Betting on NCAA Basketball

Legal sports betting has come to Michigan, making it easy for anyone 21 years old and over, who are inside state lines, to bet on NCAA Division I men’s basketball.

Licensed retail sportsbooks across the Wolverine State are now making plans to run bracket contests for March Madness next year. They’re also booking everything from college basketball moneylines, point spreads, totals, futures, and parlays.

Add in the fact Michigan online and mobile sportsbooks will soon launch with plans to do the same and college basketball betting is set to explode across the Great Lakes State.

NCAAB futures will be available year-round and single-game wagering is an option throughout the regular season, conference tournaments and NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, otherwise known as March Madness.

Michigan is home to seven DI men’s programs, including the eight-time Final Four participant and 1989 NCAA Champion Michigan Wolverines and 10-time Final Four participant and 1979 and 2000 NCAA Champion Michigan State Spartans.

That makes the state one of the biggest college basketball hotbeds in the country and big-time NCAA basketball betting numbers should follow.

From a look at the best college basketball bets and the sportsbooks willing to take them, to betting tips and college basketball history right here at home, here is everything you need to know about betting on NCAAB in Michigan.

Betting on college basketball in Michigan

Legal sports betting launched in Michigan in March 2020 with the opening of retail sportsbooks inside Detroit’s three commercial casinos. If parts of the state’s rule-making process can be expedited, online and mobile sports betting could launch as soon as October 2020.

There is also one tribal casino sportsbook in Michigan, as FireKeepers Casino launched Dacey’s Sportsbook in June 2020.

Check back here for details regarding the top operators in Michigan when the online and mobile sports betting launches. In the meantime, here’s a look at how the Michigan sport betting market is shaping up:

  • Greektown Casino Hotel: Penn National Gaming and tech partner Kambi opened a temporary sportsbook with plans to build a permanent Barstool Sports-branded sportsbook and launch a Barstool Sports-branded mobile sports betting app.
  • MGM Grand Detroit: MGM turned its recently launched sports bar into a BetMGM sportsbook, and a BetMGM online sportsbook and online casino are coming soon.
  • MotorCity Casino Hotel: MotorCity launched a FanDuel Sportsbook retail outlet on the property, and an online and mobile FanDuel Sportsbook product is on the way.

NCAA basketball mobile betting apps

When Michigan’s online and mobile sports betting market does launch, you will be able to bet on NCAA basketball with a mobile device through legal and licensed Michigan online and mobile sports betting apps, provided you are 21 or over and inside state lines.

No other method will be more convenient for betting on college basketball lines because you will be able to access these apps and place bets anywhere you are inside Michigan with internet access.

You will need to download an app, register for an account, and deposit before you can bet. However, the top Michigan online and mobile sports betting apps on the market will make this an easy process.

Most apps are available for download to iPhone/iPad and Android devices through sports betting websites. Signing up for an account requires you to provide a minimal amount of personal and account information, including the following:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Email address
  • Social Security number, or the last four digits

Of course, you’re also going to want to sign up using our exclusive promo code, ensuring you receive the best sign-up bonus available.

Finally, you can deposit money in your Michigan online and mobile sports betting app account using one of several convenient methods of deposit. These include online bank transfers, cash at certain retail locations, credit cards, debit cards, and popular third-party e-wallets like PayPal.

After that, you will be ready to browse through the betting markets on the app and tap on any bets you wish to make.

Is it legal to bet on college basketball in Michigan?

Yes! As long as you are 21, inside the state, and betting with a licensed Michigan sports betting operator, you can bet on college basketball in Michigan.

In December 2019, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a package of gambling expansion bills legalizing online casinos in Michigan, online poker, and sports betting.

Since no restrictions were placed on NCAA betting inside the state, these laws effectively allow licensed online and retail sportsbooks to offer moneyline, spread, and totals bets on every Division I college basketball game. There are also multi-game NCAA basketball parlays, futures allowing you to wager on the eventual winner of the NCAA Tournament, and traditional March Madness bracket contests.

Detroit’s three commercial casinos launched the state’s first licensed retail sportsbooks in March 2020. Michigan online and mobile wagering will go live in late 2020 or early 2021.

How college basketball betting works

Basic NCAA basketball betting is quite easy. Putting traditional March Madness bracket contests aside for a minute, here’s a list of the basic ways you can bet on college basketball:

Moneyline: A moneyline bet is a wager on which team will win the game. All other factors besides the final score are irrelevant to the bet. Moneylines are denoted by the three-digit number next to each team’s name. A negative number means that the team is the favorite, and the number listed is how much you’d have to bet in order to win $100. Conversely, a positive number denotes the underdog in the match, and the three-digit number is your payout for a successful $100 wager.

Spread: In this type of wager, you are betting on how accurately you believe the sportsbook has estimated the margin of victory. The book will set the spread before the game by assigning positive and negative versions of the same number to each team in a match. The team with the negative number is the favorite, and in order for your bet to win, the team must win the game by more points than the estimate. A positive-numbered team is the favorite, and a winning bet on this crew requires them to lose by fewer points than the spread.

Totals: A totals bet is better known as the “over-under” because you are wagering whether the combined point total in a game will be over or under the sportsbook’s estimate.

Parlays: In parlay betting, you fold multiple wagers into one single bet. Each constituent wager in a parlay is known as a leg. These bets are high-risk, high-reward situations because it is necessary for every single leg to be chosen correctly in order for the bet to pay out. The risk is so great that successful parlays with greater than 10 legs are often newsworthy, both for their unlikeliness and their resulting payout.

Live betting: Live betting, on in-play wagering, is a type of proposition wager on games that are already in progress. Thanks to the technology of the day, online sportsbooks in Michigan can offer bets on events as small as single plays. So, it’s not uncommon for a single NCAA game to have more than one hundred possible wagers.

How to bet on the NCAA Basketball Tournament

There are three ways to bet on conference tournaments and the NCAA’s March Madness, including:

  • Brackets
  • Futures
  • Single game betting


For the most part, bracket contests are how most people wager on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. You fill out a 63-game bracket prior to the start tournament, then submit it either into a paid pool or a free NCAA Tournament bracket contest. Many Michigan sportsbooks will run both.

Pick winners, enter one of the top brackets in the contest or pool, and you’ll pick up a share of the prize pool.


Michigan sportsbooks host futures markets which allow you to wager on teams to win a conference tournament or the National Championship. Futures markets are open year-round with odds that are adjusted throughout the season.

Single game betting

Michigan sportsbooks allow you to bet on every single NCAA basketball game throughout the regular season, conference tournaments, and March Madness.

Betting on each game allows you the freedom to pick or choose your bets, whereas using a tournament bracket requires you to make picks for every game in the tournament.

NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball

NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball consists of 351 schools in 32 conferences. Teams play between 25 and 35 regular-season games between November and March. Each Division I conference then hosts its own seeded tournament.

Conference tournament champions are usually granted entry into the annual NCAA Tournament. The NCAA then picks 34 other teams for March Madness in order to seed the rest of the field.

Some lower-seeded teams may then have to play their way into the NCAA Tournament’s first round through First Four games.

Once it’s down to 64 teams, the first weekend of NCAA Tournament begins, and each team plays up to two games between Thursday and Sunday. The following weekend narrows the field through the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. The four teams that survive the second weekend – the Final Four – play for the National Championship the following weekend.

How you can watch NCAA Basketball in Michigan

Television networks such as CBS, CBS Sports, ESPN, ESPNU, ESPN2, FS1,  and FOX air NCAA basketball games throughout the year.

For Michigan fans, Big Ten Tournament games air on the Big Ten Network from the opening round through the quarterfinal. CBS airs the Big Ten Tournament semifinals and championship game. Regular-season games also air on the Big Ten Network, ESPN, and FOX Sports.

March Madness games broadcast live on CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV. The tournament also hosts a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Games also stream live on

Michigan NCAAB teams

Michigan Wolverines

The Wolverines represent the Ann Arbor-based University of Michigan in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference. The Wolverines have played in 29 NCAA Tournaments. From those 29 appearances, Michigan has made it to the Final Four eight times, the Elite Eight 14 times, and the Sweet 16 an impressive 15 times.

Michigan won the 1989 National Championship behind the play of the tournament’s most outstanding player Glen Rice and coaching from Steve Fisher. Michigan beat Seton Hall, 80–79, in overtime in the championship game.

The Wolverines’ latest Final Four appearance came in 2018 when the team beat Loyola-Chicago in the semifinals and lost to Villanova in the championship game, 79–62.

The Wolverines are now coached by Juwan Howard, an alumnus who played on the school’s famed Fab Five teams in the 1990s. Howard, who played 19 seasons in the NBA, took over the Wolverines in May 2019 after the surprising resignation of John Beilein.

Michigan State Spartans

The Spartans represent East Lansing’s Michigan State University in the NCAA’s Big Ten Conference.

The Spartans have appeared in 33 NCAA Tournaments, including 22 straight, with two National Championships and 10 Final Four appearances. The Spartans 1977 National Championship team was led by basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson. The 2000 National Championship team was led by seniors Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson and coached by Tom Izzo.

The Spartans beat the Florida Gators, 89–76, in the 2000 title game.

Izzo is already a Hall of Fame coach and has long sought his elusive second national title. The school received a noteworthy commitment in June 2020 from local prep star Emoni Bates that has MSU fans excited for the future.

More Michigan NCAA Division I Basketball

Other Michigan-based NCAA Division I Basketball programs include:

  • Detroit Mercy Titans (Horizon League)
  • Oakland Golden Grizzlies (Horizon League)
  • Central Michigan Chippewas (Mid-American Conference)
  • Eastern Michigan Eagles (Mid-American Conference)
  • Western Michigan Broncos (Mid-American Conference)

Tips for betting on NCAA Basketball

NCAA basketball is fun to watch and even more fun to bet on. Of course, college basketball betting is infinitely more enjoyable when you’re winning.

These beginner betting tips should help:

  • Focus: There are more than 350 DI basketball programs across the country. So, it’s almost impossible to closely follow everything happening in the world of NCAA basketball. It’s best to pick a team or two, possibly local schools. Follow and bet on them exclusively. Focusing your research can lead to improved win rates.
  • Watch games: Observe as many NCAA basketball games as you can in order to turn your picks from random guesses into educated conjectures. Form betting opinions based on the data you uncover by watching teams play.
  • Do some research: The internet is filled with college hoops information and you can use it to inform your picks. Check out CBS Sports, ESPN, FOX Sports, and/or local sports affiliates where you can study game summaries and statistics. Plus, use local resources, area newspapers, and local TV/radio stations to give yourself an edge.
  • Make situational picks: Look for rivalry games, scheduling conflicts, and teams ripe for an upset because of the situation the schedule has put them in. You may find yourself a step ahead of oddsmakers by paying attention to more than just the current matchup.
  • Look for movement: If a line moves significantly prior to game time, there is an opportunity to make money by “fading” the public. Stick to oddsmakers original predictions and take advantage of movements in the line forced by public money.

College Basketball FAQ

How many teams play basketball in the NCAA's Division I?

There are 351 schools in 32 different Division I conferences.

When do college basketball teams play their seasons?

The NCAA regular season runs between November and March. Most teams play 25 to 35 games during their seasons, then play conference tournaments at the beginning of March. The best of the best will then enter March Madness in mid-March and (hopefully) play through early April.

What happened to NCAA basketball in the 2019-20 season?

Unfortunately, the 2019-20 season was cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Can you name the last 10 NCAA basketball champions?

2019: Virginia
2018: Villanova
2017: North Carolina
2016: Villanova
2015: Duke
2014: Connecticut
2013: Louisville
2012: Kentucky
2011: Connecticut
2010: Duke

What is the winningest team in NCAA Tournament history?

UCLA has won 11 National Championships, making it the winningest program in NCAA Tournament history. However, UCLA has not won a title since 1995.

Which team has reached the Final Four most often?

With 20, the North Carolina Tar Heels have made more Final Four appearances than any other NCAA basketball team.

The Tar Heels have won seven National Championships with the last one coming in 2017.

What’s the difference between NCAA basketball lines in Las Vegas and Michigan?

Not much. Most opening lines for college basketball games in Las Vegas and Michigan sportsbooks are going to be the same.

Differences are found when the lines move because of heavy betting on one side or the other. Since Vegas is a more mature betting market with more money, there’s more line movement.

Can I bet on Michigan NCAA basketball teams?

Yes. Michigan law does not prohibit betting on college sports.

Where does the NCAA stand on sports betting?

The NCAA has come out against betting on college basketball, citing concerns over corruption of the spirit of the game and the athletes themselves. However, there is no evidence that sports betting negatively affects the games themselves, so don’t sweat it too much.

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