College Basketball Betting Tutorial

College Basketball Betting Tutorial

Since March Madness is just around the corner, now is the time to brush up on your basketball wagering skills.  Even though most people are hyped up about filling out their NCAA Basketball bracket sheet, others are ready to bet on tournament match-ups.  So let’s go over the basics with our College Basketball Betting Tutorial.

NCAA Basketball Betting TutorialBetting on college basketball is similar to other pointspread sports (like football). The most popular wager involves betting on a basketball team against the pointspread. Teams that are expected to win the game as referred to as the “favorite”.  In order to win a pointspread wager on a favorite, that team needs to win the game by a point margin higher than the pointspread.

Teams that are not expected to win the game are referred to as the “underdog”. It’s fairly simple to win a pointspread wager on an underdog.  In order to win, the team needs to either win the game or lose by less points then the pointspread.

For example, let’s take a look at the big early season matchup of Michigan State vs. Kansas back in mid-November. The Jayhawks were listed as a 5-point favorite against the Spartans, meaning they would have needed to win by at least six points in order to cover the pointspread.

Michigan State backers would have needed their team to either win the game outright, or lose by four points or fewer. If Kansas had won by exactly five points, then the game would have resulted in a “push” where all wagers are returned in full. Michigan State ended up winning that game outright 79-73, meaning the Spartans covered the spread by 11 points.

Betting on the Favorite

When browsing the lines for college basketball games with your favorite sports betting software or newspaper, the favorite is signified by having a minus sign in front of the pointspread while the underdog has a plus sign in front of the pointspread. In the example given above, Kansas would be -5, while Michigan State would be +5 points, or +5. Kansas could be referred to as a five-point favorite, 5-point chalk, or favored by five. Michigan State could be referred to as a five-point underdog, five-point dog, or getting five points.

Money Line Betting

Betting on the Money Line is a way to bet without having to worry about the pointspread. For this type of wager, you need your team to win the game, regardless of how big or small the margin of victory is.

In moneyline bets, the favorite is still listed with a minus sign in front of the number, while the underdog is still listed with the plus sign in front of the number. In the MSU vs. Kansas game, the Jayhawks were a -215 favorite while the Spartans were a +185 underdog. When betting the favorite on the moneyline, you have to wager the number listed in order to win $100.

For underdogs, a $100 wager will return the number listed. So for that game specifically, you would have needed to bet $215 dollars on Kansas in order to win $100. Michigan State bettors could bet $100 to win $185 if the Spartans won outright (which they did).

Betting on the Over/Under

The third type of popular wager in college basketball is the Over/Under (or total). For this type of bet, you can take  the Over or the Under in combined points scored for both teams. Overtime periods do count toward the Over/Under. Kansas and Michigan State combined to score 152 points in the Spartans win, falling a half-point short of the total.
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