How to bet on college basketball
Learn all you need to know about reading NCAA college basketball betting odds, betting lines, spreads, futures, live betting and more.
Find up to date college basketball betting odds on the Betway sportsbook. You'll find all the latest spreads, over/unders, money lines and March Madness futures odds on the men’s 2022 NCAA tournament. Missed tip off? No problem, Betway also offers live betting. All your March Madness betting needs are covered at our online sportsbook.
You can also visit the Betway Insider for college basketball expert picks.
NCAA Basketball betting odds explained
College Basketball Money Line
The money line is the simplest way to bet on a college basketball game, and is one of the most popular bets available on the Betway sportsbook.
A money line bet gives you the opportunity to simply bet on the team you think will win a specific game.
Money line odds are easy to read. Let’s take a college basketball game between Team A and Team B as an example, with Team A as the favorite in this case. The money line might look like this:
Team A -135
Team B +115
A “+” sign indicates a team is an underdog and shows how much a $100 bet would win you, while a “–“ sign indicates the favorite and shows how much you need to bet to win $100. So, if you bet on Team A to win (with a stake of $100) in this example at odds of -135, you would need to bet $135 to win $100, plus your $135 stake back. If you bet on Team B to win at +115 odds with a $100 stake, you would win $115, plus your $100 stake back.
College Basketball Point Spreads
In sports betting, the point spread is a handicap based on an expected margin of victory. And in college basketball betting, this is no different.
Here is an example. If the spread line in a game is 7.5 points, the odds may show as Team A -7.5 and Team B +7.5. In this scenario, Team A would essentially be starting with a -7.5 point deficit, so would need to win by eight or more points for your bet on them to win.
Equally in this example, Team B would be starting with a theoretical 7.5 point lead, meaning that as long as they lost by no more than seven points, your bet on them would win.
When betting against the spread, you can either ‘take the points’, meaning betting on the underdog, or ‘give the points’, meaning betting on the favorite.
As with money line bets, you can combine the points spreads from multiple games into a multi-game parlay bet.
College Basketball Over/Under
Over/under markets are also known as point totals. These markets offer a set line for the total combined points scored between both teams in a college basketball game. You have the option of betting over the line or under the line.
For example, Team A play Team B, with a Total Points line at 145.5. This means that you can either bet on there being more than this total or less than the total.
Total Points betting markets can be combined with other markets on the same game to create a same game parlay. For example, you could combine a money line bet, over/under bet and points spread bet into one overall bet. This combined bet would require all individual selections to win for your overall bet to win, but offers a far greater potential payout than just a single bet selection.
College Basketball Parlays
A parlay, also known as a combo bet or a multi, allows you to combine multiple bets to boost your odds and increase your potential payout, should they all win.
There are a number of ways to bet on college basketball parlays at Betway. You can combine bets of a single type – a money line parlay, for example, in which you bet on multiple teams to win their games.
You can also combine different markets into one parlay. For example, you might want to bet on Duke to beat Kentucky, on Gonzaga to cover the spread against UCLA, and on over 149.5 points in Michigan State vs UNC.
Finally, you can place a same-game parlay. This allows you to combine multiple bets on a single March Madness game. Let’s take a hypothetical game between Duke and Kentucky as an example. With a same-game parlay, you can bet on Duke to cover the spread, over 150.5 total points and Kentucky to score an even number of points.
College Basketball Futures
Futures bets don’t take place over one game – they are more long-term propositions, such as who might win a title and which players may win awards.
With Betway, you can bet on several NCAAB futures, such as conference tournament winners, which teams will reach the Final Four and who will be crowned NCAA champions.
College Basketball Live Betting
Live sports betting allows you to bet on college basketball while the action unfolds. Unlike pre-game betting, live college basketball betting takes place after tip-off, which the game is in progress.
College basketball odds change constantly throughout the game, meaning you can react to the ebb and flow of the action as you watch and bet on your instincts.
There are over 5,800 Division 1 college basketball games to bet on in-play throughout the season with Betway.
How to bet on March Madness
Visit the Betway Sportsbook to bet on a wide range of odds and markets for every game of March Madness, from the First Four to the National Championship Game.
The 2022 NCAA Tournament begins on Tuesday March 15 and ends with the title game on Monday April 4.
There are multiple college basketball futures available on our online sportsbook that you can bet on before the tournament begins, and markets will be constantly updated throughout March so that you can find the latest odds on the teams that pass the eye test.
You can also bet on all your favorite March Madness betting markets for every match-up of the tournament.
March Madness Betting FAQs
Why is the NCAA Basketball Tournament called March Madness?
The NCAA Tournament has long been known colloquially as March Madness for a couple of reasons. Firstly – and most obviously – because it takes place in March, and secondly, because of the excitement and unpredictability of a tournament that pits the 64 best college basketball teams in American against each other.
The single-elimination format of the tournament makes every game make-or-break, and there are always upsets when some of the biggest basketball programs in the country take on lesser-known schools that catch lightning in a bottle come March.
The first use of March Madness can be traced all the way back to the Illinois statewide high-school basketball tournament in 1939, with the first known use of the phrase in reference to the NCAA Tournament coming from CBS announcer Brent Musburger in 1982.
Why does the NCAA Tournament have 64 teams?
Initially, 68 teams qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Of these, 32 receive automatic bids as the winners of their respective conferences, while 36 are granted “at-large” bids by the Selection Committee on Selection Sunday. The committee also determines seeding and places them into regions.
The First Four takes place just before the tournament and brings the field down to 64 teams.
The NCAA Tournament features four regions, each with 16 teams, with the winners of each region facing off in the Final Four.
What is the First Four in March Madness?
The First Four refers to a play-in round that kicks off the NCAA Tournament. It features four games between the teams holding the four lowest-seeded bids and the four highest-seeded at-large bids.
The winners of the First Four advance into the first round of the tournament.
When is the Final Four for March Madness?
The 2022 NCAA Tournament Final Four takes place on Saturday April 2 at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The National Championship Game takes place at the same venue two days later, on Monday April 4.
How long is overtime in college basketball?
The overtime period in a college basketball game is five minutes. If the scores remain level at the end of the overtime period, there will be a second overtime of the same length. This continues until one team finishes an overtime period with a lead.
Has an unranked team ever won the NCAA Tournament?
The NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, and since then, only four teams have won the national title after beginning the season unranked in the AP poll.
Those were Villanova in 1985, Syracuse in 2003, Florida in 2006 and UConn in 2011.
What is the highest-scoring March Madness game ever?
The highest score ever in a March Madness game came in 1990, when Loyola Marymount beat Michigan 149-115. The 264 total points scored remains an NCAA Tournament record today.
Loyola Marymount’s extremely high-tempo style between 1988 and 1990 made them a consistently high-scoring team, and the five highest-scoring games in March Madness history all featured LMU.