NCAA basketball is a big deal in California. Several elite Division I schools play in the state, and plenty of homegrown talent can be found at blueblood programs across the country. So when legalized online sports betting comes to pass in California, expect college basketball to be one of the biggest draws at sportsbooks.
While there are still a few hurdles to clear, legalized sports betting could hit California as early as the end of 2022. With that in mind, here are some of the college basketball betting sites we can expect to see.
Best college basketball betting sites in California
When California finally legalizes online gambling, expect a lot of California betting apps to pick from. No fewer than seven companies have already put in bids for potential licenses. Here are some of the top sites you can expect, along with the types of bets that they offer in neighboring states.
BetMGM Sportsbook app
BetMGM Sportsbook is one of the more popular NCAA basketball betting sites. This app offers a user-friendly interface and loads of options that cater to your betting needs. Some of the top features at BetMGM include:
- The easy parlay builder function
- ‘Edit my bet‘ after the action gets underway
- Great live betting
Caesars Sportsbook app
Caesars Sportsbook is a name that may not need any introduction, but the company is going out of its way to grow its online sports betting presence. The sportsbook features all of the bet types you could ask for on college hoops, as well as odds that are regularly competitive. Top highlights at Caesars include:
- Competitive odds for all NCAAB games
- Daily odds boosts and other promos
- Simple and easy-to-use interface
DraftKings Sportsbook app
DraftKings Sportsbook has grown to be one of the biggest brand names in the world of online sports betting. An incredibly slick platform is among its calling cards, as are a whole host of innovative features. There are plenty of highlights to be found at DraftKings, including:
- Menu layout for games and props
- Betting pools to compete for prizes
- Smooth live betting section
FanDuel Sportsbook app
FanDuel Sportsbook is another industry leader that offers one of the most user-friendly experiences that you’ll come across. Everything you need is at your fingertips, and all of the bases are covered for NCAAB. Among the things that you have to look forward to are:
- A huge menu of props and alternate lines
- Same-game parlays
- Odds among the best in the business
How to bet on college basketball online in California
It’s really easy to get started with online sportsbooks, and many of them also offer enticing sign-up bonuses or risk-free bets for new users. While there are slight variations between sports betting apps, here is the general process that you can expect when signing up for an account.
- Click on any link on this page to directly visit the online sportsbook and claim the bonus offer.
- From there, just follow the prompts and enter the requested information.
- Once your account is created, make a deposit or use your free bets.
- Take a look around, check out the NCAA odds menu, and prepare to wager.
From start to finish, the process should take only a few minutes of your time. Legal online California sports betting is poised to be a really big deal. Bettors will be able to pick and choose from the best sign-up bonuses from all of the top shops as a result.
College Basketball Betting Odds
When online sportsbooks officially go live in California, here’s where you’ll find the latest NCAAB game lines from legal online sportsbooks.
Top college basketball programs in California
UCLA is one of the most iconic college basketball programs with a record 11 NCAA titles, 10 of which came under legendary coach John Wooden.
The Bruins are in the Pac-12 Conference and play their games at Pauley Pavilion in Westwood, Los Angeles. Check the latest UCLA basketball odds here.
The Trojans represent the University of Southern California and also play in the Pac-12. They have 16 NCAA tournament appearances with one National Championship.
USC plays its home games at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. Check the latest USC basketball odds.
Most people know Stanford for academics, but the Cardinal have basketball chops. The Pac-12 team has been to 17 NCAA tournaments with a record of 23-16 and one National Championship in 1942.
Stanford plays its home games at the Maples Pavilion. Check the latest Stanford basketball odds.
How to find college basketball betting lines
When you visit an online sportsbook, there’s an A-Z menu of available markets. NCAAB and other popular sports may have their own dedicated icons that you can click on. If not, just look for basketball on the list and drill down to select college or NCAAB.
Once you’ve done that, all of the upcoming games will be listed out in the main betting lobby by start time. The main game listing will have the odds for the three main pregame bets:
To see additional options, just click through the listing. After you do so, you’ll see a range of options that include:
- Player props
- Game props
- Team props
- Alternate lines
Most sportsbooks also have a dedicated link for college basketball futures odds. You can get in early on March Madness by betting on the next National Champion and much more.
Once you’ve zeroed in on your bet of choice, simply click on the college basketball betting odds that correspond with your selection. It moves over to the betting slip where you’ll add in your stake, verify that everything is correct and make any necessary changes before clicking to submit.
The sportsbook will display your potential return right on the slip. Once the wager is placed, it’ll move over to the open bets section of your account where you can track and follow along until it’s settled.
Popular NCAA basketball betting lines
The most popular bets in college basketball are the main pregame bets, but there’s plenty more to consider. Here’s a brief look at how all of the top NCAA basketball bets work.
- Moneylines: A moneyline bet is when you pick the team you think will win the game. The odds will reflect how oddsmakers see the matchup: negative numbers for the favored side and positive digits for underdogs.
- Spreads: A point spread is set by sportsbooks on each game. It’s essentially the perceived difference between the two teams or an estimated margin of victory. You can choose the favorite minus the spread or the dog plus the points, but your pick has to cover the number for you to win.
- Totals: A totals bet is based on how many combined points will be scored in the game. Sportsbooks set the bar with an estimate, and bettors then get to pick over or under that number.
- Alternate lines: You can bet on variations of the listed spread and total with alternate lines. The odds will be adjusted based on how far they deviate from the pregame lines.
- Props: A prop is basically a bet on events that may happen during the game or by its conclusion. There are props for the game as a whole, as well as for the individual teams and players.
- Futures: A futures bet is on an event that won’t be decided until down the road, such as the winner of the National Championship or a team to reach the Final Four.
Betting on March Madness in CA
March Madness is when college basketball takes center stage. The NCAA Men’s D1 Basketball Tournament features 68 teams. Many teams receive an automatic bid for winning their conference tournaments, while the remainder are at-large picks chosen by the selection committee.
It’s a single-elimination tournament. Teams advance when they win and go home when they lose. March Madness can be a wild ride with lots of upsets, Cinderella stories and dominant performances by powerhouse programs. The futures market remains busy all year, but betting volume goes through the roof when the tournament field is set.
Beyond filling out a bracket, you can also bet on each game individually as the tourney plays out. March Madness is one of the most exciting betting times of the year and one of the busiest stretches for online sportsbooks. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for special promotions from the top shops.
NCAAB betting vs. NBA betting
Hoops may be hoops, but there are some distinct differences between betting on pro and college games. Here are some of the key points of difference between NCAA and NBA betting that you need to know.
- College basketball games are shorter (40 minutes compared to 48), so there tends to be less scoring than in NBA games. Average scoring outputs can make a big difference for totals and prop bets.
- Due to the sheer number of NCAA teams, it is harder for sportsbooks to handicap college basketball than the NBA. That opens up the possibility of finding an edge on lower-profile teams and games.
- The NBA is a star and highlight-driven league, while college basketball is more in tune with the sport in its purest form. The seemingly subtle differences impact game flow, passing and more.
Why do NCAAB betting sites remove the moneyline or spread?
Sportsbooks may remove the option to bet on a team’s moneyline or point spread in certain instances.
If a team is favored by a lot of points, college basketball betting sites may remove the option of betting on either team’s moneyline to help mitigate the risk of having to make significant payouts in the event of an upset. For massive favorites, moneyline odds are often very unappealing anyway.
When a game is too close to call, sometimes the sportsbook might remove the spread and allow only moneyline betting. This situation is known as PK or pick ’em odds.
NCAA basketball live betting
Live betting is one of the top innovations at online sportsbooks. This is real-time betting that’s ongoing after the games have already tipped off. As the action plays out, you’ll see a whole range of new odds and props to choose from, as well as updated odds for the top pregame bets.
Generally speaking, sportsbook apps are the best way to take advantage of all that live betting has to offer. You can log in once the game gets started and simply keep your eyes on the live odds. Things move fast with live betting, but apps are set up so you can tap and bet on a line you like instantaneously.
Also known as in play or in game, live betting gives you the opportunity to hedge your initial bets or double down as the situation warrants. It’s an incredibly exciting way to jump on any momentum swings that might come up, but remember not to get too swept away and to always bet responsibly.
NCAA betting rules
It’s essential to look at each site’s basketball betting rules before placing a bet. While most of the rules will be straightforward and virtually identical, there could be slight variations. Here are some of the standard rules to know.
- All bets are settled based on official game data and statistics. You’ll be paid out based on the NCAAB odds at the time of bet placement regardless of any moves in the numbers afterward.
- A slight delay in start time will not impact your wagers, but a cancellation, postponement or uncompleted game will lead to bets being voided.
- Unless otherwise specifically stated in the bet terms, as in a regulation-only bet, betting results will be inclusive of any overtime periods needed to determine a winner.
House rules can be found at all of the top shops. It’s on you as the bettor to know and understand them, so be sure to take the few minutes it takes to review wherever you play.
Vegas odds vs. CA sportsbook odds
Sports betting odds from Las Vegas have long been considered the gold standard, but times are changing. The odds coming out of Sin City are still heavily watched, but online sportsbooks in other legal markets are dishing out comparable numbers.
It’ll be the same story at California sportsbooks. There may be some differences for individual bets due to betting volume, but you’ll find that the numbers stack up quite well with Vegas and the market as a whole. You can still see what Vegas has to say if you want, but know that you can get the same odds closer to home.