How To Bet On College Basketball ( NCAAB) | LeoVegas

How to Bet on College Basketball (NCAAB): Complete Guide

The National Collegiate Athletic Association Basketball League (NCAAB) is part of the overall NCAA championships that cover a wide range of other popular college sports too. In this College Basketball betting guide, we will help to describe the NCAAB, how it works, explain how to bet on College Basketball, and highlight some College Basketball betting markets.

Table of Content:

How to Bet on NCAAB

  1. You can place bets on College Basketball by following these simple steps:

  2. Navigate your way to the sports betting page and select Basketball.

  3. From there, scroll down to the International competitions where you will see NCAAB.

  4. Select this option and you will open up all the available College Basketball sports betting on markets that cover both ‘outright' and ‘events'.

  5. Select the event or outright bet you want to place.

  6. If you want to jump straight to the action, click on the button below and go straight to the odds page.


NCAAB Betting Promotion

Fancy putting your basketball prediction skills to the test? You can bag a $10 Free Bet to use on any combination bet if your stake of $10+ or more on any NCAAB market loses.

That’s right. It’s a free shot!

Terms and conditions

The offer is available from the 18th of March 2024 until the 8th of April 2024. Time to claim: 3 Days. Qualifying bets can be placed on Pre-match & Live. Min odds 1.80; only on NCAAB markets. Qualifying bet amount: $10. Time to place the Second bet chance bet: 3 days. Second chance bet amount: $10. The $10 Free Bet is available on all sports markets, with a min selection of 3 and min. odds of 2.50. Free Bet is available on Live & Pre-match markets. Free Bet stakes is not included in returns. Available on both Mobile & Desktop. Cash out unavailable. Free Bet's valid for 3 days. Other Promotional Play Restrictions apply.

NCAA LeoVegas Bracket

NCAAB Bracket LeoVegas

The NCAA bracket is a visual representation of the tournament, outlining the matchups and potential paths for each team to reach the championship game. The bracket is divided into four regions (East, West, Midwest, South), with 16 teams in each region. The teams are seeded from 1-16 in each region based on their regular-season performance.

It’s a useful tool and can help avid followers plot through the tournament bracket, sorting through the favourites, the dark horses, and the no-hopers as part of a holistic betting strategy.

Download our exclusive branded bracket using the link below.


What is NCAA Basketball League?

The NCAA College Basketball tournament is an elimination competition that is played each spring in the USA. Founded in 1939 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the college hoops tournament is now one of the biggest annual sporting events in the United States.

UConn are the reigning NCAA Basketball champion after they beat San Diego State in the 2023 final in, by the final score of 76-59.

NCAA Basketball Games

If you watch National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Collegiate Athletic Association Basketball (NCAAB), you will notice there are some clear differences in the rules and the style of play between the two leagues.

Here, we look at the biggest rule differences to aid you in your College Basketball betting.

Game time – in NCAA games, the regulation time is 40 minutes in total, split into two 20-minute halves. In the NBA, the regulation time is 48 minutes, which is split into four quarters of 12 minutes. Overtime periods for both leagues are 5 minutes.

Shot clock – in the NCAAB, teams have 30 seconds to take a shot, with the clock reset to 20 seconds if an attempted shot hits the rim. In the NBA, teams have just 24 seconds to get a shot away, with the clock resetting to 14 seconds if an attempt hits the rim.

Personal, Technical and Team fouls – there are some small but significant differences when it comes to fouls. From players being disqualified for personal fouls, to the number of free throws awarded for technical and team fouls, the rules in NCAAB and NBA are different.

NCAA College Basketball Season

Once the 68 teams are finalised, each are then ranked teams based on regular season and conference tournament performances. The four lowest ranked ‘at-large' teams then face the four lowest ranked automatic qualifiers to determine which four teams are first to be eliminated, also known as the First Four.

Here are the seven rounds that make up the NCAAB season:

  • The First Four
  • The First Round (64)
  • The Second Round (32)
  • The regional semi-finals/Sweet Sixteen
  • The regional finals/Elie Eight
  • The national semi-finals/Final Four
  • The National Championship

    2024 NCAAB Tournament Schedule

The beautiful thing about NCAAB Tournament is how the country’s most established and well-to-do educational institutions become swarmed by hoop-shooting mania. Check out the schedule below:

First FourDayton, OhioUD ArenaMarch 19-20
First/SecondBrooklyn, N.Y.Barclays CenterMarch 22-24
First/SecondCharlotte, N.C.Spectrum CenterMarch 21-23
First/SecondIndianapolisGainbridge FieldhouseMarch 22-24
First/SecondOmaha, Neb.CHI Health CenterMarch 21-23
First/SecondPittsburghPPG Paints ArenaMarch 21-23
First/SecondSalt Lake CityVivint Smart Home ArenaMarch 21-23
First/SecondSpokane, Wash.Spokane Veterans Memorial ArenaMarch 22-24
First/SecondMemphis, Tenn.FedExForumMarch 22-24
East RegionalBostonTD GardenMarch 28-30
South RegionalDallasAmerican Airlines CenterMarch 29-31
Midwest RegionalDetroitLittle Caesars ArenaMarch 29-31
West RegionalLos ArenaMarch 28-30
Final FourPhoenixState Farm StadiumApril 6
NCAA Championship GamePhoenixState Farm StadiumApril 8

NCAA Basketball Teams

Currently, the NCAAB features 68 College Basketball teams at the Division I level of the NCAA. These include the champions from 32 Division 1 conferences, two teams who are automatic qualifiers, and 36 teams who are awarded At-Large places.

The At-Large teams are chosen by an NCAA selection committee and announced on Selection Sunday. These 68 teams compete over seven elimination rounds with the aim of one team winning the National Championship.

Since the competition started in 1939, 37 different teams have won a National Championship, but UCLA can boast the most national champion wins with 11 titles to their name, with 10 coming between 1964 and 1975.

The best young athletes from the best NCAAB teams are gearing up for a fiesta of hoop-hittin’, slam-dunkin’, ball-blockin’ action.

But what are the top ten NCAAB teams that traditionally go all the way every year? We break down the top ten runners and riders for the best NCAAB tournaments ever.

Top teams list:


College Name: University of Connecticut

Hometown: Mansfield

Notable former players: Rip Hamilton, Kemba Walker, Emeka Okafor

Notable achievements: Five-time National Champions (1999, 2004, 2011, 2014, 2023)

It only took the better part of a century for UConn to win their first NCAA championship - but once they got the first, they didn’t stop flowing. The five-time champions are now tied fourth for the most all-time National titles.

Fun fact: The UConn Huskies are the only school to have won both the men's and women's NCAA Division I basketball championships in the same year.


College Name: University of Connecticut

Hometown: Mansfield

Notable former players: Rip Hamilton, Kemba Walker, Emeka Okafor

Notable achievements: With 25 titles in the bank, they have the most Big Ten regular season championships.

Neil Armstrong is an alumnus of the Boilermakers - the first man on the moon has sprinkled plenty of stardust on his college, but the basketball team has done its fair share of defying gravity with hoop-hitting hangtime. Winning 25 regular season championships takes some doing and they’ve left their mark on the competition.

Fun Fact: The university is referred to as the "Boilermakers" because of its engineering roots.

North Carolina

College Name: University of North Carolina

Hometown: Chapel Hill

Notable former players: Michael Jordan, Justin Jackson, Vince Carter

Notable achievements: Six Time National Champions (1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009, and 2017)

A genuine hall-of-famer in college basketball, the Tar Heels have long been synonymous with success. Not only have they been crowned national champions six times, but they hold several impressive records, including being the only team to have won a national championship in four straight decades from the 1980s through to the 2010s.

Fun Fact: Michael Jordan, the sport's most decorated player, played for the Tar Heels, averaging 17.7 points per game on 54.0% shooting and adding 5.0 rebounds per game and 1.8 assists per game


College Name: University of Houston

Hometown: Houston

Notable former players: Hakeem Olajuwon, Elvin Hayes, Jonathon Simmons

Notable achievements: The 10th most appearances by any team in the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament Final Four, which is the most for any team who has not won a national championship.

The city of Houston is known for its love of sports, and the college basketball team is an integral part of the city’s sports-mad culture. While they have yet to taste glory on the national stage, it is surely only a matter of time.

Fun Fact: They are often referred to as Phi Slama Jama - a nickname coined by Thomas Bonk of the Houston Post about the team’s knack for slam dunking.


College Name: University of Tennessee–Knoxville

Hometown: Knoxville

Notable former players: Bernard King, Dale Ellis, Allan Houston

Notable achievements: 11-time Conference Regular Season champions (1936, 1941, 1943, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 2000, 2008, 2009, 2018)

Can Tennessee ever get over the line on the national stage? Despite edging closer in recent times - they have reached the Sweet Sixteen three times in the previous ten years - they have only ever reached the Elite Eight once.

Fun Fact: During the 2018/19 season, the Vols registered a perfect 18-0 record at the Thompson-Boling Arena.


College Name: University of Kentucky

Hometown: Lexington

Notable former players: Anthony Davis, Oscar Tshiebwe, and John Wall

Notable achievements: Eight-time national champion (1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998, 2012)

With eight national titles in the bank, the Wildcats are the second-most successful college team in the country. Much of their success was built by their championship-winning teams in the middle of the 20th century, which is one of only seven teams to have won championships back-to-back.

Fun Fact: No team has produced more NBA players than Kentucky - the Wild Cats have sent more than 100 players to the world’s premier basketball competition.


College Name: University of Kansas

Hometown: Lawrence

Notable former players: Mario Chalmers, Andrew Wiggins, and Joel Embiid

Notable achievements: Four-time national champion (1952, 1988, 2008, 2022)

The Kansas City Jayhawks are an institution in college basketball, with some of the sport’s most significant individuals having come through the programme. No alumni was more influential than Phog Allen, often referred to as the Father of Basketball Coaching. Under the stewardship of Allen, the Jayhawks won 24 conference championships and three national titles.

Fun Fact: One of the most famous basketball players to emerge from the University of Kansas is Wilt Chamberlain - he holds the record as the only player to score 100 points in a single game.


College Name: Auburn University

Hometown: Auburn

Notable former players: Charles Barkley, Chris Porter, and Walker Kessler

Notable achievements: Five-time regular season champion (1928, 1960, 1999, 2018, 2022)

Since starting in the competition back in 1906, the Tigers didn’t make to NCAAB Tournaments until 1984. Their most successful season saw them make the final four in 2019 - an agonising and dramatic last-second defeat to the Virginia Cavaliers saw them fall close to the final hurdle.

Fun Fact: The team battle cry “War Eagle” is used by all Auburn University college students - its origin is completely unknown, but is thought to stretch back as far as the 19th century.


College Name: University of Arizona

Hometown: Tuscon

Notable former players: Steve Kerr, Jason Terry, and Jerryd Bayless

Notable achievements: National champion (1997)

The Arizona Wildcats are steeped in NCAAB Tournament history, despite only registering one national title since their formation in 1904. Their golden period remains between 1994 and 2003 when they reached the Elite Eight five times and the Final Four three times.

Fun Fact: Their mascot, Wilbur T. Wildcat, is one of the most famous in college basketball - but before him, there was Rufus Arizona, named after the popular UA president Rufus B. von KleinSmid.


College Name: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Hometown: Champaign–Urbana metropolitan area

Notable former players: Dee Brown, Kofi Cockburn, Bruce Douglas

Notable achievements: NCAA tournament runner-up (2005)

Being an Illini fan is a rollercoaster - before the year 2000, the team had only made the NCAAB tournament a total of 21 times. However, since the turn of the millennium, they have been much more of a presence, appearing in it 14 times in 23 years. Their most successful run is without a doubt the 2005 campaign that led them to the National Runner-Up in the NCAA tournament.

Fun Fact: In that 2005 run, they kicked off their campaign with 29 straight wins - the third-best start in Big Ten history.

NCAAB Recent Winners

Recent National Championship winners to look out for when betting on college basketball and looking over the NCAAB betting markets include:

  • 2023: UConn
  • 2022: Kansas
  • 2021: Baylor
  • 2019: Virginia
  • 2018: Villanova
  • 2017: North Carolina
  • 2016: Villanova
  • 2015: Duke

NCAAB Betting Lines

If you're looking to get involved with some NCAAB betting and want to learn how to bet on many College Basketball games, knowing the betting lines will help. The most popular College Basketball betting line is the outright Championship winner.

When the individual games take place, many College Basketball betting options and lines will be available. These include moneyline college basketball bets, where you are simply betting on the winner of a game. You can also wager on how many total points will be scored in a college basketball game or point spread.

Totals betting: This market is also known as point spread or the over/under, and it involves betting on the total number of points that will be scored in a game.

Prop betting: This type of bet involves wagering on specific events or outcomes within a game. For example, you can bet on which player will score the most points or make prop bets on which team will score first.

Live betting: This is a popular way to bet on college basketball games as it allows bettors to place wagers during the game.

Conference betting: There are 32 conferences that hold tournaments to crown a champion, and each winner automatically qualifies for the NCAA tournament. Bettors can wager on which team will win their conference tournament and earn a spot in the NCAA tournament.

You can explore parlays, which is a bet that combines multiple wagers into one that many bettors make by rolling over the winnings from each individual bet into the next leg of the bettors wager together. Or why not try a teaser bet, which is a type of parlay?

What is NCAAB Tournament?

NCAAB Tournament is the branding used for the coverage of the NCAA Basketball competition, which is held each March in the USA. However, it didn't find its way to the NCAA tournament until Brent Musburger, a broadcaster for CBS, used it during coverage of the competition in 1982. The term has stuck ever since and is now synonymous with the branding of the tournament.

Tournament Format - Bracketology Explained

In simple terms, bracketology is the study and prediction of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament brackets. It involves analysing data, statistics, and team performances to try and predict which teams will make it to the tournament and how they will perform.

It can help give a clearer picture of how the tournament will unfold, charting possible routes for teams as they battle through the field.

Impact on NBA Draft

There is nothing like NCAAB in college sports. It’s a chaotic showcase of the most talented youngsters to play the game and give players a national stage to wow the world with their skills. This exposure can significantly impact how scouts and team executives view these players, potentially affecting their draft position. For example, if a player makes a game-winning three-pointer in the final moments of an Elite Eight showdown, that memory tends to imprint itself on NBA executives.

Suddenly, the mid-to-late draft pick is looking at a first-round pick-up.

The impact NCAAB can have on the NBA draft is immense.

General Overview of 2023 Performance

It’s tight at the top - there are several teams to get excited about ahead of NCAAB Tournament. The UConn Huskies are the defending champions, the bookie's favourite to win it again, and are looking good so far this season, with a record of 25-3. Much of their good form has come down to Cam Spencer. The grad transfer is in the running to finish the season as part of the exclusive 50-40-90 club, which is open to players who have a shot record of 50% or better from the floor, over 40% from the three-point line, and over 90% from the free-throw line. Can he lead the Huskies pack to another miracle?

Elsewhere, the Houston Cougars are looking like they mean business. Fans waited 39 years for a number-one ranking in the Associated Press Top 25, but now they have enjoyed top spot in consecutive seasons. They could be right in with a shout.

Watch out, too, for the Purdue Boilermakers and their prodigious star Zach Edey - the centre was recently named the Big Ten Player of the Week for the 11th time in his career, beating the record previously held by Ohio State's Evan Turner for the most in Big Ten history. He’s also looking to become the first player since Virginia's Ralph Sampson to become National College Player of the Year in successive years.

Key Teams to Watch in 2024

Before the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee came together to decide the rankings, most bracket analysts had the top four seeds falling to the Boilermakers, Huskies, Cougars, and Wildcats. They have since been confirmed, and you will find few arguments from enthusiasts. The four teams have registered 24+ victories in dominant regular season displays and deserve their spot.

But what of the underdogs?

Last season, we saw Florida Atlantic close to making history - a 79-76 win over Kansas State in the Elite Eight meant they were the first team to make the Final Four that had been seeded eighth or lower heading into tournament since 1985.

Will we see some more surprise deep runs from some dark horse contenders?

The Nevada Wolf Pack are tough to fully analyse, but they have some interesting results under their belt this season, namely a comprehensive 77-63 win over divisional leaders Utah State.

They could cause a few upsets should they make the tournament. Although, at the time of writing, their place still needs to be assured. Another one to keep an eye on is Wake Forest. An incredible win over a surging Duke outfit has left them in pole position to enter the tournament for the first time since 2017.

They have heart - and Duke head coach John Scheyer acknowledged the skills of the team known by many as the Demon Deacon. “They're not respected the way they should be nationally,” he told reporters post-game.

NCAAB Betting Tips

It’s hard to look past one of the four number-one seeds - and with the form of the impossibly tall Zach Edey (7′ 4) to rely on, it would be no surprise to see Purdue come out on top.

But what else do they have apart from one of the best centres to play college basketball? To put it bluntly, there isn’t another team out there that can compare with their record against the big hitters. They have registered at least nine Quadrant 1 wins and a minimum of seven victories over schools ranked in the top 25 of the NET.

While there is an understandable fancy for the Huskies and a fascination with the surging Cougars, the sensible money is on the Boilermakers.

You can get them at odds of 8.50 here.

College basketball bettors also need to consider home court advantage. Home court advantage is a crucial factor in college basketball, and it can provide a significant boost in performance and motivation for the home team.

There are several factors that contribute to home court advantage, including crowd noise, familiarity with the playing surface, and travel fatigue for the visiting team

Explore more online sports betting opportunities with LeoVegas Sports!

Memorable Moments in NCAAB History

Here are some of the biggest moments to shock the world in college basketball history:

Villanova's Upset Victory in 1985

In the 1985 NCAA tournament, the eighth-seeded Villanova Wildcats faced off against the heavily favoured Georgetown Hoyas, who had the number one ranking in the entire nation.

It was a see-saw affair, with both teams trading leads throughout before a last-second Harold Jensen clutch jump shot put the eighth-ranked team on the path to immortality. They weren’t even ranked in the AP Poll.

The Shot

In the 1992 Elite Eight game between Duke and Kentucky, the score was tied with only 2.1 seconds left on the clock. Duke's Christian Laettner received an inbound pass and made a miraculous turnaround jump shot at the buzzer to secure a 104-103 victory for the Blue Devils. The shot has become one of the most iconic moments in history, known simply as "The Shot."

UMBC Shocks Number One Seed - 2018

In the first round of the 2018 NCAA tournament, the 16th-seeded University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Retrievers faced off against the number one overall seed, the Virginia Cavaliers. No 16-seed had ever beaten a one-seed in the history but an incredible 74-54 mauling made history in the most remarkable of fashions.

College Basketball (NCAA) FAQ

How Many Teams Play in NCAA?

The NCAA basketball tournament has 357 Division I men's basketball teams.

Who is favoured to win NCAA 2024?

Houston, Alabama and Kansas are the favourites based on the odds.

Who has the most college wins in basketball?

Kansas has the most wins in NCAAB - 2,357.

Which is the best college basketball team?

Kansas is one of the best college basketball teams playing.

Does NCAA use Spalding?

Unlike NBA, there is no unified brand for college games or NCAAB regular games.

Who are college basketball blue bloods?

Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, and UCLA are often considered to be "blue blood", meaning the elite class of players.

Who is the college basketball player of the year?

Naismith College Player of the Year is an annual award named after Dr James Naismith, the inventor of basketball. Oscar Tshiebwe was the player of the year in 2022.

Can college basketball coaches call timeout?

Coaches are permitted to request timeouts during live play, but they are only able to do so while their team has possession of the ball and when there are two minutes or fewer left in regular time or overtime.

How long is NCAA basketball game?

NCAA basketball games have a playing time of 40 minutes, split into two 20-minute halves.

Are NCAA basketballs the same size as NBA ones?

No, NCAA basketballs are not the same size as NBA basketballs, but they are very similar. Both leagues use a basketball with a circumference of 29.5 inches. The official size of the basketball used by the NBA is 29.5 inches in circumference, and that's the same size used throughout men's college basketball leagues.

How many timeouts are in college basketball?

In NCAA basketball, each team has a total of four timeouts per regulation game. Three of these timeouts last for 30 seconds each, and one lasts for 60 seconds

What does Cinderella mean in NCAAB Tournament?

Cinderella is a term used in NCAAB to refer to an underdog team that unexpectedly outperforms and advances further into the tournament than expected.

What does last four mean?

The four teams that are selected for the NCAA tournament as at-large bids, meaning they were not automatically qualified by winning their conference championship.

Is NCAAB bigger than the NBA?

College sports are a massive deal in America. In terms of viewership and excitement, it is typically considered bigger than the NBA playoffs.

Is there a female NCAAB?

Yes, there is a female NCAAB known as the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship.

What does onions mean in NCAAB?

Onions is a term used in NCAAB to describe a player who makes clutch and difficult shots, similar to peeling layers of an onion.

What is the meaning of Sweet 16 in NCAAB?

Sweet 16 refers to the round in NCAAB where there are 16 remaining teams in the tournament, after four rounds of elimination games.

Who was the lowest seed to win NCAA Tournament?

The lowest seed to ever win the NCAA Tournament was Villanova as an 8 seed in 1985.

Has UConn ever won NCAAB?

Yes - they won it in 1999, 2004, 2011, 2014 and 2023 - making them one of the most successful college basketball teams in history.

Has a 2 seed ever won the NCAA tournament?

Five 2-seed teams have won - Louisville in 1986, Duke in 1991, Kentucky in 1998, Connecticut in 2004, and Villanova in 2016

Who is the only 8 seed to win the NCAA tournament?

The only team to have won NCAAB Tournament as an 8 seed is Villanova in 1985.

Has a 6 seed ever won the NCAA tournament?

A 6 seed has won the NCAA tournament once - Kansas in 1988.

How many Big 10 teams are in the NCAA Tournament?

There are eight Big 10 teams in the NCCA Tournament.

How many colleges are eligible for the NCAA Tournament?

There are 68 colleges eligible for the NCAA Tournament.

Can NBA players play in NCAA?

No - once a player enters the NBA draft, they lose the right to play in the NCAA.

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