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By Jacob Johnson | Published On: Jul 23 2021

What to Watch for When Betting College Basketball

College Basketball parlay picks

College Basketball encompasses plenty of teams, most of which you have the ability to bet on. This can become a tough task for those unfamiliar with the teams and the sport. Governed by the NCAA, among other athletic bodies, NCAAB is one of the most popular sports to bet on. Even with its popularity though, some are still confused as to the best way to bet. This is why we’ve decided to create this, a guide to betting on college basketball.   

In this, we’ll go over the history of the sport and how it operates. We’ll give you tips on how the sport works and the most common bets to make. Closing with some frequently asked questions about college basketball betting. With the next season coming soon, this guide will give you adequate information to make intelligent bets. 

How does college basketball work?

Well, just like any sport, it’s run by an organization, mainly the NCAA. The NCAA has different conferences that divide the team into groups. The teams are separated into these divisions based on location. There are tournaments that take place throughout the league, the most notable being March Madness. The rules of college basketball follow along the same lines as the NBA, aside from the amount of time played.

In terms of time played, college basketball plays by halves instead of quarters. Each half is twenty minutes long, totally for 40 minutes overall. Some say that this adds more excitement to the sport as a team is required to be on the floor for twenty straight minutes. In the NBA, teams have twelve-minute quarters, a much shorter time compared to college basketball. Aside from the length of time, the game of college basketball is the same as the NBA. 

If you’ve ever watched a college basketball game, you might notice the scores are much lower than that of the NBA. This is not just due to skill level, although that does play a part in it. In total, NBA players actually play longer than college players. The total time in a college game is 40 minutes, while the NBA’s total time is 48 minutes. There are also rules in place now to prevent players from being drafted out of high school. This means they have to play at least one year of college basketball. A great way to get yourself accustomed to the sport is by watching a few games.

College basketball seasonal format

College Basketball, much like other American sports follows a specific schedule. The next season is due to begin on November 9th, 2021, with the annual Champions Classic. There are eleven different events taking place in November to start the college basketball season. 

Check out the list below for all the events and dates:

  •   Champions Classic (New York, N.Y.): Nov. 9
  • 2K Classic (Newark, N.J.): Nov. 18-19
  • Charleston Classic (Charleston, S.C.): Nov. 18-19, 21
  • Myrtle Beach Invitational (Myrtle Beach, S.C.): Nov. 18-19, 21
  • Hall of Fame Tip-Off (Uncasville, Conn.): Nov. 20-21
  • Maui Invitational (Lahaina, Hawaii): Nov. 22-24
  • Battle 4 Atlantis (Paradise Island, Bahamas): Nov. 24-26
  • NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.): Nov. 24, 26
  • ESPN Events Invitational (Lake Buena Vista, Fla.): Nov. 25-26, 28
  • Wooden Legacy (Anaheim, Calif.): Nov. 25-26
  • Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu, Hawaii): Dec. 22-23, 25

These events kick off the season and commemorate the start of college basketball. The season in its entirety concludes in March, with a champion being crowned at the end. The March Madness tournament is what determines the winner of the season. 

March Madness is an annual tournament in which 64 teams compete for the National Championship. The tournament is single-elimination, essentially if you lose you’re out. The winning team needs to win six consecutive games. 

Types of bets to make in college basketball

If you’re familiar with betting on the NBA, you’ll likely recognize some of the bets you can make on college basketball. However, for those of you unfamiliar, we’ve decided to list the most common bets below, with an explanation. 

Point Spread Betting: This is essentially you either bet on a team to win by a certain amount of points. Or the team less likely to win will have points added to their score at the end. For instance, say Florida State is -10.5 and they’re playing against South Carolina. That means the total that Florida State scores at the end of the game are going to have 10.5 points taken away. If they still have more points than South Carolina, you’ve won your bet. Conversely, if you took South Carolina +10.5, they’d have 10.5 points added to their total score. If their total is over that of Florida State, you’ve won your bet. 

Over/Under Totals Betting: This one is pretty straightforward, we’ll use Florida State and South Carolina as examples again. Say the sportsbook has the total at 68.5, if the total of both teams’ scores goes over that total, then the over hit. If the total doesn’t go over 68.5, then the under hit. On it’s surface it seems like this is a tougher way to bet but you’ll get the hang of it. 

Moneyline Betting: Moneyline betting is great for bettors that want to avoid spreads. This allows you to take a team “straight-up”, eliminating point spreads. The winnings are usually less this way but it’s a great option for beginners. 

Things to watch for when betting on college basketball

When you’re first starting off betting on college basketball, you may find that some odds seem terrible. This is because oddsmakers are incredible at creating lackluster odds, to deter you from a bet. However, this is where some due diligence will come in handy. By paying attention to all of the markets, you can put yourself in a position to find great odds.

Pay attention to some of the smaller teams in Division I basketball. These are teams at the beginning of the season are on the lower end of the rankings. We’ve found that some of these teams are capable of taking down higher-ranked teams, solely based on the matchup. You’ll find great odds in these situations and can boost your winnings this way. 

Bet smart, sure you’re bound to lose money, that’s part of the risk. However, you can minimize losses by understanding your budget. Research can go a long way too, intelligent picks are less likely to lose. 

Prepare for March Madness, this is where the big bettors start to play. During March Madness, each game is single elimination. A smart bet here can get you some big winnings, a bad bet and you could lose everything. Leading up to March Madness, pay attention to the teams heating up. Once the tournament starts, it’s all about timing and you could ride one team all the way to the National Championship.

FAQ’s when betting on college basketball

Is betting on college basketball legal?

Yes, in most states where sports betting is allowed, college basketball is legal and active.

Can I bet on NCAAW?

Yes, you can also bet on women’s college basketball. The only difference is there might not be as many games available.

How old do I have to be to bet on college basketball?

You have to be over the age of 21 in most states to gamble, the same rules apply here.

Who are the popular teams to bet on in college basketball?

Mainly the teams such as Duke University, Kentucky, Baylor, Gonzaga, and Villanova.

Where can I bet on college basketball?

You can bet on college basketball either at a sportsbook or an online platform that offers the sport. 


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