How to bet on March Madness

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How to bet on March Madness

Find out everything you need to know about how to bet on March Madness online. Discover the different NCAA Tournament betting sites, markets and offers as well as bracket prediction betting. 

Top Sportsbook offers for March Madness

Bet on March Madness online in New York

Players will be able to bet on each individual tournament game, from the First Four to the national championship game, as well as the tournament as a whole. There will also be exciting props and futures available, in addition to standard options like spread betting, moneylines and total lines.

Some popular betting strategies will be discussed later in this piece. Once equipped with the right betting options and a strategy, it is time to begin wagering.

NCAA Tournament 2023 schedule

Take Advantage of March Madness Sign-up Offers

Taking advantage of sign-up offers is the best way to get the most out of your money when first creating an account with an online betting site.

Ahead of a jam-packed schedule full of basketball, you’ll be wanting to get all the free bets possible for your NCAA Tournament bets.

Betting on March Madness 2023?

Odds are used by betting apps in order to indicate how likely or unlikely they think a certain outcome is to happen. These odds are often listed as a number, with either a plus or minus coming before it. 

  • The bigger the number next to the positive (+) sign, the less likely the sportsbook considers it that the event will happen.
  • The bigger the number next to the negative (-) sign, the more likely the outcome is considered to be to happen by the betting site.

Odds that are accompanied by a positive (+) sign tell you how much money you’re set to make for every $100 that you bet should your pick win.

  • For example, if Villanova Wildcats are +150 to win their Final Four match, a $100 bet on them would return a $150 profit plus your original $100 stake back, with the overall return for your bet being $300.

If the odds are accompanied by a negative sign, the number tells you how much money you need to bet in order to make a profit of $100.

  • For example, if Duke Blue Devils are -200 to win their Elite Eight match, this means you’ll need to bet $200 on them in order for your bet to return $300 (your $200 stake plus your $100 winnings).

In both cases, you get the initial amount you placed back as part of your winnings, as well as the amount you’ve won.

Betting on March Madness Explained 

March Madness Futures

Futures bets are placed on events that are happening in the near future, with the bets themselves being settled once the event is over. 

Futures bets will have bigger odds than regular match betting to start with because the event you’re betting on is happening far in the future, which makes it harder to predict what happens between now and then. 

Most March Madness futures markets will be available right up until the tournament comes to an end in April, with any futures bets then being settled shortly after.

When looking to place any futures bets, the markets for March Madness 2023 winner will look something like this: 

March Madness Moneyline Market

Moneyline bets are one of the primary options for betting on college basketball games. To wager on the moneyline, simply pick who will win the game straight up. 

The bet will be presented in odds form. For instance, if Duke is -300 on the moneyline against North Carolina, a $300 wager would be required to return a profit of $100. 

March Madness Spread Betting

Point spreads are one of the most popular wagers in college basketball betting, and the sports betting world in general. Games will have a line created for them, with a favorite and underdog determined. 

The bet will be presented in + or – form, with the favorite always being listed as the – side, but unlike odds the numbers indicate the amount the team must win or lose by to cover, rather than amount of money wagered needed for a certain profit. 

For example, if Villanova is listed at -6.5 against Rutgers, they are favored to win and must win by seven for bets on them to hit.

March Madness Spread Betting

Total bets, also known as over or under, are bets on how many points the two teams playing will collectively score in a game. These bets are commonly known as over/unders as they require bettors to select whether the score will be over or under the given number. 

A total line of 149.5 for a chosen game would mean the two teams must score 150 combined points for the over to be the winning side.

Some sportsbooks may offer total bets on individual teams. This way, you’re betting on whether or not one team is going to score over or under a certain number of points. 

March Madness Prop Betting

Throughout the NCAA Tournament, online betting sites will have various prop bets available for wager that offer a different angle for playing the tournament.

Bettors will find bets on things ranging from points players will score to how many lower seeded teams will advance to the champion’s seed or region and so much more. 

All of these different bets offer players multiple ways to attack their favorite picks, generate extra value after a busted bracket and have extra fun with this wild event.

An example of some March Madness prop bets will be as follows. 

  • How many minutes will the X player play? 
  • Will the game go into overtime?
  • How many assists will Player X have?
  • Player X vs Player Y: Who will score more points?
  • Which team will make the most three-point field goals?

At online sportsbooks where the Same Game Parlay feature is available, you will be able to combine these props into one bet, often leading to a bigger payout than if individually backed. 

March Madness Parlay Betting

Parlays combine multiple wager into one bet, in which each leg must win for the overall bet to win. Bettors do not need to stick to one type of bet when creating parlays and can mix and match spreads, moneylines, totals and props as legs. 

Parlay betting is a great way of betting on the NCAA Tournament, with the sheer number of games on display. Many teams in the early ways will be heavy favorites, with short odds. Combining these games in a parlay can generate stronger odds, and if it wins, a bigger payout. 

March Madness Same Game Parlay

A Same Game Parlay is just like a regular parlay wager, except all selections come from within one specific match. The obvious positive of it is that by combining multiple selections you can go for an even bigger win with the odds increasing with each selection. 

For example, in a UCLA vs Baylor game, you could combine Johnny Juzang to score 19.5+ points, UCLA to win the moneyline, and the total points to be over 140.5, into one bet. 

All three of these wagers would have to win in order for your same game parlay to payout, but it certainly makes watching a NCAA Tournament game more exciting. 

Live/in-play March Madness betting

Another great way to wager on March Madness is through live betting. Also known as in-play betting, you will be able to find live odds on spreads, totals and moneylines during games throughout March Madness. 

This can help players find value if the game is going differently than expected. For example, if Gonzaga builds up a lead against Purdue, the odds of Purdue to win the moneyline would increase

If you’re still confident that Purdue would come back to win, you can get more favorable odds betting once the game has started. 

March Madness Enhanced Odds

Enhanced odds bets are when the online sportsbook will increase the odds of a certain selection, making their odds much higher than they were beforehand.

The best sports betting sites will offer a number of enhanced odds bets each day at the NCAA Tournament, allowing you to get a higher payout on your bets than you were before. An example of an enhanced odds bet can be seen below:

March Madness Brackets

Even if you’ve never placed any NCAA tournament bets before, it is likely you will have heard of a March Madness bracket. The format of the tournament means the best way to predict and track teams’ progress through the tournament is through this diagram.

It’s popular to partake in competitions with colleagues, friends and family to predict the NCAA Tournament bracket, using their knowledge of each team to forecast which ones will win each game and progress to the next stage. 

The bracket is filled out before the tournament, without any games being played, so you are unable to change anything once the tournament has begun. 

How to fill out a March Madness bracket

If you’d like to take part yourself, some of the best online betting sites run March Madness bracket pools. These are free to enter and will often generate a huge payout if you land a perfect bracket. Be warned, the chances of giving a perfect bracket are one in 9.2 quintillion!

Alternatively, you can download a downloadable template from the internet and fill it in by hand. 

You start from the outside of the bracket, and work your way in,  predicting which of the initial 64 teams will win their first-round games and inserting their names in the boxes for the second-round matches. 

Repeating the process for the second round, you’ll predict which teams will win these hypothetical matchups to progress to the sweet sixteen, and then the elite eight, the Final Four, and finally, the National Championship game. 

Correctly picking the outcome of all games is incredibly difficult as there are so many variables, but it’s this challenge that makes the March Madness bracket so popular.

2023 March Madness Bracket Betting 

NCAA Tournament bracket betting is one of the most popular ways to get involved in March Madness each year. Participants attempt to predict the winner of every March Madness game before the tournament has begun, starting at the ‘First Four’ round and going all the way up to, and including, the final.

Bracket betting is one of the main ways people engage with March Madness. A great way to get involved in the tournament that can be played for fun or in competition for a prize pool going to the player who predicts the most correct games in the bracket

Free to enter online NCAA bracket pools are also offered by a number of sports betting sites, such as These competitions can often have a huge cash prize for the player who correctly predicts the most games. 

When choosing your picks for your bracket bets, the odds listed by all the sports betting sites are always a useful tool to use, and doing your own research is never a bad thing. 

If you’re having trouble choosing which teams to go with for your first round picks, sports betting sites will offer odds on almost all first round matches before the First Four begins, which you can use as research before submitting your bracket selections.

Additionally, when choosing your outright NCAA Tournament winner for your bracket bet, it’s a good idea to look at some of the futures market, to see which teams are among the outright favorites going into the tournament. 

How to research March Madness bets

As with any sports betting, it’s important to do some research before placing any bets. There are plenty of statistics and form websites where you can research college basketball results, form and depth charts. We’ve picked out some of the best sites to help craft your NCAA tournament bets.

How to research March Madness bets

Don’t always back the favorite

In the last 40 years of March Madness, there have been an average of around 12 upsets (games in which a lower seeded team has beaten a higher seeded team) per year, with around one in every five games proving to be an upset.

Whilst many people would back the favorite in every game, you will rarely see an upset free NCAA tournament. 

In 2017, the South Region’s 11th seed Loyola Chicago upset #6 Miami in the first round, and #3 Tennessee in the second round. Playing as underdogs in both games, this proves where the term madness comes from. 

Form over History

When betting on the NCAA tournament, the college’ overall season records may be easier to find, and generate their ranking in the tournament. However, it’s always important to focus more on how a team has been performing in the build up to the tournament, rather than in the longer term. 

For example, if Duke has a record of 21-5, they’ll most likely be favorites against a team who are 17-10, however by looking at their respective recent form, you’re able to get a better understanding of who has been playing better in the build up to the clash.

If all of Michigan’s last five games had resulted in them losing, whilst all of their opponents’ losses came in the first 10 games of the season, it may be wise to bet against Michigan despite their better overall record.

Seeds can mislead

We understand it’s always tempting to just bet on the highest overall seed for every match, and to pick those teams in your bracket. After all, they are seeded according to how well they have performed in the regular season. 

However, it’s important to remember the sheer amount of upsets in regards to seeding that happen on average at every NCAA tournament. 

On occasion, better teams are seeded lower than worse teams due to the difficulty of their division/conference. 

For example, if the North Carolina Tar Heels finish fourth in their division (ACC) with a record of 23-9, they will more likely be drafted as a fourth or fifth seed for the NCAA tournament. 

However, if the Villanova Wildcats finished first in their conference (Big East), but held a record of 18-13, then the seeding could not tell the whole story. 

Going by their records, UNC should be seeded higher than Villanova, however given how the seeding for MM works, VIllanova will almost certainly be seeded higher than UNC despite their inferior record.

Games are played every few days throughout the tournament, with fatigue and injury playing a big factor. Research is important before you place any bets, to make sure that teams are well equipped to win their matches. 

Pay attention to home court advantage

Many of the early round games take place across various cities in the country. Some colleges will have to travel across the country to play their opening-round games, whilst others will endure only a short bus trip to the stadium.

Teams playing close to home don’t have to confront jetlag, and the crowds are usually behind them. Don’t underestimate the emotional boost strong support can provide.

Betting on March Madness FAQs

When does the NCAA Tournament begin?

In 2022, March Madness will begin on March 13, when Selection Sunday will take place. The First Four play-in games will then take place on March 15 and 16, with the 32 first-round games held on March 17 and 18. The NCAA National Championship game will take place on April 4.

When does the NCAA Tournament begin?

March Madness will be available across several TV networks and streaming platforms. The exact stations will vary depending on where you live and which games you want to watch. 

Some online betting sites will provide live streaming of the games. Check out the best online betting sites to see which sportsbooks offer live streaming.

Where to bet on March Madness?

All the best sportsbooks will be accepting NCAA tournament bets, so you may be wondering which one is the best to use. Read the best NY sports betting sites to find out where you can place your March Madness bets.

What is the lowest seed to win the NCAA tournament?

The lowest seed to win the title was Villanova who went all the way in 1985 as a No. 8 seed. The next closest was UConn in 2014 as a No. 7 seed.