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US Gambling Sites / Betting Guide / How To Bet On March Madness: Your Guide For The 2024 NCAA Tournament

How To Bet On March Madness: Your Guide For The 2024 NCAA Tournament

Publish Date: 02/04/2024
Fact checked by: Josh Schwartz

March Madness is one of the most exciting times on the sporting calendar, especially from a betting standpoint. The volatile college play combined with the high volume of games makes it one of the most popular events to gamble on.

College basketball has a massive following in general, but March Madness is usually where the outside interest peaks and more people than ever become interested in watching the games, as well as wagering some cash on them.

It can be daunting for a new bettor to understand all of the different betting types and techniques. Today we’re here to help you understand how to bet on March Madness and the betting types, odds and lines.

What is March Madness?

NCAA March Madness or simply March Madness is a D1 college basketball tournament that determines the men’s college basketball champions. What makes it so entertaining and popular is the single round elimination format.

Each game is for all the marbles, which makes for some very exciting and intense action. Emotions run high for the players as they aim to make the coveted ‘Final Four’ and ‘National Championship’ games.

There are 68 teams in March Madness each year, with six official rounds, these being:

  • Round of 64
  • Round of 32
  • Sweet 16
  • Elite 8
  • Final 4
  • National Championship

Interestingly enough, the Final Four and National Championship are actually played in April and not March.

Where to bet on Match Madness

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How does the March Madness bracket work?

The March Madness bracket starts by ranking the 68 college basketball teams based on their seasonal performance. The teams are separated into four regions, with seeds ranging from 1 to 16 within each region.

The highest-ranked teams face the lowest-ranked teams in the first round, creating matchups designed to give the higher-ranked teams an advantage. But there are plenty of high profile upsets.

March Madness Betting Markets

March Madness Outright/Futures Odds

One of the most popular betting types on March Madness is outrights, it is very difficult to pick a team to go all the way as there are so many variables, but this betting type is designed more for a fun punt rather than being a ‘banker’ bet.

Odds can fluctuate hugely, as demonstrated by the table below. The opening odds compared to now are vastly different in some cases.

Team Opening Odds Current Odds
Purdue Boilermakers +950 +700
Arizona Wildcats +1200 +1200
Connecticut Huskies +1300 +500
Marquette Golden Eagles +1300 +2500
Kansas Jayhawks +1300 +2000
Houston Cougars +1500 +900
Creighton Blue Jays +2000 +4500
Baylor Bears +2000 +4000
Duke Blue Devils +2600 +2500
Tennessee Volunteers +2600 +1300

March Madness Moneylines

March Madness odds don’t come much simpler than this. The moneyline is by far the easiest bet to understand, you are simply picking who you think will win the given game.

Here’s an example:

No. 1 Seed -145No. 4 Seed +155

With these odds, the no. 4 seed are the underdogs. The +155 odds mean that a $100 wager would return a $155 profit.

As for the no. 1 seed, a $145 stake would return $100 if they were to win. This is because the bookmakers give them a higher implied probability of winning the game.

March Madness Parlays

March Madness odds can be extremely fun when used in a parlay. The way a parlay works is also very simple to understand, it is essentially multiple single bets combined together to make one large bet with higher odds.

The catch is that you’ll need everything to come in to win. You could have a 15 fold parlay with +25000 odds and lose by a single -400 leg not coming in. Parlays make for the biggest wins and the biggest heartbreaks.

For example, you could see:

Boilermakers to win: -135Huskies to win: -120Blue Jays to win: +110Combined: +260

These odds are hypothetical and not taken from any sportsbook.

How to bet on March Madness live

Another great option for betting on March Madness is the live betting market. There is always the potential to spot things early in the game and make better calls than before the tip.

In college basketball, particularly, there can be some great chances to make some profits, for example, it is quite rare to see a team score 100+ points or both teams combine for more than 190, so if you see a high scoring first quarter, you could throw some money on and test the water.

With live betting on March Madness there is volatility on the lines, basketball is an end-to-end sport where things are constantly changing, so don’t be surprised to see your odds fluctuate if you wait too long.

March Madness Over/Under Betting

Over/under betting is a way of predicting certain outcomes in a game of basketball. There will usually be a line, and you will need to choose over or under.

The main type of line you’ll see is for the total points scored between each team. For example, the line could be 180.5 points, and you would have to pick whether you think the score will equate to more or less of that.

March Madness Spread Betting

You may have heard the phrase betting against the spread thrown around before, and that’s because it is one of the most popular ways to bet. It is essentially betting on a team to win with a handicap.

Let us take you through an example:

No. 1 Seed -4.5 -110No. 4 Seed +4.5 -110

The no. 1 seed is favorite to win the game, so the bookmaker is giving them a -4.5 point handicap in order to even the odds. The same can be said for the underdogs who are given +4.5 points. This allows you to gain higher odds on the clear favorite and lower odds on the underdog.

Combining multiple spread bets in a parlay is a very popular way to bet on March Madness.

march madness basketballMarch Madness Pool: How does it work?

The March Madness bracket is one of the most fun ways to bet. How it works is relatively simple to understand. Essentially, for each round, you choose a team who you think will win, and if they lose, you’re out.

Here’s a rundown of how it works in more detail:

  • Each pool member chooses one team each day or round (depending on type of pool).
  • Each team can only be picked once throughout the tournament. No backing favorites every round!
  • If your pick is correct, you survive until the next day/round.
  • If your pick is wrong, you are eliminated.
  • The aim is to be the last player standing by the end.

How do you win money from March Madness pools?

There are two types of March Madness pools, these being paid and free-to-play. These pools are usually set up privately, with prizes organized by whoever set it up. Alternatively, there are paid pools, you can pay anywhere from a buck to $100+ depending on the pool.

The winner takes all, so you have a chance to win a massive amount of money. It is the aim to win, but pools are not a profit machine, they are there for the fun aspect more than anything.

How to create a March Madness pool

There are a few different websites that allow you to set up your own March Madness pool for you and your buddies. CBS Sport and Run Your Pool are both fantastic options that offer an easy setup process and a solid interface.

On CBS the process is very simple:

  1. Go to CBSSport.com and select ‘Play now’
  2. Scroll down to find the CBS sports bracket logo
  3. Enter your pool name and optional slogan/profile picture
  4. Set up a password to join
  5. Choose your point preferences (how many points are earned per win, any bonus point options and tiebreakers)
  6. Share your pool, this can be done via Facebook, Instagram, X, a simple URL link and more

March Madness Sleeper Picks: What are they?

A March Madness sleeper pick is a team that is projected to be a seven seed or higher with a reasonable chance of having a multiple weekend run in March Madness. They can provide great value for futures bets.

Last year, we saw a ninth seed team reach the Final Four whilst none of the first seed teams did. This just goes to show that anything can happen in March Madness. Here are a couple of teams to keep your eye on this year:

  • Utah State Aggies - +2800 to reach final four via Fanduel
  • South Carolina Gamecocks - +2500 to reach final four via Caesars
  • Michigan State Spartans - +1900 to reach final four via FanDuel

Pros and Cons of March Madness betting?

Pros: Cons:
There are so many games Unpredictable games, anything can happen
It makes for a more exciting game watching experience
Dark horses can provide great value

March Madness betting can be incredibly fun, it is one of our favorite times of the sporting calendar. The tournament is very unique, and it’s one of the few major sporting events where anyone can win.

This makes the tournament exciting, unpredictable and most importantly- extremely entertaining. Betting on March Madness is great for this reason too, there is so many little diamonds in the rough to spot value wise.

Some great profits can be made if you do your research, and if you made it this far, you’re off to a great start. Best of luck with your March Madness betting folks.

FAQ

How do you bet on March Madness winner?

Join a sportsbook and select futures/outrights, then choose your pick to win the tournament. For a single game, select Moneyline instead. 

How do you read March Madness odds?

If a team is +150 to win, this means a $100 wager will return a profit of $150, so a total of $250. If a team is -150 it means you will need to wager $150 to make a profit of $100. 

What are the March Madness rounds called?

Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final Four and National Championship.

How to bet on March Madness bracket?

To bet on a bracket, you can either pick a team to win outright or select the games you want and bet on the moneyline, spread or combine multiple as a parlay.

When does March Madness start?

Here are all the key dates for March Madness 2024:

  • Selection Sunday: Sunday, March 17
  • First Four: March 19-20
  • First round: March 21-22
  • Second round: March 23-24
  • Sweet 16: March 28-29
  • Elite Eight: March 30-31
  • Final Four: Saturday, April 6th
  • NCAA championship game: Monday, April 8th

How many games are in March Madness?

There are 67 games in March Madness, including the First Four. 

How much money to bet on March Madness?

DraftKings are running a special offer for new customers, and with just a $5 minimum bet, players will receive $150 Bonus Bets split across six $25 bets. These must be wagered x1 time and only redeemable once.

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