NCAA Basketball Betting Guide for 2020

The number of athletes who compete every year in top-level sport organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association is about half a million.

Basketball is one of the biggest college sports enjoyed by fans in the United States and Canada. There are a host of online NCAA betting opportunities that help to bring spectators closer to the action.

In this guide we’ll tell you:

  • How betting on NCAA basketball works
  • What NCAA basketball fans enjoy betting on
  • How to get into live betting on NCAA basketball
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An Introduction to NCAA Basketball

Basketball supporters who enjoy top-quality of play have a host of games to spark their interest each year.

  • NCAA Basketball - Fact 1

    NCAA basketball features 353 schools playing in 32 Division I conferences

  • NCAA Basketball - Fact 2

    There are also 24 Division II basketball conferences, with nearly 50 further conferences in Division III

  • NCAA Basketball - Fact 3

    Unlike the NBA, where matches have four quarters, NCAA games are divided into two halves of 20 minutes

  • NCAA Basketball - Fact 4

    The champion of each Division I conference qualifies for an annual tournament

  • NCAA Basketball - Fact 5

    They are joined by 36 selected teams

  • NCAA Basketball - Fact 6

    These 68 then compete in a single-elimination tournament, known as March Madness

  • NCAA Basketball - Fact 7

    It takes place over three weeks, with the Final Four usually played on the first weekend in April

How NCAA Basketball Odds Work

Betting on NCAA basketball mirrors the way wagering takes place on the NBA and other head-to-head sports. This is a simple guide to how the odds work.

Take the example of a match between Duke and MI State. The odds, expressed as decimals, may read:

Duke
Duke
1.8
MI State
MI State
2.1

If you stake C$10 on Duke, the favourite, you get back C$18. If you put C$10 on Washington, the underdogs, your return is C$21.

You might see odds in other formats, such as fractional and moneyline (also known as American) odds.

However, most sportsbooks let you swap between systems to let you choose how you view prices. Try out our Odds Calculator to see how they compare.

NCAA Basketball Betting Options

Match Bets
  • The point spread

    The point spread

    This is also known as handicap betting. A sportsbook sets a figure predicting by how many points one side will win, then gives you a 50-50 choice. You decide whether you think one side will win – or lose – by more than that margin.

    Eg:
    Michigan
    State
    -5.5
    1.90
    Michigan State -5.5
    Texas
    Tech
    +7.5
    1.90
    Texas Tech +7.5
  • The moneyline

    The moneyline

    This time there isn’t a handicap, simply a straight choice. Which team is going to win the match?

    Eg:
    Liberty
    1.70
    Liberty
    Auburn
    2.25
    Auburn
  • Total points – over or under

    Total points – over or under

    How many points do you think the teams will score in total? If you think it’ll be a higher-scoring match than the sportsbook, the overs are for you.

    Eg:
    Over
    140.5
    1.90
    Under
    140.5
    1.90
  • Quarter bets

    Quarter bets

    Which side will score more points in the first quarter?

    Eg:
    Utah
    State
    1.75
    Utah State
    New Mexico
    State
    2.15
    New Mexico State
  • Prop bets

    Prop bets

    Proposition bets, to give them their full name, do not relate to the overall outcome. These are special markets on events within a game.

    Eg:
    Mamadi Diakite to score
    the first points
    3.2
    Mamadi Diakite
Season Bets
  • To win the Conference

    To win the Conference

    You may have a strong hunch that one team is sure to win its conference. You can wager on this well in advance.

    Eg:
    To win ACC:
    Duke
    5.0
    Duke
  • To reach the latter stages

    To reach the latter stages

    This bet is for you if you reckon your selection can go deep in the tournament. Semi-finalists are called the Sweet Sixteen, finalists the Elite Eight.

    Eg:
    To reach the Elite Eight:
    Yale
    26.0
    Yale
  • To win the NCAA National Championship

    To win the NCAA National Championship

    Perhaps you have a very strong fancy for the overall winner of March Madness. The earlier you put money on it, the better the odds should be.

    Eg:
    To win March Madness:
    North Carolina
    41.0
    North Carolina

What is NCAA basketball Live Betting?

  • These days you can wager after the game has started
  • Sportsbooks will offer odds that fluctuate according to the way the action unfolds
  • You may bet on markets such as who wins the next quarter
  • You can still wager on the overall outcome of the match
  • Bettors enjoy trying to outsmart sportsbooks as the match goes on
Live betting

Brief NCAA Basketball Timeline

Basketball is invented at Springfield College, Massachusetts

1891

The NCAA, established four years earlier, takes its new name

1906

The first NCAA national championship, in track and field, is held

1921

Oregon wins the first NCAA national basketball championship

1939

The all-black Texas Western basketball team face an all-white Kentucky line-up – a landmark in the civil rights movement

1966

Members are divided into three divisions – I, II and III

1973

UCLA wins the basketball title for the 10th time in 12 years

1975

Mike Krzyzewski takes over as head coach as Duke, where he wins five national titles

1980

Christian Laettner completes his record haul of 407 points from 23 NCAA tournament games

1992

The NCAA moves to its current HQ in Indianapolis – it now awards 90 national championships each year

1997

For the first time, a total of 68 teams take part in March Madness

2011

UMBC springs the biggest shock in the event’s history by beating top seed Virginia 75-54.

2018

Recent NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions

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

Conclusion

Betting on NCAA basketball is hugely popular in Canada. Given widespread cellphone ownership, and the innovation of sportsbooks, it has never been easier to bet on.

To find out everything you might ever need to know about basketball betting in Canada, check out our home page.

Conclusion

FAQs

Basketball Icon What is The NCAA?

The organization that has overall responsibility for collegiate sports in the United States. Basketball is one of the most popular sports it administers.

Star Icon What are the most popular NCAA basketball bets?

The point spread offers supporters the chance to pit their wits against a handicap set by a sportsbook. This is a perennial favourite with NCAA basketball bettors.

FAQ Site Icon What are the best NCAA basketball betting sites?

Our online betting guide tells you all the areas you need to know about when choosing a site. These include important considerations such as security, licensing, range of bets and bonuses.

All of your recommended online casinos, shown further up this page, score highly on all the above.

Mobile Icon Can I bet on NCAA basketball on mobile?

You certainly can. Nearly all sportsbooks now boast user-friendly apps that allow you to bet on your device.

Live Icon What is NCAA basketball live betting?

Once the game gets under way, sportsbooks will offer you the ability to wager on the live action, as well as the overall result.

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