NCAA College Basketball Odds, Betting Lines & Point Spreads

If you’ve never filled out an NCAA March Madness bracket, you’re truly missing out. Those who follow college basketball know the swings and unpredictability that come with young, amateur players. Many fresh-out-of-high school players suddenly have the weight of their college—if not the entire state—on their shoulders. Combine this with the natural thrill of basketball, from the dunks, the buzzer beaters, or the long threes—plus a single elimination high-stakes final tournament, and you have a recipe for suspense, heartbreak, and glory.

College Basketball Season Overview

Men’s NCAA college basketball begins in November, and each team will play approximately thirty games. The exact number of games depends on the conference and how well a team does in the conference tournament.

Although seemingly identical, there are a few differences between NCAA basketball and the NBA. A college game is 40 minutes—8 minutes shorter than the pros. The shot clock is also different, 6 seconds longer than in the NBA, for a total of 30 seconds. Another key difference is the three-point line, which is closer to the basket in college.

Popular Ways of Betting on College Basketball

Once you've learned how to bet on basketball, it's time to decide which type of bet is right for you. One option is to keep things simple and pick the winner, but if you like the spread, you can bet on that instead. Feeling a low-scoring offensive struggle? You can bet on that too. At DraftKings, there are all sorts of bets and all sorts of ways to win.

College basketball spreads

The spread is the number of points a team is favored to win or lose by. If the spread says a team is favored to win by a whopping nineteen points, you get to decide whether they’ll blow out their opponent by that margin. College basketball spreads make the matchup more even, so you can bet on a team even if you think they’re out-matched. Cheer for them to simply beat the spread.

College basketball moneylines

Moneylines are a straightforward bet that has odds. Do you want to pick the winner, no matter the score? College basketball lines are the bets for you. The odds and payouts depend on how favored a team is. If you like an underdog and they pull of the upset, you could see a big payout!

College basketball over / unders

Over / Unders are also known as Totals. They’re a bet on a specific statistic of a game. For example, a common bet will be total points. Do you think it’ll be a lackluster defensive effort that leads to a huge score? Consider taking the Over. Feeling a defensive masterpiece? Under might be for you this time.

College basketball prop bets

Prop bets, short for proposition bets, aren’t tied to the final outcome of a game. The most common prop bets are player props. These are wagers on a single player’s performance in the game. For example, you can bet on a player’s total number of points, assists, or rebounds. There are additional prop bets not linked to a player’s stats. Who will win the tipoff? Who’s going to score first? What team will get the most rebounds? Prop bets are a great way to make a game interesting apart from the final score.

College basketball live odds

Making those perfect picks before the game is fun, but there’s nothing like the engagement from placing bets throughout a game. With NCAA live betting, college basketball odds shift with the game's progress. Still think your team will win, despite falling behind early? The live odds might be better than they were before the game. Feel like you know who will score next? Want to bet on who will win the quarter? Stay actively involved throughout the game with live college basketball odds.

College basketball parlays

A parlay combines multiple bets into one. The odds are longer than any single bets, but the payout is large to match the chances. Like higher stakes and longer odds? Looking for a potentially huge win? Check out college basketball parlays.

College basketball futures bets

Futures are bets on the long game. Pick who you think will win months before it happens. Futures tend to pay well because picking a winner so far in advance is tough.

How Do You Read College Basketball Odds?

Odds indicate the amount you win versus the amount you bet. Understanding how to read these odds is crucial in order to make your next winning pick. Luckily, NCAA men’s basketball odds are fairly straightforward.


In the United States, odds are based on a bet or payout of $100. Which one depends on a ( + ) or ( – ) symbol. The ( + ) represents the underdog and means a winning bet of $100 will return that amount. For example, a $100 bet on a +180 underdog will pay out $180. On the other hand, the ( – ) means a team is favored, so you must bet that amount to win $100. In other words, a –180 favorite means you must bet $180 to win $100.

Let’s say Kansas is taking on Gonzaga. The moneyline may look like this:


In this example, Gonzaga is the favorite, so you’ll have to bet $130 to win $100. Kansas, being the underdog, will pay more for a victory. In this case, a $100 bet will pay $120. Something worth noting is the home team is always listed second. So in this example, Kansas is at home, and Gonzaga is visiting.


The spread will have the same ( + ) or ( – ) odds. However, you’ll also see the spread number.

So using our previous example, an NCAA point spread may show up as:


In this example, Gonzaga has to give 5.5 points because they’re the favorites. If Gonzaga wins by 6 or more points, a bet for them will payout $100 if you wager $110. If you bet on Kansas, even if they lose, you’ll still win if it’s by 5 points or less.

Total bets

The final combined score is the most common total bet. You can bet if the total will be over (O) or under (U) the amount projected.

So now our example may look like this:

O 130 –110

U 130 –110

The total score, both teams combined, is projected to be 130 points. You get to decide if the actual result will be over or under. Either bet pays $100 if you put up $110.

What are the Biggest College Basketball Betting Events?

DraftKings allows you to bet on any NCAA basketball game you’d like. However, some of the biggest games and tournaments create thrilling betting events.

March Madness

Also known as the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament, March Madness is a single-elimination tournament to crown the greatest college team in the nation. Consisting of 68 teams, the tournament begins mid-March and ends in April. Each round of March Madness gets more exciting as the field narrows and a champion is closer to being named. The rounds are:

  • Round of 64

  • Round of 32

  • Sweet Sixteen

  • Elite Eight

  • Final Four

  • National Championship

Conference tournaments

There are 32 conferences that hold tournaments to crown a champion, and each winner automatically qualifies for March Madness. These tournaments are often competitive matchups with a lot on the line. Some of the bigger and more competitive conferences include:

  • Big 12

  • Big East

  • Pac-12

  • Big Ten

  • Southeastern

College Basketball Teams

NCAA Division I