While college basketball is best known for March Madness, you should know your betting rules before you get to the NCAA Tournament. Here are the basics to get a foundation before you go deeper into the subject.

Money Lines
When it comes to the money line for a game, all that matters is picking a winner, so this might be the best option to choose if you don’t know college basketball that well. Basically, what happens is, you put up an amount of money on a team to win, and based on the odds of a game, that is what you win. For example, you have Syracuse playing Georgetown at home. You might see this:

Syracuse (-135)

Georgetown (+120)

Based on a bet of $100, you would have to bet $135 to win that $100 on Syracuse because they are the favorite. On the other hand, if you would like to bet on the underdog from Georgetown, you would win $120 if you bet $100. Basically, you have to bet more on the favorite to get anything back.

Point Spreads
Point spreads are for players who know the game a little better than someone just starting out in the world of betting. If you are betting on the point spread, you are betting on the margin of victory on either side. Using the above example, you could see something like:

Syracuse (-3)

Georgetown (+3)

Here, to get a return on Syracuse, they would have to win the game by more than three points. If they were to win by only three, that would result in a push, which is a tie. In the case of a push, you get your stake back. On the other side, Georgetown would need to lose by two points or less, or win the game outright, in order for you to make money on the Hoyas.

When looking at NCAA Basketball odds, the underdogs can definitely be more profitable but the favorites are favored for a good reason: home court advantage is usually a big reason. A favorite can also be favored because they are simply better than the other team or a combination of and the fact that they’re at home. You can find yourself cheering for or against late free throws in games that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things but can swing a wager on the point spread.

Totals are as simple as it gets: you are wagering on the amount of points the two teams will score combined and the bet is whether the actual total will be over or under the total set by the sportsbook. Again, going with Syracuse and Georgetown, the total could be 120.5 points. Mainly sportsbooks will throw in a half-point just to avoid a push and they’ll do that with point spreads as well. You can bet on the final total being over or under 120.5 points. It really is that easy to wager on totals. 

Now, go do some research and start betting on college basketball!