Over the past 25 years, the Toronto Raptors have turned Canada into a country full of basketball fans and players. As it turns out, the trickle-down effect has been more and more Canadians playing in men’s and women’s D1 basketball programs south of the border than ever before.
Canadians can be found starting and coming off the bench from Top 25 teams in Power 5 conference teams to mid-majors and everywhere in between. Just a few years ago Anthony Wiggins and Anthony Bennett became the first two Canadians selected #1 in the NBA draft. Wiggins was drafted out of Kansas and Bennett from UNLV. The legacy of Canadian success in the NCAA has only grown from there.
But that’s just one of the many reasons NCAA basketball betting is already popular among provincial lottery parlay bettors and why it will explode with single-game sports betting in Canada. Here’s a detailed look at how Canadians can bet on NCAA basketball in all provinces in all kinds of different ways.
Single-game college basketball betting vs parlay betting
Up until now, if you wanted to bet on NCAA basketball legally in Canada, you had to do it through a provincial lottery sports parlay product. That meant stringing multiple winning bets together in a parlay, the hardest bet to win in all of the sports betting.
It also meant accepting the odds offered by lottery corporations with a 35-year-old monopoly on legal sports betting, which has hardly been fair.
Of course, that meant Canadians started betting elsewhere, in grey markets that are neither completely legal nor completely safe. While somewhere near $500 million a year is bet with provincial lottery sports parlay products in Canada, it is estimated Canadians bet as much as $14 billion a year through illegal bookies and offshore online sportsbooks.
Single-game betting is a game-changer in Canada and will bring most of that $14 billion out of the dark and into the light. Canadians won’t have to bet parlays to bet legally, which gives them a better chance to win. Plus, private operators in Ontario will mean real competition and fair prices.
Canada legalizing single-game betting means a lot of things, but those things start with increased consumer protections, fair prices, and a fair shot for Canadians who want to bet on college basketball and other sports
Live betting on college basketball
As single-game betting comes to Canada, live betting follows. Live betting means betting on NCAA basketball games that are already underway. It’s mostly the same markets that you might have bet on before the game at odds that change with the action on the court. However, quarter, half, and live prop markets should also be available live.
Live NCAA basketball betting is a fast and fun way to increase your activity on a game or make up for some pregame betting mistakes. The odds are constantly adjusted based on time, score, and momentum, which means they can change in an instant. That means online sportsbooks are the best way to keep up. You just can’t get a bet down quick enough any other way.
Some US states with legal sports betting have instituted restrictions on live college basketball betting, particularly bets involving local games or local schools. However, that shouldn’t be a problem in Canada, as NCAA basketball primarily involves US schools playing on US soil.
Why NCAA basketball betting is great for beginners
US college basketball betting is great for sports betting beginners, even here in Canada, because it’s relatively predictable. Teams play according to type and higher-ranked programs beat lower-ranked or unranked teams with regularity.
Sure, upsets happen, but they’re rare. Even in March Madness, famous for a few stunning upsets that happen almost every year, lower seeds advance further than higher seeds almost all the time.
The NCAA Tournament also represents one of the most fun ways to bet on any sport: The Bracket Challenge. That means picking the winners of all 67 tournament games before the tournament starts and entering your completed bracket in a contest. It takes a lot of luck to find bracket-building success, giving beginners just as much a chance of winning as seasoned gamblers and college basketball experts.
NCAA basketball betting is great for beginners because:
- It’s comparatively predictable
- Upsets (generally) are rare; and
- March Madness is probably the most fun you’ll ever have betting on sports
How to read college basketball lines
Here’s an example of a typical college basketball betting line you might find posted at an online sportsbook in Canada:
- Syracuse +6.5 (-110) +225 O 140.5 (-110)
- Oregon -6.5 (-110) -275 U 140.5 (-110)
First is the spread and the odds on spread bets in brackets. Here, Syracuse is 6.5-point underdogs to Oregon. That means Syracuse has to either win outright or lose by six points or fewer, for spread bets on Syracuse to win.
If that happens, Syracuse spread bettors will win $100, plus their bet back, for every $110 they bet. Oregon has to win by seven or more for spread bets on Oregon to win. However, both bets pay the same -110 odds.
Next is the moneyline. Here, Syracuse is +225 underdogs to Oregon. That means if Syracuse wins outright, moneyline bets on the team will pay $225, plus the bet back, for every $100 bet.
Oregon is -275 moneyline favourites. That means if Oregon wins outright, moneyline bets on them will pay $100, plus the bet back, for every $275 bet.
Finally, you see the totals line with the odds in brackets. Here, you are betting that the final combined score will be over or under 140.5 points. That half-point makes sure there will be no push. The over is 141 points or more. The under is 140 points or less. Both bets will pay $100, plus the bet back, for every $110 bet.
College basketball futures
NCAA futures may involve betting on a team to win its conference, conference tournament, or the NCAA Tournament. Either way, you’ll be able to book the bet at currently posted moneyline odds that change throughout the year based on each team’s perceived chances of winning. These futures lines work just like game moneylines.
NCAA basketball game props
NCAA props may involve betting on a team or player to achieve certain statistical milestones, like scoring more or less than a certain number of points in a game. These bets work like totals bets, with oddsmakers setting the line on a prop and you booking either side at currently posted moneyline odds.
NCAAB betting tips and strategies
Here are three college basketball betting strategies that may help turn your NCAAB bets into winners:
- Do the research: Narrow your focus to one conference or region and consume everything you can about it. Good, focussed research can turn guesses into educated and informed picks.
- Watch the games: There’s no substitute for watching NCAA basketball games yourself. It’s the best kind of research you can do. Combine it with reading boxscores and you’ll quickly become an expert on those teams you’re watching. Experts make better picks across the board. Experts win.
- Identify the potential upsets: College basketball is great for beginners because it’s mostly predictable, but it can be great for you when it isn’t. Upsets are where you can get paid because of the long odds on underdogs. You can easily identify potential upsets by looking for trap games, where one team might be looking past another, or revenge games and intra-conference matchups where underdogs might play above their heads against a familiar opponent.
Betting on March Madness in Canada
March Madness has become the second biggest event in sports betting after the Super Bowl. NCAA Division I men’s basketball includes more than 350 schools in 32 conferences, each of which typically plays between 25 and 35 regular-season games from November through March. Then, each conference hosts its tournament in early March to determine a champion.
The winners of all 32 conference tournaments get an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Then, the NCAA Selection Committee gets together to make another 36 other at-large selections. The committee also determines seeding and who has to play their way into the First Round through the First Four games.
That leaves 64 teams to play a total of 67 games over three weekends until an NCAA Division I men’s basketball champion is crowned. Of course, you can get in on all the March Madness action by betting on individual games. Or, dive headfirst into the traditional way most Americans bet on the NCAA Tournament every year by filling out a complete bracket ahead of the First Round and entering it in a bracket contest.
You can probably expect both to be available via provincial lotteries and privately run and provincially licensed online sportsbooks across the country ahead of the 2022 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament.
Why stick to legal NCAAB betting sites in Canada
Since the provincial lottery corporations offering sports betting in Canada also provide government-backed consumer protection to you, it has always made more sense to bring your action to them rather than risk it with shady grey-market offshore sportsbooks. Unfortunately, forced parlay betting and the lack of competitive odds have led to Canadians betting just $500 million legally, compared to $14 billion illegally, every year.
The government-backed consumer protections will still be here with legal single-game wagering in Canada, even with private sportsbook operators in the market. Forced parlay betting and less-than-competitive odds are also gone, meaning you have no excuse to bet with grey-market sportsbooks anymore.
Illegal offshore online sportsbooks offer zero consumer protection and nowhere to turn if you have an issue of any kind. They might simply disappear with your winnings or refuse to pay out and you’d have absolutely no one to complain to. At least no one is willing to help. Your funds aren’t safe and neither is your personal information. Plus, banking can be downright difficult.
NCAA basketball betting is enough of a gamble all by itself without getting involved with shady grey-market offshore sportsbook operators and the risk they pose.
Sportsbook rules for NCAA basketball
College basketball has its rules, and sportsbooks have their rules when it comes to betting on it. These rules are always published and almost always include certain terms, conditions, and basic procedures for bets and payouts.
You should always read these rules for college basketball betting published by the sportsbook you’re betting with. Some of these basic rules may also apply:
- NCAA statistics and official scores are used to settle all bets.
- All bets on cancelled or postponed games are considered no action and returned.
- Halves must be complete before half-bets are settled. Otherwise, they are considered no action and returned.
- Game and second half bets include overtime if it goes there.
- Totals bets also include overtime
Vegas sportsbook odds vs Canadian sportsbook odds
Sportsbooks are copycats. That means most NCAA basketball game odds open up the same at online sportsbooks in Canada as they do inside traditional Las Vegas sportsbooks. However, they could change quite a bit by tip-off.
Sportsbooks set lines to draw an equal dollar amount to each side of a bet. That way they can realize the vig and earn a profit without sweating the outcome of the game. If more money is bet on one side, they’ll move that line to try to even things out. However, only the sportsbook where that money is bet will make the change, as the others are presumably still close enough to even at the original line.
That’s why a line might change at one sportsbook and not another, and explains why an NCAA basketball game line will open up the same at online sportsbooks in Canada and traditional sportsbooks in Las Vegas, but end up quite different by tip-off.
How to bet on NCAAB online in Canada
Canadians have been able to bet on NCAA basketball online with certain provincial lottery products. However, you have to put together multiple picks as part of a parlay and the odds paid are hardly equal to those you’ll find in an open and competitive sports betting market.
Ending the ban on single-game betting in Canada changes all that and opens up a whole new range of NCAA basketball betting options at fair market prices.
More than 350 NCAA basketball programs are playing in 32 conferences from coast to coast across the US. That means NCAA basketball is on at all hours from October through April from Canada’s East Coast to West Coast. Live out West and you can get bets down on an ACC game in the afternoon and a PAC-12 matchup in the evening. Live on Eastern Standard Time and you can make up for some early evening Big Ten betting mistakes by getting in on some late-night Mountain West action. The options are almost endless.
How to open an online betting account in Canada
Getting set up with a privately run and provincially licensed online sportsbook requires you to open an account and make a deposit before you can start betting on NCAA basketball.
To open an account, click on our exclusive link to the online sportsbook of your choice. Once there, you can sign up for an account on the website or download and install the sportsbook app and register via your phone. You’ll need to provide some personal information and may also be asked for a promo code or bonus code. However, it’ll only take a few minutes to sign up, and enter the code at that time will make sure you get the best bonus available.
To deposit money, just choose from the different deposit methods available under the ‘Cashier’ tab on the website or the app. Everything from Interac and online banking to payment processors like PayPal should be available.
After that, you should be ready to browse through the NCAA basketball lines and find something to bet on. The betting process is as simple as clicking a bet you like and completing the instantly created bet slip. Picking winners is the only hard part.