Beyond the actual game being played on the court, the similarities between college basketball and its professional counterpart are few and far between. The tradition and passion you see in NCAA basketball on a regular basis is hard to fine in the NBA. Have you ever seen a game played in front of a completely silent crowd like at Taylor University? Or how about the "Cameron Crazies" student section at Duke, with thousands of blue-painted fans psyching out the opposing team?
College basketball diehards are made up of the school's current student base and alumni, and naturally, they're more invested in their school than fans of professional sports teams.
The passion those fans exude for their schools creates more intense rivalries, too. Some of the rivalries in sports are rooted in NCAA basketball — Duke vs. North Carolina, UCLA-Arizona, Louisville-Kentucky, among others. Bad blood in the NBA is a fleeting concept with players "taking their talents" to other teams on a regular basis.
The NBA's transient mentality leads to another college basketball advantage: players are forever tied to their alma mater. Take basketball legend Allen Iverson for example. He burned bridges throughout his professional career with Philadelphia, Denver, Memphis, and even overseas in Turkey. But on the campus of Georgetown, AI is welcomed back with open arms and is considered a Hoya for life.
Moreover, the pros are a player-driven league. Whereas LeBron James is calling the shots in Cleveland on and off the court, college basketball is ruled by head coaches. Loyalty runs deep in college gyms. Coaches like Jim Boeheim, Tom Izzo, and Mike Krzyzewski have dedicated the majority of their life to the school and players. Their job isn't about managing million-dollar egos like in the pros, instead they're turning boys into men.
Lastly and most importantly, the NBA postseason doesn't hold a candle to March Madness. Matter of fact, no playoff system in any sport compares to the NCAA Tournament. I mean, what do you expect when you bring together the 68 best teams in a single-elimination tournament? Madness — in the form of stunning upsets, heroic performances, cinderella stories, and net-cutting championship moments.
College basketball is a one-of-a-kind sport and that's the beauty of it. This page is jam-packed with betting tips to help you rack in money from 300-plus programs around the country.
Best NCAA Sportsbook Odds
Below is where you'll find sportsbook odds for all of the upcoming NCAA basketball games, whether it's regular season encounters or March Madness games.
College Basketball Betting Tips
When betting over/unders, you have to understand points come at a premium in college basketball. Unlike the NBA and its 48-minute games, NCAA contests their matchups in 40 minutes. There's also no quarters, only 20-minutes halves. Beyond that, the college game is played at a slower pace. Instead of 24-second shot clocks, NCAA plays with a 30-second clock.
Another key difference in the rules is free-throw shooting.
In college, starting with the seventh team foul, only one free throw is awarded — kind of. The player has to make that shot from the charity stripe to earn the second free throw. After the tenth foul, teams are awarded the standard two free throws.
Moreover, these players are amateurs — we'll save the pay-for-play debate for another day. Very few will end up in the NBA. With the skill level significantly lower, shooting percentages suffer in college basketball. All things considered, teams tend to hover around 65 points per game. Consider all the above before laying the hammer on a pedestrian total.
Skill level doesn't just play into lower scoring, either. Say a team does have a superstar, one-and-done player. It is much easier for an opposing head coach to key in on him and let the middle-of-the-road players beat you. That strategy fails more often in the NBA where any player can really kill you. A good coach is incredibly valuable in college basketball.
When betting, don't be surprised by college basketball's huge betting spreads. There's less parity in college basketball, meaning the gap between a ranked team and unranked team is usually wide.
This can bite you either way, though. While you might see a big program run an opponent out the gym, upsets are what make college basketball exciting. You never know when you'll end up on the bad end of a rush-the-court upset.
Lastly, playing at home is huge for any sport, but perhaps even more in college basketball. At the end of the day, a 19-year-old kid playing in a hostile environment, with fans getting into his psyche, has a bigger affect on him and the team. Rowdy student sections is what makes college basketball great, so it's a smart idea to ride with the home team when betting more times than not.