Legal Basketball Betting Logo

How To Read NCAA Basketball Odds Correctly

Those gamblers who enjoy legal betting on the men's NCAAB season, either on a game-by-game basis or during the big tournament through legal March Madness betting lines, typically share something in common. They're not simply blindly betting on the popular team they think will win. They're actually betting on the odds they believe to be in their favor. Basketball odds work similarity to something like football odds in the NFL. For any one game, you will find that one team is favored, one team is an underdog, and you have basic betting lines like a point spread, the over/under (O/U) line, and even a moneyline (e.g. -125). These odds don't really differ that much in function.

For instance, the basic point spread for an NCAA basketball game is the same. Let's say the Kentucky Wildcats are playing the Wisconsin Badgers. Oddsmakers may list Kentucky -6, which means Kentucky is the favorite in this match-up by six points. So, if you wanted to take Wisconsin, you wouldn't even need them to win. You would just need them to come within five points to cover the spread. The same principle applies to the O/U. Let's say the O/U is 180. Broken down, this is 90 points per team. If you think the score is going to be over, then that's the way you'd bet; likewise with the under. The principles are the same here and should be applied to your legal basketball betting action.

Favorite Online Sportsbooks Offering the Best NCAA Basketball Odds

Sportsbook Link Welcome Bonus USA Friendly Rating
Bovada Sportsbook 50% Max $250 USA Allowed Sportsbook Rating
Betonline Sportsbook 25% Max $1000 USA Allowed Sportsbook Rating 25% Max $1000 USA Allowed Sportsbook Rating
Bookmaker 15% Max $2500 USA Allowed Sportsbook Rating

The Types of College Basketball Odds to Expect at a Premium Sportsbook

As for the types of odds you can expect on a sportsbook, you're looking mainly at the typical lines given above: Point spread, O/U, and a moneyline. However, many bookmakers offer extended odds for various games. For instance, if the Georgetown Hoyas are playing the Maryland Terps, you might be able to find odds for only one half of the action. You can find point spreads, O/U and other odds for a half. You should also be able to find different proposition bets (prop bets) for various aspects of the game, perhaps an O/U for shooting percentage, the number of three-pointers made, the number of points scored by a star player, etc. These are the many different types of men's NCAAB odds you will be able to find on a reputable sportsbook.

The Ever-Changing NCAAB Odds

It's important to understand that odds change really quickly in basketball. With football, for instance, you have an entire week, sometimes two, to view injury reports and for the oddsmakers to adjust their spreads and other lines based on weather, injuries, suspensions, and other mitigating factors. You don't have this luxury in basketball. The lines can change quickly, and what once started out as Kentucky -6 can easily change to Kentucky +2, depending on what has happened.

For example, there might be a situation where Kentucky is entering a big match-up with their forward Karl-Anthony Towns suffering a one-game suspension for a rules violation, and their other big forward, Derek Willis, is out a few weeks due to bone spurs in his ankles. Whatever the odds were before, you can be sure they'll be changing up almost until tip-off. Lines will completely shrink and expand due to a wide variety of variables, and as a gambler it's up to you to know the health and situation of any team as you're betting. Doing your research Monday and betting on Friday is a losing recipe. Look on Friday for a bet on Friday. You never know what's going to change in the interim.

When it comes to basketball odds, the lines are all pretty basic and what you'd expect when sports betting. The difficulty comes in keeping up with the fluctuating rosters and the moving, plastic lines.