March Madness is the biggest tournament in all of sports. Starting in the middle of March and going through early April, 68 teams compete in a huge tournament to crown the best one in college basketball. With 67 total games in the tournament, there are lots of bets to choose from. Here we will break down all the sportsbook bets you can find during basketball’s biggest tournament.
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March Madness single game bets
One of the most popular types of bets for March Madness involves wagering on a single game. This can be done in several ways, including point spreads, moneylines, totals, props, and same game parlays.
The most straightforward single-game bets are the game lines. There are spread bets, money line bets and over/ under totals. The point spread is set with a number to make the game more competitive. The spread is subtracted from the favored team’s final score to determine who wins against the spread.
Money lines bets are used to bet on the outright winner of the game. Total bets set an over/ under to bet on. For these bets, you add up both teams’ final scores and see whether it is larger or smaller than the total value.
For example, Kansas can be listed at -4 ½ against the spread, -165 against the money line and the total for the points scored by both teams can be set at 143 ½. A half-point prevents a push.
March Madness props
Game props are different bets that can be used on outcomes in the game. There is a race to bet, that allows you to bet on the first team to a certain amount of points. There are team props, that include alternate spreads and totals.
There are also margin bets, where you bet on the exact margin that the game will finish between. This adds increased odds as you have to hit the exact margin of victory. These are usually in increments of 5 or 10 depending on the game.
Another game prop you can bet on is half by half winners. You can choose which team will win each half outright or by the spread. You can also bet on the total by half. There are also premade parlays where you can pick a half-winner with the total or a half-winner with the outright winner.
There are also player props where you can bet on different stats for players. These are not as common for college basketball with multiple states not allowing bettors to wager on college player props.
Player props include betting on certain players’ point, assist, rebound, block, steal and turnover totals. There are usually not set for every player on the roster, but instead for the bigger-name players on the team. You can bet the over/ under on their stat totals as well as who will earn the most of a stat in an individual game.
Another player prop typically offered is combined stats. These include bets on totals like points + rebounds in the game. You can usually match up points, assists, rebounds, steals or blocks with each other. There are also bets on how many three-pointers a player will hit in a single game.
March Madness same game parlays
One of the bets that have gained a lot of popularity recently has been same game parlays. These are parlays based on a single game. You can match up game lines, player props and game props as long as they are from the same game. These can lead to big payouts, but like regular parlays, you need all legs to hit for the bet to payout. If one leg loses, the entire parlay is graded as a loss. A push drops that leg from the ticket.
One thing to watch out for when placing SGPs are the promotions. Sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings, commonly have offers around the same game parlays like loss rebates or odds boosts. Reading these promotions carefully though is important as they usually have a minimum amount of legs, minimum odds on each leg, and more.
College basketball teasers
A teaser works like a parlay. It involves picking multiple outcomes. Bettors may choose between point spreads and totals. A college basketball teaser often has 4, 4.5, and 5-point options. These points are added to each leg in your favor. If you win them all, your teaser gets paid. If any leg loses, the entire parlay is lost. A push removes that leg from the ticket.
If you take a four-point teaser on a two-point underdog, your team is now a six-point underdog in the teaser. You can swing small favorites into underdogs in a teaser, too.
There are several ways to make futures bets on March Madness. It can involve a team winning it all, advancing to the Final Four, and how many teams from a conference make the Sweet Sixteen.
One of the big future bets for the NCAA tournament is betting on the Championship winner. You can usually bet this at any time from the field of the remaining teams. The sooner in the tournament you choose the winner though, the bigger the odds. As the field shrinks, so will the odds.
Another popular futures bet is on which teams will reach the Final Four. The NCAA tournament is split into four regions of 16 to start. You can bet which teams will come out of each region. You can do these as single wagers or if you feel confident in your bracket, you can parlay some of these picks together.
There are future prop bets on whether different Conferences will have representation in the later rounds of the tournament. Usually, the conferences are the Power 5 Conferences (SEC, ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12). You can bet on whether they will have a team reach the Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final Four or Championship game.
You can bet some players’ futures in the March Madness tournament. Some specials have offers on which of two players will score more points in the tournament. Usually, these players are likely to go high in the NBA draft and have a lot of excitement around them. The big thing to watch out for though is team success. If one of the players’ teams is bumped early, they cannot score as many points.
Another player future you can bet on is which player will win the Most Outstanding Player Award. This award is given out to the MVP of the tournament. Looking for what you think is the best team to bet on with their best player is a good way to bet on the winner of the award.
March Madness brackets
Some sportsbooks offer bracket contests. These may pay the top 10% of the pool. Points are often based on seeding and rounds. The more players who enter a March Madness pool, the higher the payouts. These are also often found in office pools and parties.
Tips for betting on March Madness
There are several ways to increase your chances of winning when betting on March Madness. Here are some tips.
How to find the Cinderella team
One of the biggest things someone looks to find for every NCAA tournament is which team will be that year’s Cinderella story. Most years there is a team that makes a deep run in the tournament as a high seed. The most recent example of this was the St. Peter’s Peacocks, who made it to the Elite 8 as a 15 seed in 2022.
When looking for a Cinderella story, one aspect to check for is a strong offensive rating. Most of the time for a team to pull off an upset on a high seed, they need to keep up with an elite offense. Another thing to watch for is the turnover rating. If a team can win the turnover battle against a strong team, they have a better chance to win the game.
Cinderella teams also typically have some experience on their roster. Usually, they are not led by a roster of freshmen but have multiple juniors and seniors that help lead the team. The final thing to watch for in a Cinderella story is something unique about the team. A good example of this is Syracuse’s 2-3 zone defense, which causes issues because it is uncommon and opponents may struggle to adjust to it.
Avoid going to upset heavy
When betting on single games in the first and second rounds, avoid picking too many upsets. Everyone loves watching a great upset, but there are usually not that many in the first couple of rounds. Picking every potential upset is a likely way to lose money.
Watch offense and defensive ratings
Another big thing to watch out for is offensive and defensive ratings. Almost every team that has won the NCAA tournament has ranked top 20 in defensive rating and top 40 in offensive rating. Looking for teams that can play well on both sides of the ball is a great way to predict which teams could make a deep run in the tournament.
Look for elite coaches
One of the big factors most teams that make deep runs in the tournament have in common is elite coaching. Coaches who have a lot of experience in the tournament and with their program, tend to have more success in March. Watching for the best coaches is a good way to predict some teams that will make it far in the tournament.