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The Top 5 Bet Types for Beginner College Basketball Bettors

by January 29, 2020

In the past, you’ve watched the NCAA Tournament. Like so many other sports fans, you’ve filled out your bracket for an office pool and, despite not watching a single game during the regular season, are surprised to see that you didn’t come out a champion. But this year you want it to be different. This year, you’re going to win every pool you enter because you’re going to start watching college basketball as soon as it starts. You’re going to follow trends, bet on games, and shock the world when you pick the next Loyola-Chicago. But where do you start? How do you make sure that your quest to achieve office pool domination doesn’t leave you penniless during the regular season? Don’t fear. Below you will find the five best bet types for novice college basketball bettors. Gain expertise in the below and you will be happy with your return on investment, even if Derek in sales wins the office pool because he picked based on his favorite color.

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This is the easiest way to get your footing in just about any type of betting, but is particularly useful when it comes to college basketball because of the NCAA Tournament. During March Madness, upsets are happening multiple times a day and a lot of them aren’t even that hard to predict. Last season, Oregon was an underdog against Wisconsin because it was a 5 vs 12 matchup, but many experienced bettors were all over the Ducks winning and moving on to the second round. The same was true of Loyola-Chicago when they upset the Miami Hurricanes in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Finding underdogs that offer great value is a lot easier to achieve in college basketball than it is in many other sports.


I’m not talking about the NCAA Tournament either, which probably offers the worst return on investment because of all the upsets that occur throughout the event. But there are numerous regular-season tournaments that give you the opportunity to bet on teams from a variety of conferences who are trying to take home an early-season title. Betting on regular-season tournaments is helpful for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is that you’ll get to see how teams perform when they have to play multiple games in consecutive days. How will they compete on tired legs, even early in the season? This is great knowledge to have when it comes time for conference tournaments because you’ll be able to look back and see which teams excelled and which didn’t. Smaller conference tournaments also offer great odds for underdogs to take home the crown. And much like the NCAA Tournament, upsets happen all the time when seasons are on the line.


This will require you to watch the game but, in all likelihood, if you’re electing to bet on a college basketball game it’s probably because you’re watching it anyway. Second-half bets give you the opportunity to adjust for things that happened in the first half. Maybe there was an injury to a key player or perhaps the total is just much lower than expected. You can look at this information and figure out how to use it to your advantage. Maybe a huge favorite is trailing at the half, and while you might not get great moneyline odds for them, if it’s expected that they’re going to come back and win then you may be able to get a lower total than where the game was expected to finish. Watch the game, see how it’s playing out, and then find the best second-half bets to really increase your ROI.


As always, point spread betting is a great way to start to see if you truly have an understanding of the game. One great way to really elevate your ROI with college basketball, however, is live point spread betting. College basketball offers a lot of really large point spreads and while they might not seem appealing at first, they can easily hit desirable numbers if the game starts off in an unexpected way. Sometimes, lesser opponents come out firing against much more talented schools and keep the game close for 10 minutes or so. When that happens, the point spread will drop considerably and you’ll be able to get a much more favorable, yet still obtainable number than you would have had you bet before the game began. Of course, this takes a bit of luck because you’ll need the game to start off in a particular way to get the more favorable number, but having an understanding of which teams start fast and which start slow will really help you.


Totals are a great way to elevate your return on investment when betting on college basketball. I mentioned this in another article I wrote about which college basketball trends to not trust, but I will say it again here because it is very important to understand. A lot of times smaller conference games aren’t as closely monitored as the bigger market matchups. There are 351 programs in the nation after all, which makes it hard to watch closely. A lot of times point totals will be set by simply looking at how many points teams average, but when there are mismatches between Power 5 and smaller market teams, those averages may as well go out the window. Smaller conference teams can pad their stats against weaker foes, but will likely struggle to score against bigger and better opponents. So don’t just look at averages, but also study schedules and see how teams have fared against different types of opponents.

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Philip Wood is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Philip, check out his archive and follow him @Phil_Wood_Jr.

Betting Tips, College Basketball