According to most forms of measurement, basketball has now overtaken baseball to become the second most popular sport in the USA. It is second only to football, and as far as betting patterns go, the two sports have plenty of similarities. While the NFL attracts the lion’s share of football betting, college games are becoming increasingly popular for a wager. The same applies with basketball, where betting on NCCA games is becoming almost as big a deal as placing wagers on the NBA.

There are, however, some specific points you need to keep in mind when it comes to college basketball. This comprehensive guide to put some wagers on college basketball games goes into detail regarding the when, where and how of NCCA betting. Before you dive into all the finer points, however, let’s just cover some basics. 

Where to bet

More than 30 US states have now legalized sports betting – or to be precise, they have legalized sports books. We will look at that distinction in a moment. However, almost half of them have at least some restrictions on betting on college sports.

For example, the new sports betting laws in Massachusetts do not allow wagering on in-state college teams. Similar rules exist in New York, New Jersey, Virginia and Washington, while Arizona and Pennsylvania have restrictions on proposition betting in college games. 

Keep in mind, however, that these restrictions apply to the kind of bets that sports books within those states can offer. College basketball fans can place whatever bets they wish, wherever they are, but the restrictions might mean they have to seek sports books based out of state or even overseas.

When to bet

The NCCA season runs from November to April. Betting enthusiasts tend to enjoy placing ante-post or futures bets before the season gets underway on which teams they expect to prosper – or, indeed, to fail – over the season as a whole. 

The other time in the season that is popular for college basketball betting is during the March Madness tournament. The fast and furious nature of this tournament, in combination with its high profile, makes it one of the most popular events of the sports betting year, especially given that it all gets underway around a month after the excitement of the Super Bowl has had a chance to die down.

How to bet

Gamblers have a wide variety of basketball bets to choose from when betting on the NCCA. Remember, however, that sports books in certain states have restrictions on prop bets. Most bettors opt for either a moneyline bet, which is simply to back one or other team to win, a spread bet, which is even money on either team with the favorite having to win by a certain margin to “beat the spread” or an over/under. 

This last type of bet is particularly popular as you don’t have to commit to backing a winner. Instead, you predict whether or not the teams will score a combined points total above or below a certain figure. Get it right, and you win even money, less a ten percent commission for the sports book.