March Madness.

March Madness

The college basketball season features over a hundred teams and runs from mid-November to March, so it can be difficult to keep track of all the teams and research their opponents, many of whom play in different conferences. All that changes once March comes around and the Madness starts. The tournament features 68 teams that are eventually winnowed down to the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, and the Final Four until, finally, college basketball supremacy is decided.

The tournament features a playoff bracket, which you can also put money on, broken down into four 16-team regional divisions. The tournament spans from the beginning of March until the first week of April. No tournament features more underdog wins, stunning upsets, and late-game drama than March Madness.

NCAA Betting Markets

Once you are familiar with point spread, moneyline, and over/under bets, you can experiment with more exotic bet types available at online sportsbooks.

First are the quarter and half lines. These allow you to place point spread bets on the score after the first quarter or at the half, rather than on the final score. The point spread is simply divided by quarters or halves.

You can also parlay a bet, which means you can combine two or more bets into one. All of the wagers must then hit in order for you to win, which means the risk is higher but so are the payouts. Teaser bets are another type of parlay that allows you to decrease the risk of a parlay bet by “buying” extra points. This reduces the risk somewhat, but still requires all your bets to hit in order to pay out.

Some sportsbooks will also allow you to enter March Madness brackets into tournaments for money but this requires near impossible prediction ability. You can also make prop bets, which allow you to bet on individual events in any game, like who will throw the most touchdowns in a game. Futures bets allow you to bet on season-long or playoff-long scenarios, like who will win the SEC or who will win the Heisman Trophy.