NCAAB Odds – Spread

The most common wager placed in college basketball is on the point spread of an individual game. The spread is the “equalizer” set by sportsbooks to bring in an equal amount of action on both sides of a bet. The NCAAB odds on most point spread bets are -110 on both sides of the wager. Take a look at the following example.

uconn huskies

UConn Huskies

-5 (-110)
Villanova Wildcats


+5 (-110)

UConn is favored to win by five points in this case. The odds in parentheses indicate that a bettor must wager $1.10 to win $1.00. A UConn bettor wins if the Huskies win by six or more.

A Villanova bettor wins $100 on a $110 bet if the Wildcats lose by four points or less or win outright. 

Should the game end with a margin of exactly five points, the result is what’s called a “push.” In that case, there are no winners and all bets are refunded.

Moneyline – NCAAB Odds

College basketball moneyline bets are the easiest to understand. You wager on a team to win. That’s it. Like point spread bets, there are NCAAB odds attached to moneyline wagers.

Sticking with the UConn-Villanova example, the moneyline bet might look like this.

UConn -225

Villanova +185

American odds, as they are called, all revolve around $100. In this case, bettors that like UConn must wager $225 to win $100. Bettors that like the underdog, Villanova, can wager $100 and would win $185 if the Wildcats pulled the upset.

When betting on college basketball moneylines, the margin of victory doesn’t matter. UConn can win by one or 50 and a winning bet pays out $0.44 for every $1.00 wagered at NCAAB odds of -225. It’s the same for Villanova. A Wildcats’ win pays out $1.85 for every $1.00 wagered. As you can see, betting on moneyline underdogs can often be very lucrative. 

Totals or Over/Unders

Bettors sometimes don’t find an advantage to betting on one team or the other. They can still wager on a game by betting on the total, or Over/Under. Sportsbooks establish a total for each game. Bettors can then wager on whether the final combined score of a game will go Over or Under that set total.

For example, sportsbooks have set the UConn-Villanova total at 147.5. At most sportsbooks, bettors will see all three of the most common wagers – point spread, moneyline, and total – grouped together. It would appear as you see below.

UConn -5 (-110) -225 O 147.5 (-110)

Villanova +5 (-110) +185 U 147.5 (-110)

Over/Under bets also have NCAAB odds associated with them. In most cases, sportsbooks set those odds at -110. Again, that means bettors will win $1.00 for every $1.10 that they wager. 

Totals, as well as point spreads, are often expressed in half-points. Since games always end on a whole number, there is no chance of a push when a total or point spread is expressed in half-points. 

In this example, a bettor who wagered $10 on the Under with a final score 77-70 (147) would be a winner. His profit would be $9.09 at odds of -110.

Other NCAAB Odds – First Half Bets

College basketball bettors can bet on just the first half of play. Pretty much any bet you can make on a full game, you can make on just the first half. 

For example, you can bet on the point spread, moneyline, and the first half total. All of those bets follow the same format as they do for a whole game. Take the UConn-Villanova game from above. The first half market might look like this:

UConn -2.5 (-115) -174 O 73.5 (-106)

Villanova -2.5 (-108) +122 U 73.5 (-118)

NCAAB odds will vary more in the first half betting markets, but the bets are the same as for a full game. If you like UConn to cover the first half spread, you would wager $1.15 to win $1.00. If the Huskies lead at the half by three or more points, you’re a winner. Whatever happens in the second half doesn’t matter.

Second Half Bets

You can also bet the second half markets. In doing so, only the second half would matter and whatever happened in the first half is irrelevant.

The UConn-Villanova second half bets may look as follows.

UConn -3 (-112) -155 O 72.5 (-105)

Villanova +3 (+100) +120 U 72.5 (-114)

All bets are still the same. If Villanova outscores UConn 42-38 in the second half and you bet $120 on the Wildcats to do exactly that, you win $100. Even if Villanova lost the game, you still win the bet because only the results of the second half matter in this betting market.

Alternate Lines – Expanding NCAAB Odds

When you open up your sportsbook, you will see lines and NCAAB odds for all of the college basketball games on the schedule for any given day/night. What many inexperienced bettors might not know is that there are alternate lines available.

Let’s go back to our original example where UConn was a 5-point favorite over Villanova. That was the line established by oddsmakers. It comes with the industry standard odds of -110. Remember, you would have to bet $110 to win $100 in this case. 

When you win, you get our $110 back plus $100. That $100 came from a losing bet, but that bettor also wagered $110. The extra $10 is kept by the sportsbook as their fee, or “juice”, for taking the bet. 

You can look around at your sportsbook and find alternate lines. Sportsbooks are in the business of making money. If you want a more advantageous line, you are going to have to pay for it.

For example, UConn is favored by five. It would be much easier for the Huskies to cover three points. Covering two points would be even easier. A sportsbook can offer UConn -3 or -2, but you will have to pay a premium.

UConn -3 might be listed at -145 odds and UConn -2 might be priced at -160. That means a bettor’s stake will be higher than the standard. If you think UConn can cover a larger spread, you could get more advantageous NCAAB odds by taking the Huskies -7, for example. UConn -7 might be listed at +101.

NCAAB Odds – Team Totals

In addition to betting on a game total, college basketball bettors can also wager on the total points scored by just one of the teams. If we use the UConn-Villanova game again as an example, we can see how betting NCAAB team totals works.

Remember, the game total was set at 147.5. A team total is not necessarily half of the game total. Keep in mind that UConn was a 5-point favorite to win the game. That might imply a final score of something like 76-71 or 77-71.

In the team total market, you might see this game listed like this.

UConn O 76.5 (-110) / U 76.5 (-110)

Villanova U 71.5 (-110) / u 71.5 (-110)

A bettor that like UConn to go Over 76.5 points, would bet $110 to win $100. If the Huskies scored 77 or more points, the bet is a winner. It’s just like betting on a game total except only one team’s points – UConn in this case – matter.

The NCAAB odds on these bets usually encourage or discourage bettors to wager on one side of the bet or the other. 


NCAAB futures odds are released very early. As the name implies, these bets are placed on events happening in the future. For example, the most popular college basketball futures bet is on the next NCAA national champion.

Odds for the next March Madness winner are usually released as soon as the previous season’s game concludes. Bettors can wager in the futures market long before a season starts, while the season is in play, and all the way up to the market closes sometime before the event will occur.

Bettors enjoy the March Madness futures market because they can typically earn big payouts. It’s common to find favorites to win the NCAA tournament listed at +500 odds or better early in the cycle.

March Madness NCAAB Odds

The week after March Madness ends, sportsbooks post their futures NCAAB odds on the next national champion. You might find a strong favorite – think Kansas, North Carolina, Gonzaga, and others – that is listed as high as +1000. That means if you bet $100 on say Kansas, you would win $1,000 if they won the next NCAA basketball championship.

There are CBB futures in a number of categories now. Bettors can wager on which team will win a regular season conference title. They can also bet on season win totals. Sportsbooks will set a win total for a team. See the example below.

North Carolina O 20.5 (-115)

U 20.5 (-105)

In this case, a bettor that believes the Tar Heels will win at least 21 regular season games would bet $115 to win $100. 

Other college basketball futures bets include individual awards like the Naismith Player of the Year. Just like March Madness futures, bettors can find great odds on favorites.

How to Bet on NCAAB Odds

Don’t make betting on college basketball harder than it has to be. Use the Sports Hub to get a solid grasp of how NCAAB odds work and then learn how to find betting value.

When betting on college basketball, it helps to use statistics like Offensive and Defensive Efficiency, which tell you more about a team’s performance than points scored and points allowed per game. 

It also helps to use the Four Factors – Effective FG%, Turnover Rate, Offensive Rebounding Rate, and Free Throw Rate. Teams that excel in these four areas win more than they lose. Looking at the Four Factors can help bettors make good decisions.

NCAAB bettors should also look to find a niche. There are over 350 CBB teams. That means there can be more than a hundred games on any given day during the season. You can’t bet them all. That’s why it pays to focus on one or two conferences. 

Focus on a small number of teams. Don’t overextend yourself and don’t rely on small sample sizes. Search for value and make good, educated betting decisions.

NCAAB Odds and Scores FAQs

How does NCAAB betting work?

NCAAB bettors can place wagers in a number of categories. The most popular are the point spread, the moneyline, and the game totals. There are also plenty of prop bets available for every game as well as a number of futures bets that are paid out after the season ends.

All CBB bets come with NCAAB odds, which reflect the price of the bet. When a bet is placed and it’s a loss, the sportsbook keeps the wager. On a winning bet, the bettor receives the stake back plus an amount equivalent to the bet’s price, or NCAAB odds. 

Bets placed at negative odds, -110 for instance, will pay out an amount less than the stake. Bets made at positive odds will earn more than the stake. Even money is the same as +100.

What does +4.5 mean in NCAAB odds betting?

When placing a point spread bet on a college basketball game, bettors will see one team listed with +4.5 next to it. This indicates that the team is the underdog and that the point spread is 4.5 points.

To cover the spread, the favorite must win by at least five points in this case. The underdog covers if they lose by four points or less or win outright.

What does +7 spread mean in NCAAB betting?

This indicates the point spread for an underdog. If placing a bet on this underdog, the bettor needs wins when the underdog loses by six points or less or wins outright. 

If the underdog loses by exactly seven points, the result is a push. The sportsbook would refund the bet as there are no winners or losers in that case.

Is it better to bet spread or moneyline in NCAAB odds?

It depends. Bettors must find value in a bet. Sometimes, they may find it on the point spread; other times, they find it on the moneyline.

In cases of a short favorite, i.e. a 1- or 2-point favorite, it may be advisable to wager on the moneyline if the price is right. For example, a 1-point favorite likely has NCAAB odds of -110. A bettor must lay out $110 to win $100.

On the moneyline, the same favorite is listed at -105. It makes more sense to put down $105 to win $100 when the favorite only has to win by a point anyway.

What important dates are there in NCAAB?

One of the most important dates of every college basketball season is Selection Sunday. This is when the NCAA committee announces the 68-team field for March Madness. This year’s Selection Sunday is scheduled for March 12.

The NCAA tournament will begin on Tuesday, March 14, with the First Four. The Final Four, which will take place at NRG Stadium in Houston, will begin on April 1 with the national championship game to be played on Monday, April 3.