How To Bet On Basketball And Win



A basketball teaser bet is very similar to a parlay bet with one major difference. Let’s talk about what is the same first. With a teaser bet, you have multiple individual bets that are strung together into one. In order to win your teaser bet, you have to win every bet. The number (the point spread) signifies how much is to be added or subtracted from that teams’ point total at the conclusion of the game. If Kaitlyn bets on Boston, they would have to defeat Detroit by a total of 8 points in order for her to win the bet. If she bets on Detroit, they would have to win outright. Points in the Paint vs. Paying attention to how a team makes most of their points can be.

What is March Madness?

How To Bet On Basketball And Wings

A popular annual NCAA men's basketball tournament, the event takes place over a three-week period and the betting action on the tournament brings in record handles for sportsbooks in the United States.

The tournament is a single-elimination format that consists of 68 teams and those schools are announced on “Selection Sunday” – which is an event in itself. The 2021 selection show takes place on Sunday March 14, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. ET and is televised nationally in the United States on CBS, one of the largest broadcast companies.

Pundits often try to predict the full bracket before the event and the term “Bracketology” is used in many sports betting circles. The brackets are divided into four regions, split up geographically in the United States. All of the March Madness games are played on neutral courts and the regional final takes place at a large venue.

Sweet 16

With over 350 NCAA men's teams eligible to compete and earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament, securing a spot in the Sweet 16 is a major accomplishment. When betting on March Madness futures or competing in a Bracket Contest, predicting the Sweet 16 is essential for all of your wagers. In order to reach the Sweet 16, teams will have to win their first two games and sometimes three if schools had to qualify from the 'First Four' matchups.

Eight schools compete in the 'First Four' games on Thursday March 18 from two venues -- Mackey Arena and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall -- located in Indiana.

The March Madness the field of 64 is cut in half to 32 and eventually 16 after the first and second rounds are completed. Even though there are 16 teams still standing, it's quite common to see mismatches on paper as far as the seedings go. A double-digit seeded school have made plenty of appearances in this round and they're often listed as healthy underdogs by the oddsmakers.

This year's 2021 Sweet 16 matchups will take place from two venues from the state of Indiana. These games are also known as the Regional Semifinals.

  • Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  • Hinkle Fieldhouse

Elite Eight

Even bigger than the Sweet 16 is the Elite Eight and schools playing in this round know how high the stakes are. The winners will advance to the Final Four while the losers are sent packing after winning three or possibly four NCAA Tournament games in a row. The point-spreads are usually much tighter in this round since the top contenders are left standing and the oddsmakers have a better understanding of the remaining clubs. It's not uncommon to see higher seeds last this long in the NCAA Tournament and plenty of those long shots or underdogs receive plenty of attention from bettors looking for upsets and major payouts.

Similar to the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight matchups will take place at the same venues with one day of rest between the games. These games are also known as the Regional Finals.

For the 2021 NCAA Tournament, the Elite Eight will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday March 29 and Tuesday March 30.

The Final Four is put simply, the final four teams left in the NCAA Tournament and those squads will meet in a pair of semifinal matchups. The winners will advance to the March Madness championship while the losers join many other schools who just missed out on a trip to the title game. The Final 4 always takes place on the first Saturday in April, this year's event taking place on April 3, 2021 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Expecting at least one No. 1 seed to be playing in the Final 4 is very likely. Since the tournament expanded in 1985 to 64 teams, there have only been two years where the Final Four didn’t have a No. 1 seed which occurred in 2011 and 2006. Keep in mind that expecting all top seeds to advance is also rare. There has only been one instance where all four No. 1 seeds reached the Final Four, which took place in 2008 when Kansas, Memphis, North Carolina and UCLA earned regional bids.

Since the expansion of the NCAA Tournament occurred in 1985, Duke leads all schools with 12 all-time appearances in the Final Four while Kansas is next up with 18.

2019 Final Four Schools (Seeds)

Virginia (1)
Michigan State (2)
Texas Tech (3)
Auburn (5)

Lucky No. 11

The lowest seed to make the Final 4 was the No. 11. This happened four times since 1985 and most recently with Loyola-Chicago in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Other teams included were Virginia Commonwealth (2011), George Mason (2006) and LSU (1986).

Along with that quartet, the only other double-digit seeds to make the Final 4 was Syracuse, who earned a trip in 2016 as a No. 10 seed.

UConn remains the lowest modern-day seeded team to win the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies of Connecticut accomplished the feat in the 2007 tournament as the No. 7 seed. Villanova, an eighth seed, captured the 1984-85 tournament over Georgetown.

Most Popular March Madness Tools

March Madness Bracket Explained

Betting on March Madness is one of the most popular sports betting events and it's format caters to the masses of not just sports bettors but for individuals who like to compete in a contests against friends, employees and strangers. The Bracket is a single-elimination contest where individuals must pick the winner of head-to-head matchups and forecast ahead before future matchups are determined.

Predicting a perfect March Madness Bracket is quite difficult and some experts have stated that you have a 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance. So if you see many websites and operators offering a guaranteed $1 Million Dollars for a perfect bracket, you can see that the odds are against you and the reward should be much higher. For those wondering, there has never

Nonetheless, the tournament has everybody glued to their Brackets especially for the first round since that's where many upsets take place. Going 32-0 isn't impossible and it's been done many times before but seeing your March Madness Bracket go unscathed through the opening weekend is rare and that would require you to post 16 more winners and improve to 48-0.

The Sweet 16 and Elite Eight weekend follows and participants will be following 12 games before the Final Four and Championship, which is a total of 63 games to predict. While the point-spread isn't used in the March Madness Bracket, predicting straight up winners isn't as easy as it looks -- especially when you don't know the matchups beforehand.

The Live Brackets is a great feature to follow your selections and our Printable Brackets will allow you to write-in your selections as you see fit.

March Madness Dates

The NCAA Tournament and March Madness Betting research begins on 'Selection Sunday' as the field of 68 teams are announced. After the brackets are filled in, the March Madness format is followed with all games being played at neutral sites.

  • First Four - Thursday 18, 2021
  • First Round - Fri/Sat, March 19-20, 2021
  • Second Round - Sun/Mon, March 21-22, 2021
  • Sweet 16 - Sat/Sun, March 27-28, 2021
  • Elite Eight - Mon/Tue, March 29-30, 2021
  • Final Four - Saturday, April 3, 2021
  • NCAA Championship Game - Monday, April 5, 2021

Types of NCAA Tournament Bets

Bracket Pool

How To Bet On Nba And Win

The March Madness Bracket Pool is a great contest that continues to rise in popularity among bettors and non-bettors. There is no barrier to entry and it's easy to participate, whether it be online or offline. All you need to do is find a group of colleagues and be on your way to predicting the outcome of the entire NCAA Tournament. The individual with the best prediction skills will be the overall winner of the Bracket Pool. Most pools start with an entry fee, decided by the pool leader, and all of the entries must be completed by the first matchup. That initial game usually takes place at 12:00 p.m. ET on the first Thursday after Selection Sunday, this year it will be on Friday March 19. For the 2021 March Madness event, your deadline to submit picks will be on Friday, Mar. 19, 2021.

Game Lines

The key to betting on March Madness is understanding the lines or betting odds. After 'Selection Sunday' takes place and the field of 68 is announced, the oddsmakers start to post opening lines on all of the matchups. Our Las Vegas Odds and Global Odds will begin to populate opening numbers for all of the matchups in the NCAA Tournament.

March Madness bettors can toggle between three different sections.

  • Spread
  • Money Line
  • 1st Half

The game lines for the Spread show the point-spread odds, which are the most popular. Bettors playing totals or 'over/under' wagers are also listed on this page. The Money-Line odds cater to bettors looking to place wagers on the straight up outcome of a matchup, meaning the point-spread doesn't come into play. The 1st Half is catered to savvy bettors who like to get their juices going early. These bets are focused on the first 20 minutes of each March Madness matchup.

Point-Spread Bet

The point-spread was developed to provide a balance for both teams involved in a contest to entice bettors to potentially back the weaker team and receive points. The two squads in a game are listed with a title, either a favorite or an underdog. The favorite is usually the perceived better team in the game, as backing them means giving up several points.

Example - Point-Spread

Duke -10
Kansas +10

In the above example, if you wanted to back Duke as a 10-point favorite then you would need them to beat Kansas by 11 or more points to win your wager. If you wagered on Kansas, then you would need them to win the game outright or lose by less than 10 points.

Any victory by Duke by nine points or less would result in a loss, even though they won the game straight-up.

Assuming the final margin falls on 10 in this case, a ‘push’ occurs, which is a tie, meaning all tickets are refunded.

Money-Line Bet

In basketball, the standard betting practice is to lay (bet) $110 to win $100. When we learn about betting baseball and hockey, the money-line is the main form of wagering, meaning no point-spread. There is money-line betting in basketball in case you don’t want to worry about the points. However, the odds are adjusted accordingly for both the favorite and underdog.

Example - Money-Line

Duke -550
Kansas +400

Best Bet On Ncaa Basketball Winner

5 card stud online. In the above example, a straight-up wager on Duke would require you to invest more to win more since its been listed as a large favorite. Since Duke is -550, you would wager $550 to win $100. If you only had $100 to wager, then your return would be $18.18 (100/550). On the flip side, if you have enough faith in Kansas to beat Duke outright as a heavy underdog, then you can place $100 to return $400. You would receive $500, which includes your initial stake.

Over/Under Bet

Another popular betting option for March Madness games is the 'over/under' or what many may refer to as the total. This wager is a cooperative effort between the two teams to either go ‘Over’ or ‘Under’ the posted total. In March Madness, if Duke and Kansas have a game total of 150 ½, a winning 'Over' bet would mean the two clubs would combine for 151 points or more. On the flip side, a winning ‘Under’ ticket is 150 points or fewer between the two teams.


A Parlay is a single bet that links together two or more individual wagers for a high payout. Parlay wagers can include point-spread, money-line and over-under wagers.

In order for the parlay bet to win, every one of the wagers must win or push (tie). If any of the selections lose, your wager loses, regardless of the outcome or cancellation of the other games. Depending on the sportsbook, a parlay could still be alive if one or more of the selections ends in a tie, postponed game or canceled event. If that happens, the parlay is knocked down a straight wager or a lower parlay.

The Parlay Calculator is a useful betting resource for March Madness and it provides bettors with a chance to calculate winnings based on the fixed payouts.

Similar to a parlay wager, a Teaser is a type of bet that allows you to combine your bets on two or more different games. The return isn't as high as parlays but bettors will gain an advantage with these bets by adding or subtracting points to either a point-spread or a total (over/under). The majority of sportsbooks will offer 4, 4.5 and 5 point teaser wagers for March Madness.

Example - Original Line

Duke -10
Over 150 ½

Example - Teaser Bet (4 Points)

Duke -6
Over 146 ½

A bettor taking Duke (-10) and the Over (150 ½) in a two-team Teaser for 4 points would lower the point-spread on Duke to -6 and also drop the Over down to 146 ½. For the Teaser to cash, Duke must win by 7 or more points and the combined points in the game must exceed 147.

Futures Bet

You can bet on a NCAA tournament championship pick throughout the season and during the year but the College Basketball Futures market always heats up in March. Betting and winning on the Men’s Division winner are obviously two different things but has all the resources to help guide you the right way. Figuring out how to make the bet is simple. All sportsbooks offer Future Odds and after selecting College Basketball Men’s Division winner, you’ll see the school and then the corresponding odds.

When you place a Future Odds wager, you’re locking up your money on an event that takes place at later time. The winner is crowned in April and bettors will winning wagers will be paid based on fixed odds when the bet was placed. To figure out your Win Amount, take the odds and multiply by the amount wagered.

Duke 10/1 odds to win NCAA Tournament (Bet $100 to win $1,000)

Past NCAA Basketball Champions

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament determines winner of the national championship of the major college basketball teams in Division 1. The History page provides a comprehensive list of the past NCAA Basketball Champions and the betting results for the title game, which includes the outcome for the favorite-underdog and over-under.

Listed below are the last 10 NCAA Basketball Champions and their seeds.

  • 2019 - Virginia (1)
  • 2018 - Villanova (1)
  • 2017 - North Carolina (1)
  • 2016 - Villanova (2)
  • 2015 - Duke (1)
  • 2014 - Connecticut (7)
  • 2013 - Louisville (1)
  • 2012 - Kentucky (1)
  • 2011- Connecticut (3)
  • 2010 - Duke (1)

The NBA and college basketball seasons are well under way. Both deserve your attention as both offer daily opportunities to make a profit.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: when it comes to betting on basketball, take the pundits’ picks with a grain of salt. Don’t rely on their “insider” knowledge. The folks who have the statistical data and predictive models necessary to accurately forecast game outcomes aren’t sharing them with the public. They keep their picks close to their chests to maximize their returns.

Having said that, you can improve your odds of winning your basketball wagers by using a number of time-proven tactics. I’ll showcase the top 10 below. These are the tips that’ll have the greatest impact on your NBA betting success.

  1. Check (And Double Check) The Starting Lineup

  2. As you know, a team’s starting lineup is instrumental to the team’s scoring potential. The coach understandably wants his best players in the game from the outset.

    Check odds here:

    But there’s one thing that can throw a wrench into the works: late injuries.

    A starter who suffers an injury serious enough to keep him on the bench might have a huge impact on his team’s performance. For example, suppose Kyrie Irving sustains a torn ACL at the last minute. With him warming the bench, the Cavs might have trouble if they’re playing an aggressive team, such as the Warriors or Lakers.

    The takeaway: always check a team’s starting lineup before placing your bet. Make sure all starters are accounted for, and absent from the injury list. A corollary to this tip is to avoid placing your bet too early.

  3. Don’t Overestimate The Home Court Advantage

  4. Most teams do better on their home turf than on the road. They’re playing in front of their fans, who are rooting for them to win. The refs are sometimes biased. And they’re often more rested than visiting teams. The players are sleeping in their own beds and probably enjoying their favorite meals at home.

    That’s a far cry from the experience of staying in a hotel.

    Of course, the home court advantage doesn’t guarantee the home team will win. In fact, this article on ESPN argues that the advantage has become less and less pronounced over the last 40 years.

    The takeaway: home court advantage is still important when it comes to betting on basketball. But don’t overestimate its value.

  5. Forget Your Favorite Team

  6. If you’re a fan of the sport, you undoubtedly have a favorite team. And if you’re like most NBA fans, it’s probably the team in your city or county.

    The problem is, having a favorite can bias your betting decisions. You want your team to win. You’ve followed them for years and are emotionally invested in them. Understandably, when the time comes to place your bet, you’re inclined to bet with your heart.

    That’s fine if you’re just betting for fun. It’s like betting on your child to win his karate match, even though you’re certain his opponent is more skilled. Again, you’re emotionally invested.

    But that’s a losing proposition in sports betting. Emotions are almost guaranteed to lead to poor long-term results.

    The takeaway: if you want to make a profit, set aside your favorites and bet with your head. Cold, calculated logic, preferably supported with solid data, trumps emotion every time.

  7. Keep Your Eye On The Important Stats

  8. You can really go into the weeds with statistics when it comes to basketball. It’s not quite as bad as baseball, but you can still literally waste hours chasing data that fail to move the needle in any significant way.

    That doesn’t mean you should ignore stats altogether. Rather, identify the important stuff and disregard the rest.

    What basketball stats should you focus on? Here are several that can have a big influence on the outcomes of games:

    • turnovers
    • offensive rebounds
    • free-throw percentage
    • tempo (or pace)
    • true shooting percentage
    • offensive/defensive rating
    • home/away stats
    • how many starters are named Lebron James

    The takeaway: be wary of pursuing stats that don’t matter. Zero in on the ones that do, starting with those listed above.

  9. Watch For Big Line Moves

  10. This is something that most novice basketball betters miss. Oddsmakers adjust the lines on games as action pours into one side or the other. Their goal is to balance the action. When a lot of action flows in, that balancing act occasionally requires big, sudden line movements.

    Such movements reveal opportunity.

    For example, let’s say the Cavs are scheduled to play the Warriors. You notice that the line has shifted abruptly in favor of the latter. A smart play at that point would be to follow the line.

    What’s happening behind the scenes? What’s causing the line to move?

    Often, it’s smart, well-heeled sports bettors identifying and acting upon mistakes they perceive the oddsmakers to have made. Sometimes, the movements stem from major changes in personnel – for example, Lebron James yanking a hamstring during game-night practice.

    The takeaway: when lines move, there’s good reason. Follow the smart action.

  11. Look For Signs Of Court Fatigue

  12. Eighty-two games per season makes for an exhausting grind. The fact that starters manage to move themselves up and down the court late in the season is impressive. When they manage to post big numbers night after night, it’s downright remarkable.

    But they’re human and subject to the same physical laws as you and I. They get tired, particularly after playing several nights in a row. They suffer fatigue.

    The effect is even more pronounced on the road. Not only does the court time take its toll, but sleeping in hotels, eating out, and being away from the comforts of home does, too. Burnout is common after a long series.

    The takeaway: think twice before betting on a team suffering from court fatigue. There’s a good chance the players’ minds and bodies are operating at a suboptimal level.

  13. Bet Against The Spread On Losing Streaks

  14. No sportsbook in its right mind would offer straight win/loss bets on basketball. That’d be a surefire recipe to lose money.

    For example, imagine if the Warriors were scheduled to play the 76ers. If Bovada were to allow folks to bet on which team was likely to win, all of the action would flow to the Warriors. And if, as most people would predict, the Warriors were to beat the 76ers, Bovada would take a major drubbing.

    Spreads exist, in part, to prevent that from happening.

    When you bet against the spread (ATS), you’re not as interested in which team will win. Rather, you’re interested in how the teams perform with regard to the spread.

    When it comes to betting ATS in basketball, a lot of bettors focus on teams’ winning streaks. They figure a hot team is likely to maintain its momentum and cover the spread. But data show that’s actually untrue, especially for streaks that extend beyond three games.

    As the streak lengthens, more action pours into the side favoring the team enjoying the streak. Oddsmakers respond by adjusting the lines and point spreads. That makes it more difficult to bet against the spread on the favored team.

    The takeaway: if you’re going to bet against the spread, look for increased value among teams suffering losing streaks. These teams are avoided by most bettors, which means oddsmakers may give you an extra point or two in an attempt to balance the action.

  15. Ignore The Betting Trends

  16. While matchups, both in terms of teams and positions, are important to take into account, trends are all but irrelevant in basketball. Sure, you want to be familiar with a team’s track record. You want to be aware of its performance throughout the season.

    But trends in basketball betting refer to something completely different. Trends point to whether a team has managed to cover its spread in the last three games. They point to the volume and percentage of action favoring one team over another, according to the money line, the point spread, and the over/under.

    These numbers can be informative, but they’re far from predictive. They won’t help you to accurately forecast a game’s outcome. They merely give you general insight into what other bettors (many of them misinformed or uninformed) are doing with their bets.

    The takeaway: it’s fine to look at betting trends, if only to satisfy your curiosity. But don’t rely on them as useful data. It’s like examining a city’s annual population migration data to predict whether a certain family will move to another city this week. The trends don’t provide any insight to that end.

  17. Keep Your Eyes Peeled For “Value” Bets

  18. Oddsmakers are adept at setting lines. They use mountains of data and vetted predictive models to accurately forecast outcomes.

    But they’re not perfect. They make mistakes.

    Learn to identify these mistakes, and you can uncover significant value that’ll increase your odds of winning.

    Fair warning: it’s not easy. It requires deep analysis and relatively good math skills. But if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and put in the work, you can find value bets that pay off.

    The takeaway: making smart basketball bets involves keeping your eyes open for hidden, unexploited value. Sometimes, you can find such value by noting big line movements. Most times, however, you’ll need to put in more effort.

  19. If You Bet The Over/Under, Do Your Research

  20. Betting the over/under in basketball is one of the simplest bets you can make. You don’t need to worry about money lines or point spreads. You don’t even care which team wins the game. The only thing you care about is the total number of points scored by the two teams.

    The simplistic nature of basketball over/under bets poses a downside: it tempts a lot of bettors to place them without doing even a modicum of research.

    Before you bet an over/under, take the following into account:

    • whether each team plays offensively or defensively
    • each team’s offensive efficiency
    • each team’s defensive efficiency
    • which sportsbook offers the best over/under odds
    • each team’s pace or tempo
    • each team’s level of fatigue
    • injuries sustained by starters

The takeaway – Don’t place an over/under bet without doing basic research. Handicap the totals using the factors above.


Basketball betting, both NBA and college games, attract a lot of action at places like Bovada, MyBookie, and BetOnline. But much of the action is uninformed or misinformed.

You can do better. Use the 10 tips highlighted above to give yourself an advantage at these and other top online sportsbooks.

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