For those new to basketball in the United States or basketball in general, terms like the NBA and the NCAA(B) may be confusing. NBA stands for National Basketball Association and features franchises and clubs that are based in a city, much like the UK’s Premier League.

The NBA utilizes adult athletes who are considered professional basketball players, and who are traded between teams, also similar to the Premier League.

On the other hand, NCAA stands for the National Collegiate Association of Athletics, with the ‘B’ at the end standing for basketball.
The NCAA oversees a variety of sports at the collegiate level, with tiers from Division I to Division III, and DI being the highest level of play. Usually, NCAA is written as so, but, depending on context and to differentiate from other sports, the ‘B’ at the end can be added as necessary.

Structure & Players

The NCAA is largely different from the NBA because of the degree of play. While athletes in their early 20s certainly aren’t incapable players, it cannot be understated that these athletes are attending college to receive an education. While many hope or plan to move on to professional play after their senior year, it’s not unheard of for a point guard to have a distracted game based on what’s going on off the court.
These factors, in addition to the structure of tournaments, are important to consider before placing a bet.
In addition to starring athletes in college, the NCAA has a different structure than the NBA, which alters patterns of play for every team. For instance, handicapper Stephen Rodriguez takes into account a team’s history of performance at a given stadium before he names his odds.
In a game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Texas Longhorns, Rodriguez assesses not only team statistics, but where the game will be played. For example, the Big 12 Tournament is played at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, so in this case, odds favor the Raiders given the team’s history in the tournament, as well as their ability to play amidst a stadium of Kansas Jayhawks’ fans.
For an NBA player, a noisy fan group cheering for the other team is highly unlikely to throw off their play. But, for a green nineteen-year-old, that deafening cheer, coupled with a tough travel schedule, might
be harder to play through.


Finer Details & Placing Bets

There are a variety of other considerations to take into account before betting on the NBA or the NCAA.
For instance, the rules vary. Used to increase play level, the shot clock in the NBA reflects tighter competition with only 24 seconds. For the NCAA, it goes on for 31 seconds. While this technical detail may not seem to affect a bet, it should be noted that the NCAA often has a significantly lower pace and, therefore, the number of baskets made by the end of the game.
In the NBA, play is quicker, meaner, and baskets come more often.
Another important detail is that the NBA allows six fouls before a player is taken off the court. The NCAA allows only five. And, while fouls may not always affect a bet unless it’s a ‘foul out bet’ or another type of prop bet, the associated free throws may be more likely to alter the score, give a certain player a higher score count, or can alter the bets placed on something like free throw rate for a specific player or team.

Dimensions of the court change between collegiate and professional play. Defense

and possession rules also change, with the NBA preferring man-to-man play while the NCAA can play a zone defense.
Again, these rules differences will only affect prop bets.
Meanwhile, one major difference between the NCAA and NBA are the season schedules. Collegiate level teams play between which coalesces into what is known as ‘March Madness’. As a single-elimination tournament, this is where the bulk of NCAA bets are placed.

Keep in mind that while the number of games is less than the NBA, the number of teams is incredibly high, at 353.

The NBA, on the other hand, will play a grand total of 82 games in the span of six months in a breakneck paced season. At the end of the season, the NBA Finals are hosted as a championship series, when Eastern and Western conferences meet. 
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