College Basketball Betting Strategies
June 02 2023

College Basketball Betting Strategies

Every year, college basketball season offers some of the best betting action on the market. However, there are now over 350 NCAA Division I teams across over 30 conferences. Finding a way to deal with the overwhelming volume of games and teams to handicap is perhaps the biggest challenge to anyone who wants to bet college hoops for consistent profit. If you are looking for the best college basketball betting strategies to be used throughout the regular season, you are in the right place. As one of the most popular sports to bet, sports bettors have been making money on basketball for years and show no signs of letting up anytime soon.College Basketball Betting StrategiesCollege Basketball Betting StrategiesCollege Basketball Betting Strategies

Before you even get to your first bets, it’s paramount that you lay the foundation for betting success with preparation. Over the long term, this is the biggest difference between winning and losing players, and the number one factor that separates the pros from the casual gamblers. Some of the tips in this section are sports betting disciplines that work for other sports as well. They are listed here because of how they help tackle the unique challenges that are specific to betting college hoops. For more information about college sports, especially basketball, check the official NCAA website.

College Betting Tips

Wagering Limits

During the regular college hoops season, players will only be able to bet a fraction of what they can in other sports markets. Some markets may be reduced more than others, especially when it comes to lesser-known conferences. This is an aspect that is worth considering when placing your bets.

Early Season Wagering

The second aspect you should consider when betting on college hoops is that the oddsmakers simply don’t have the time to cover every NCAA basketball team. Sports bettors can study these teams, and those from high major schools, and familiarize themselves with them better than most sportsbook managers. Remember, NCAA college basketball begins in mid-November. This is a busy time for betting sites that are in the middle of the NFL season and fresh off the start of the NBA.

Make a Plan

The first thing you should do when betting college hoops is to make a plan of how you want to bet it. Will you be betting straight up or are you interested in parlays? Are you betting just spreads or are you betting money lines? How about game totals (or half totals)? Maybe you’ll be betting all of these things?

Finding out what you want to bet is the first step in organizing your betting system. We highly recommend that you do this first. Again, you can do this for any sport, but this step is more important in the college hoops industry when taking into account just how many games are on the board in one night. After the plan, the college basketball betting strategies come into play.

The Best College Basketball Betting Strategies

A great way to get consistent results that can steady your bankroll is to make sure you have a solid fundamental betting base to draw on. Every sport is different, so you want to make sure your strongest betting factors are tailored to the sport you’re betting.

Specialize in a Conference or Region

There’s an old saying that if you chase two rabbits, you’ll lose them both. Well if that’s the case, how do you think you’ll fare chasing 350 rabbits? With so many teams and games in college basketball, it’s impossible to follow them all by yourself and get information at the quality you need to make constantly winning bets. Amidst the daily chaos lies a significant betting edge—if you’re willing to narrow your choices and specialize.

For example, let’s say you have a favorite team, and that team is in the Big East conference. There are ten teams in that conference. Following your favorite team closely will often include following the other teams in the conference to see how they are faring in things like recruiting, coaching and how much talent they lose/retain each year. That’s nine other teams that you already have built-in homework on.

Betting Your Favorite Team

Just about every sports-betting guide out there tells you to play it safe and never bet on games involving your favorite team. The logic is sound—bias for your team can lead to emotionally undisciplined, or even outright destructive, betting. They say to cut this out of your system, and you’ll remove a big money-losing trap.

We respectfully disagree, though, with a catch or two.

Being a big fan of a team and betting on them isn’t the cliché sucker bet that everyone makes it out to be. It can actually be one of the most profitable plays you’ll make over time if you can be disciplined with it. The most important thing to practice when betting your own team is to be brutally honest with yourself about how you expect the team to perform against the bet. Some people simply can’t do this (thus the common perception). If you’re one of these folks, then stick with conventional betting wisdom and STAY AWAY.

Big Major Team vs. Mid-Major/Small Conference Team

This kind of plays off of the last tip, just a bit more generally. Again, the public perception here is that the small schools simply can’t hang with the big boys. These huge lines are everywhere during the November and December non-conference games, where most of these small teams play the bigger schools on the road.

If you know a small club is sneaky good, or a big team is still figuring out its identity (maybe from lots of new, younger players), the cover value is definitely there in a big way. A great spot to exploit is when a small school with lots of seniors plays a big-time school that is young overall. Also, when a school graduated its top players, but is still getting lots of offseason/early season hype.

The big thing with following this tip is to make sure you’re doing your homework on where the value is before placing your bets. This is definitely an area of positive EV when you find the right games and matchups, but the books are smart; not all of these lines are as sweet as they appear. Just be sure you’ve done your due diligence before you bet, and you’ll catch the book slipping up way more than they catch you.

Markets used in College Basketball Betting Strategies

It’s time to get into the nuts and bolts of betting on college basketball. The first thing you need to understand is the different types of college basketball bets available, the pros and cons of each, and the tips to master each bet.


All college basketball betting strategies start with the simplest bet known as moneyline.

Definition: A college basketball moneyline bet is a wager on which team will win an upcoming game.


  • Simplest bet you can make
  • Doesn’t matter how many points a team wins by
  • Pays out fast (only available on a single game)


  • Harder to win with underdogs (better payout though)

Totals Betting

Often referred to as an over/under bet, this is a college basketball wager on the total number of cumulative points scored during the game. The betting apps set a line on how many total points will be scored during the game. You can bet on whether you think more or fewer points will be scored. At the end of the game, both team’s point totals are added together. If that number is lower than the set totals line, the under wins. If that number is higher than the set totals line, the over wins.


  • Great way to bet on the flow of the game without having to pick a winner
  • You can cheer for or against both teams
  • Pays out fast (only available on a single game)


  • Payouts are almost always at (-110); you won’t win huge sums of money unless you bet bigger
  • Ties are possible if the totals line is a whole number

Top Strategy Tip: When betting college basketball totals, it’s a unique opportunity to put more weight on studying the defense. As many college basketball coaches are big on instilling fundamentals (like playing defense), you can find edges in your research by looking at both sides of the game.

Spread Bets

A college basketball spread bet is a wager on which team will outperform their expectation. The NCAAB betting sites set a line of how many points they think a team will win by (which automatically is how many points they expect the other team to lose by). If the team expected to win does so by more points than they were expected to, that side of the bet wins. If the team expected to lose the game wins or loses by fewer points than they were supposed to, that side of the bet wins.


  • Allows you to bet on teams you think will play better than expected but won’t necessarily win the game
  • Pays out fast (only available on a single game)


  • Sometimes spreads are confusing if you’re brand new to betting on college basketball
  • Ties are possible if the spread line is a whole number

Top Strategy Tip: Casual college basketball bettors love to bet on the favorites, especially right before game time. If you’re looking for opportunities to find value, look for underdogs that might be poised to outperform. Additionally, if you wait right before game time to bet, you may be able to get even more points in your favor on underdogs.


There are so many great factors to consider when making your college hoops bets that we can’t possibly list them all. We hope our guide helped get you started at least, and we’re rooting for you to find that great nuance of the college game that beats the books and swells your bankroll.

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