Want to find out more about college basketball betting? NCAA has always been extremely popular in the US and now you can legally place wagers on it.
We will show you the best sites to bet on college basketball at, the main NCAAB betting markets, and how to place bets at online sportsbooks.
Best College Basketball Betting Sites
Every college basketball site is tested against the same criteria and only the best ones are recommended by our panel of experts. Crucially, they are all legal and licensed to operate in the US.
Most college basketball bettors have different needs and so no NCAAB sportsbook is going to suit everyone, with each one strong in particular areas.
Some bettors prefer having a wide variety of college basketball markets whilst others like utilizing bonuses, so we make sure to include a range of criteria in our testing of sportsbooks.
College Basketball Betting Bonuses
Most legal US sportsbooks have college basketball bonuses and promotions you can utilize, both as a new bettor and after you have registered. The most popular NCAA basketball bonuses are free bets and matched deposits.
Amounts for these bonuses can vary between sportsbooks, with some worth only $20 whilst others can go up to $5,000.
Be wary, though; just because a betting site offers a high welcome bonus does not mean that the terms are friendly. They could have high wagering requirements or require a much higher deposit than you’re comfortable with.
BetMGM offers regular free bet promos for a wide range of sports including NCAA basketball, and the best part is that you get these bonuses for placing wagers as usual.
One of the best college basketball free bet bonuses is BetMGM’s One Game Parlay insurance, which gives bettors their money back on same game parlays if one leg misses.
You can get up $50 back as a free bet if exactly one legs lets you down in your college basketball same game parlay. The bet must consist of at least four legs to qualify.
If you want to get rewarded for making deposits to a sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook is the way to go as they offer reload bonuses that give you more money when you fund your account.
They’re not common bonuses and FanDuel either email them directly to you or show it in the promotions section of your account. Always read the terms and conditions as some bonuses require you to deposit using a specific method.
The bonus is added to your account either as a free bet or as bonus funds to use as you please, and are worth between $10-50 but this value could change depending on how frequently you deposit.
Live betting on college basketball is extremely popular and BetMGM provide the best in-play betting bonuses with boosts that enhance your returns on certain markets.
Effectively, you are getting better odds on a market and the great thing is that BetMGM have some of the best prices out there anyway for in-play college basketball.
It’s not a regular bonus that BetMGM offer and so it’s not available all the time, but it should certainly be taken advantage of when it is there if you’re planning to live bet anyway.
Caesars Sportsbook is the leader when it comes to boosted odds on pre-selected college basketball events, either in the shape of singles or parlays, ensuring you get better returns than normal on winners.
The boosts section of Caesars is listed on the homepage and you can use the tabs at the top to navigate straight to NCAAB, which is listed under ‘Basketball’ as they are separated by sport rather than league.
Some boosts are quite generous and can enhance your winnings substantially, such as from +2000 to +2500, whereas others are only boosted a little bit (such as from +100 to +110) to make sure you get the best price available.
Top College Basketball Apps
Most sportsbooks have native iOS and Android apps that enable you to bet on college basketball on your mobile or tablet – removing the need for you to be sat at a computer.
The best NCAA basketball mobile betting apps make it easy to deposit, view markets, place wagers, and track your bets whilst on the go.
Each college basketball betting app has been tried and tested by our team of experts on a range of criteria to determine which ones are the best.
BetMGM takes the crown as the leading college basketball betting app largely due to how reliable it is as it runs smoothly and very rarely crashes, allowing you to place NCAA bets without a struggle.
As well, BetMGM offer consistently strong odds on college basketball plus a decent variety of markets so you’ll always be able to find something to bet on.
This is especially true during March Madness, when BetMGM have some of the best prices available and also run promotions that enable you to earn free bets by placing wagers on the Championship Tournament.
The Caesars Sportsbook mobile app is a superb experience on phone and tablet because of how efficiently it operates. It’s very rare that the Caesars app has issues like needing to verify your location, which are common with many other apps.
Caesars also boast good NCAA basketball odds for both live and pre-game betting, on top of pre-selected enhanced parlays that increase your returns on college basketball bets.
Another mobile app that prides itself on simplicity is FanDuel Sportsbook’s, which is easy to navigate and place bets on, meaning you aren’t wasting any time looking for NCAA basketball either pre-game or live.
Tabs at the top of the homepage of the app allows you to scroll to popular sports, of which college basketball is one, whilst the “All Sports” button takes you to the full list if you want to browse others.
FanDuel are one of the very few sportsbooks to mark which bets are available for early cashout before you place a bet. Cash out values are then displayed in your open bets after the wager has been placed.
How We Rate Sportsbooks
You’re probably wondering how our team of experts decide which are the best college basketball betting sites. The answer is that every sportsbook is thoroughly tested and scored on a range of aspects.
Each NCAAB betting site is examined on set criteria, including safety, promotions, odds quality, and whether mobile betting on college basketball is available.
If you decide to sign up to one of our recommended college basketball sportsbooks, you can do so in the knowledge that it will be a top quality betting site.
Every betting site we recommend is licensed and fully legal in the US. This means it will be safe for you to use as they have to follow state and federal laws, and provides you with legal avenues if necessary.
You should always be on the lookout for college basketball promotions and bonuses, as these will give rewards such as free bets and odds boosts that you can use on future wagers. NCAAB bonuses are not common during the season but are worth up to $100 during March Madness.
Being able to bet from a mobile app allows you to place wagers from anywhere, provided you are in a legal state where that sportsbook operates. The best sportsbook apps run smoothly and are easy to navigate so you can place NCAAB bets without much ado.
College basketball odds
This is the most important thing for many bettors because sites with the best college basketball odds will generate the biggest returns on winning bets. No sportsbook has the best odds all the time so it’s more crucial that they remain competitive.
A bigger choice of markets gives you more options for your college basketball betting and means you aren’t hamstrung to the same few markets every time. As there are state restrictions on NCAA basketball, it’s common for even the best sites to only have 30-40 pre-game markets.
Live betting is a staple of college basketball wagering and the best sportsbooks all offer in-play wagering with a good number of markets and competitive odds. As with all college sports, some states limit in-play betting by not allowing it at all or only allowing certain bets.
There’s no point signing up to a new NCAAB sportsbook to find that they don’t have your preferred deposit method, so our recommended betting sites all have a variety of ways to fund your account. Sites that have at least three of PayPal, VISA, Mastercard, VIP Preferred, and Play+ get higher ratings.
How to Bet on College Basketball
Starting your college basketball betting journey can be quite an intimidating experience because of all the different markets and the way that odds are displayed. Fear not, though – we at USBetting are here to help you out.
The next few parts will tell you everything you need to know to bet on college basketball, including how to read odds and what NCAAB betting markets are available.
You can also use the links below to jump straight to the section you want.
Putting on a bet on college basketball is pretty easy. All you have to do is follow our short guide below and you’ll be well on your way!
Choose a legal US betting site
Use our list of recommended college basketball sites and sign up to the one you like best.
Find the game you want
Go to the college basketball section and select the game from the schedule. Some sportsbooks may list the sport as NCAA basketball or NCAAB.
Navigate to the market
Check out the stats of both teams to decide which market to bet on, then find that on the college basketball betting site.
Look at other legal NCAAB sportsbooks to make sure you’re getting the best odds at your chosen site.
Place bet and wait for it to settle
Click on ‘place bet’ to confirm your stake and when the match is finished, it will be settled as a win, loss, or push.
How to Read College Basketball Odds
Many college basketball sportsbooks use the American format to display odds, which is not ideal for novice bettors as they are not user-friendly compared to other formats. However, American odds are not actually difficult to understand.
If odds have a plus (+) in front of them, that shows the amount you would theoretically win with a $100 wager. This is used to signify the underdog in a market.
On the flip side, odds that begin with a minus (-) show how much you need to bet to win $100. This tells you which side of the market is the favorite.
Some bettors like to use decimal odds because it simply shows you how much your total returns will be including stake. For instance, +120 in American odds is the same as 2.20 in decimal.
Wager $110 to win $100 profit
Wager $100 to win $200 profit
Wager $1 to win $1.91
Wager $1 to win $3
The standard betting line for college basketball spreads and totals is -110 – or 1.91 in decimal – so you’ll likely see that around quite a lot. You can find out more about spreads and totals further down.
College Basketball Odds Comparison
Checking out multiple sites before you place any college basketball bet is crucial as this ensures you’re getting a fair price. Odds are different at each site and change depending on a variety of factors, but most notably how much money a sportsbook has taken on a market.
Most sites open with similar odds on the main markets – spread, moneyline, total – but these fluctuate as a game draws closer and more bets are taken.
The table below shows the moneyline odds and spread odds for an NCAA basketball game between Baylor Bears and Kansas Jayhawks.
Moneyline odds for Kansas are fairly similar across the board although the -140 at DraftKings is offputting enough to switch sportsbooks and take the -130 at FanDuel or bet365.
DraftKings, however, boast +120 on Baylor which is the joint-best price of all the sportsbooks we looked at along with Caesars. A $10 wager on this would return $22 (including risk) at either of those sites, whilst it would return $20.80 at FanDuel.
The spread line on both colleges is consistent at three of the four betting sites but FanDuel stand out both positively and negatively. In this scenario, the -120 on Kansas -2.5 is noticeably poorer than others but the -102 on Baylor to cover is generous as a result of this.
Home – Kansas Jayhawks
Away – Baylor Bears
There are a few different types of wagers available to consider when betting on college basketball, with most sportsbooks only offering a handful of markets due to state restrictions.
As with other major US sports leagues, the most popular NCAAB betting markets include spreads, totals, moneyline, and player props, and all these give you the chance to make profit if used correctly.
Spread betting levels up the odds by including a handicap to the team you bet on. The favorite starts on a negative number and the underdog on a positive, which creates even college basketball betting lines.
The handicap is applied to the team you bet on after the game is finished and if they win the game as a result, then your bet will be successful. This gives you a way to bet on a strong favorite and still get decent returns if they beat the handicap mark.
Duke Blue Devils are -5.5 to beat Virginia Cavaliers. To cover the spread, Duke will need to win by six points or more. Virginia will cover if they win the game or lose by fewer than six points.
If you’re not sure which team will win, you can bet on the total number of points scored in the game.
The NCAAB betting site offers a projection of how many points will be scored by both teams combined and you simply need to select whether the actual total will be over or under it.
Over/under is also used for other types of bets including most player props and team props, such as field goals made or total assists.
Duke vs Virginia has an over/under line of 130.5 points. A bet on the overs would require 131 points or more to be scored.
Moneyline is a straight bet on which team will win. There are no other conditions attached to this, so it doesn’t matter whether the college basketball team you bet on covers the spread or not.
NCAA basketball games often have one team that is a heavy favorite due to the disparity between programs, so you might struggle to make much profit from betting on the moneyline.
Duke Blue Devils are -245 favorites to beat Virginia Cavaliers straight up. A $20 wager on Duke will return a total of $28.16 including stake if they win.
A player prop is a bet on how well a specific player performs in a game, with markets usually available on basic stats like points, rebounds, and assists.
Not all states allow betting on college basketball props so check the table on this page to see if yours does. This also applies to other college sports like NCAA football.
Some of the most popular college basketball player props include:
Player props example
Wendell Moore’s points line vs Virginia is set at 10.5. You can bet on whether he will actually score more or fewer points than that, with both sides of the line set at -110.
Parlays allow you to combine selections from multiple games into a single bet, giving you potentially higher winnings from a small stake. Each leg you add increases the return but decreases the chance of success.
Each selection must win for the parlay to land and these bets are popular amongst casual bettors because of how much can be won from a small risk amount.
A parlay of Virginia moneyline (+245), UNC -3.5 (-110), and Syracuse moneyline (+300) would pay out at odds of +12670, with just $5 on that winning over $131 including stake.
College Basketball Futures Betting
Unlike normal game bets, futures take the entire season into account so you can bet on which team will win a particular conference or the NCAA Basketball Championship.
The main college basketball futures that people like to bet on are:
NCAA Champion – The overall champion at the end of the postseason. The 68 best colleges after the regular season take part in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, which crowns an overall winner. This is also known as March Madness.
Conference winner – Each college is in a conference (such as Big-12, Big East, and SEC) os this future is simply which team wins the specified conference.
College Basketball Betting Tips and Advice
It’s important to develop a strategy when betting on college basketball because whilst there is no guaranteed way to make profit, there is some advice you should heed to help you out.
Remember that losing is a part of betting and even if you use statistics to find the best college basketball bets, anything can happen in a game and there are no assurances in gambling.
Our basketball betting guide gives you general hints and tips to consider for your NCAAB wagering, including the key things to look out for.
Research both teams: There are plenty of college basketball stats out there that you can analyze to help you out, such as field goal percentage and average points scored per game.
Stay disciplined: Don’t get carried away. Only bet what you can afford and place bets that are logical rather than gut feel or random.
Know what you’re betting on: You should fully understand what you need to happen in the game for your bet to win. Most bets are fairly self-explanatory, but you can contact a sportsbook’s support if you’re unsure.
Line shop: Once you’ve decided what market you want to bet on, check out other college basketball sportsbooks to see what odds they are offering on the same market to make sure that your betting site has the best odds.
Avoid big parlays: Don’t be tempted to put a load of selections, especially moneylines, into a big parlay just because the payout is high. Upsets do happen in college basketball and each leg added to a parlay decreases the chances of it coming in.
College Basketball Live Betting
Live betting allows you to wager whilst a college basketball game is going on and every NCAA sportsbook has in-play capabilities for you to enjoy.
Betting during a game presents opportunities that don’t exist pre-game because you can see things like how well a team is playing or how they tactically approach their defense.
Odds change quickly and often so if you want to live bet college basketball, you have to be prepared and ready to find value as those prices could be gone in the blink of an eye. There is also a delay when you hit ‘place bet’ which could lead to your wager being rejected.
The most common live betting markets for college basketball include:
Team to win next quarter
Some states do not allow for live college basketball betting so make sure to check whether your state has any rules that could stop you from wagering in-play.
BetMGM’s live college basketball betting odds are often extremely strong so it’s common for you to get the best prices available there, or at least very competitive odds that ensure good returns on successful bets.
Your live bets on BetMGM are helped by the visibility of some excellent stats that are displayed on the game page, allowing you to make informed bets. Some of the stats include field goal percentage and three-point percentage for both colleges and individual players.
The main downside of BetMGM is that they don’t have as many markets available as other major betting sites, so you might not be able to find the bet you want.
DraftKings Sportsbook, meanwhile, boast a large variety of college basketball markets for live betting, with a wide range of player props available in states where those bets are legal.
They also boast competitive live odds on NCAA basketball, particularly on games involving top-25 colleges, and it’s rare that they are not worth considering for a live bet on the main three markets.
Unfortunately, DraftKings only provide basic live stats on most college basketball games so you have to look elsewhere for up-to-date information on the game you want to bet on.
One of the best overall sportsbooks for user experience is Caesars, who make it easy to navigate both their desktop and mobile app. This, in turn, means that betting on live college basketball is straightforward thanks to their intuitive layout.
The odds available on Caesars’ live betting markets for college basketball are often extremely competitive and although not always the best, they should always be checked ahead of any in-play bets you want to place.
March Madness is the informal name for the NCAA Basketball Tournament, which takes place across March and April as the postseason tournament to crown the overall champion of the season.
The 68 best teams are chosen by the NCAA selection committee, which is made up of athletic directors from various colleges around the US, and then a bracket is created so each school knows their route to the final in advance.
As March Madness is the pinnacle of the college basketball season, this is when sportsbooks really take an interest. It’s common to find boosted odds on the overall winner market as well as enhanced parlays on favorites in the early rounds.
Betting sites also sometimes have bonuses that give you free bets for later rounds if you place a futures bet or place bets on first round games. These are worth up to $100 but the value depends on the sportsbook.
PointsBet takes the crown as the best March Madness betting site in the US as it consistently has strong odds on the tournament and also boasts the best college basketball bonus. Earn up to $100 in PointsBet free bets by placing a pre-game wager of at least $50 in each of the first four rounds.
On top of their college basketball offering, PointsBet has one of the most user-friendly desktop sites and mobile apps out there so it’s easy to find the bet you want on any sport.
March Madness bonuses: Bet $50 pre-game in each of the first five rounds and get a $20 free bet each time. Max bonus $100.
Top features: Early cash out, live streaming, same game parlay.
Available in: CO, IL, IN, IA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, VA, WV
College basketball betting is available in every state that has legalized online sports wagering. However, the majority of those US states restrict the markets can be offered by betting sites.
These limitations mean that some CBB bets you can place in one state may not be able to be placed in another, so read the table carefully to avoid disappointment.
It’s important to remember that these laws only apply to the state you bet in, not the state that you have registered in or the state where you live.
College basketball betting restrictions
No live betting; No player props
No prop bets
No betting on CT college teams
No mobile betting on IL college teams (in-person allowed).
No in-play player props
No player props
No betting on NH college teams
No betting on NJ college teams; No betting on college games played in NJ.
No betting on NY college teams, including futures; No player props on any game; No live betting
No mobile betting on OR college teams (in-person at tribal casinos allowed)
No betting on RI college teams; No betting on college games played in RI.
No player props; No in-play betting
No betting on VA college teams; No player props
No betting on DC college teams; No betting on college games played in DC.
College Basketball History
The sport of basketball itself was created in a college in 1891 when James Naismith developed the idea at Springfield College, MA, and so colleges will always have a strong tie to basketball.
Of course, the game has changed significantly since then and the NCAA has played their part in this by proposing new rules and generally overseeing college basketball.
Almost all prospective NBA talents now play NCAA basketball to get noticed and hopefully by professional teams, with over 300 colleges all playing in Division I.
First college basketball game played
Three years after James Naismith invents the sport, Drexel University played Temple University and won the game 26-1. This was a nine-a-side game rather than the five-a-side rules that would be adopted soon after.
First college tournament at Olympics
The 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, MO, is the first tournament that only featured college teams. Hiram College won the title.
First national champion crowned
Six colleges enter the 1922 National Intercollegiate basketball tournament, held in Indianapolis, IN. Wabash College beat Kalamazoo College 43-23 in the final.
NCAA Tournament first held
The NCAA launch their postseason tournament in 1939, with eight teams vying to become champions. Oregon beat Ohio State 46-33 in the final, held in Evanston, IL.
NCAA Tournament expands to 68 teams
The NCAA tournament expanded regularly throughout the years but in 2011 it went to 68 teams, making it the format we know today.
College Basketball Betting Sites to Avoid
One of the key things for new college basketball bettors to know is to always use a licensed and legal US betting site, as this ensures safety and security when placing wagers.
There are some sportsbooks based offshore that can accept US bettors but they usually have limited options for withdrawing and depositing, with some sites even known for withholding payments from bigger wins.
Every college basketball sportsbook we recommend is legal, licensed, and safe, and we are always on the lookout for new betting sites to add to our list.
College basketball sportsbooks to avoid
No US license
High deposit and withdrawal fees
No US license
High minimum deposit
No US license
High transactional fees
Withdrawals take over a week
College basketball is incredibly popular across the whole of the US with committed fanbases and huge TV viewership, especially during the postseason.
March Madness, also known as the NCAA Basketball Tournament, is the pinnacle of college basketball and attracts millions of viewers on TV, with sportsbooks taking advantage of that popularity by offering exciting promos.
This is on top of every college basketball game being available for betting, both pre-game and live, but state restrictions do apply. For example, Arizona doesn’t allow live betting whilst those in Colorado can’t bet on player props.
How to bet on college basketball?
Choose a legal college basketball sportsbook from our recommended list and register with them, following the steps to sign up and claim the welcome bonus. Navigate to the NCAA basketball game you want to bet on, decide how much to risk, and hit the ‘place bet’ button.
Where to bet on NCAA basketball online?
Many online sportsbooks offer NCAA basketball betting, with the likes of BetMGM, FanDuel Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook and PointsBet amongst the best available. You can find our list of recommended legal college basketball betting sites at the top of this page.
What to look for when betting college basketball?
You should look for value bets when you betting on college basketball as these give you the best chance of securing long-term profit. Value bets are wagers that you perceive to have a higher chance of coming in than the odds suggest.
How to bet on the NCAA basketball tournament?
The NCAA basketball tournament is available to bet on at all our recommended US sportsbooks. Also known as March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament runs through March and April with sportsbooks offering betting on each individual match as well as on the overall winner.
Where can I bet on women’s college basketball?
The majority of legal online sportsbooks offer women’s college basketball. FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, FOX Bet, and BetMGM are some of the best ones. Our recommended legal college basketball betting sites can be found at the top of this page.