How to Bet on March Madness – 2022 March Madness Betting Guide

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OddsJam StaffMarch 24, 2022, 04:15 PM

How to Bet on March Madness

A lot of sports fans say that March Madness is the best sports time of the year, and I am certainly not here to argue that. March Madness is a ton of fun, and a sports fans dream. Want to know a way to make the NCAA tournament even more fun? Make money betting off it! That is what this article will be detailing: how to bet on March Madness (and make money doing so)!

For starters, the types of bets for the tourney are no different than any regular season NCAAB or even NBA game for that matter. There are 3 main markets when betting on March Madness, which will be detailed below.

Moneyline

The first of the main markets to bet on in college hoops is betting on a teams moneyline. This is first because moneyline betting is the easiest concept to understand in all sports: all you do is bet on who you think is going to win the game. It doesn’t matter how they win, just that the team you bet on wins the game. You can bet on either the favorite or the underdog, with the payouts being different depending who you decide to bet on. 

Points Spread 

When you bet on a point spread you are no longer betting on who you think is going to win the game, but instead how much a team is going to win or lose by. So, instead of a team needing to win the game straight up, if you bet on the spread you need the favorite to win by over the spread amount in order to win that bet. Conversely, if you are betting on an underdogs point spread, they no longer need to win the game straight up in order to win your bet- they can either win, or lose by less than the spread amount. 

Total Points or Over/Under

Betting on the total, or also called the over/under, is another popular college basketball market to bet on. When you bet on the total, you are betting on the number of points scored in the game, combined between both teams. In a totals bet you are betting on that score being over or under the set amount. Bettors love the total because it is a way they can get skin in the game without needing to back a specific team. NCAAB bettors love betting the over on games they know they are going to watch so all they need to do is root for points, which is fun!

Now that we have covered the 3 main markets, there are also other markets to bet on during March Madness. 

March Madness Parlays

Parlays are fun because you can add a bunch of different bets, or legs, to a parlay for a sizable payout. Parlays are when a bettor ties multiple bets together to boost odds for a higher payout. The risk is if even one of those legs loses then the entire parlay loses.

Betting on parlays can be a way for March Madness bettors to back multiple heavy favorites moneyline and top seeds for increased odds.

March Madness Futures

Another way to bet on March Madness is through a futures bet. A future is a bet that is not involved in a specific game at all, but instead on an event that will occur in the future – normally at the end of the season. 

For March Madness specifically, the most popular futures bet would be on the NCAA champion. But, you can also bet on smaller futures that are still fun, such as who will make the Final Four or who will be the March Madness MVP.

March Madness Specials/Props

One of the main differences when it comes to betting March Madness vs the college basketball regular season is the types of props and specials available to bet on that are unique to March Madness. 

These types of props include: 

Tournament Props 

  • How many buzzer-beaters will there be in the first round
  • How many games will go into OT, total

Round Props

  • How many 1 seeds will make the Final 4
  • When will each 1 seed be eliminated
  • Will a first 4 team make it to the Sweet 16

Seed Props

  • How many 12 seeds will be 5 seeds
  • Will a 16 seed win
  • Will a 15 seed win

Novelty Props

  • A team with “Bulldogs” as their mascot will reach the Final 4
  • A team with “Huskies” as their mascot will reach the Sweet 16
  • A team with “Tigers” as their mascot will reach the Final Four
  • A team with “Wildcats” as their mascot will reach the Final Four
  • A team with a color in their name will reach the Final Four

Live Betting March Madness

Another way a sports bettor can bet on the tourney is to do it during live games. This means that a game can be actively going on, and a sports bettor is still able to get some live bets in. Unable to get your bet in before the game started? No problem! Let’s bet it live, during the action.

Live betting can be fun because you can be watching the game and decide that you have a feeling of how the outcome of the game will go, and be able to act on that feeling. What live bets you are able to place depends on the sportsbook itself. Almost every book will offer the main markets live (spread, moneyline, total) but some might not offer not much more than that.

Let’s say you are watching a game and notice that the underdog is able to hang with the heavy favorite they are playing. That might be a time to sprinkle some lettuce on the underdog ML or spread, and test out your intuition. 

March Madness Betting Strategies

So, now that we know how to bet on March Madness and which types of bets we can make, it is now important to learn how we can make money betting on March Madness. In this next section we will detail profitable betting strategies for the tournament. 

Bet on ML Underdogs in the First Two Rounds

One of the most profitable, and also enjoyable, ways to enjoy March Madness is to bet on every underdogs moneyline in the first two rounds of the tournament. Everybody loves cinderellas in the tourney, but every year there are multiple huge upsets that make it a profitable strategy to bet on every single underdog. 

Last year the 15 seeded Oral Roberts upset the Ohio State Buckeyes, and who can forget the 1 seeded Virginia becoming the first ever 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed. Examples such as these happen on a yearly basis to make betting on underdogs not only fun but also a way to make money.

Identify Which Favorites are on Upset Alert

This is similar to the first strategy, but more specifically diving into each matchup and understand which teams specifically could pull off the upset. For example, the most common 1st round upset is a 12 seed over a 5 seed. On average, about a third of the 12 seeds win their first round matchup, which is by far the highest of all double digit seeds. Almost every year at least one 12 seed wins, with sometimes 2 or 3 coming up with the upset. 

Look at Home-Road Splits

Another example of a team worth fading is a team that is dominant at home but struggles on the road or on neutral courts. There are always teams that seem to be able to get up for games in front of the home crowd with the fans cheering them on, but for whatever reason are unable to find the same magic away from home.

These are the types of teams that are more likely to be upset because they will obviously no longer have any home games. 

Experience Matters

The one and done era has produced some phenomenal college basketball teams and players, but only twice has a predominantly freshman team won the NCAA tournament. These were two legendary teams with Kentucky doing it in 2012, and Duke in 2015. Other than that, the more experienced teams make the most noise in March Madness. 

It is understandably easy to fall in love with the freshman teams dripping with talent, but look for teams that aren’t so freshman focused to have a better chance of cutting down the nets when it’s all said and done. 

How to Fill out a March Madness Bracket

This is where March Madness sets itself apart from any other sporting event: the bracket.

The bracket challenge is a wildly popular sporting tournament, enjoyed by diehards and casual sports fans alike. Shoot, even non-sport fans will fill one out! Even though the chances of getting a perfect bracket are approximately 1 and 9.2 quintillion, everybody starts off with the same dream of maybe this is their year. In this section we will detail how to fill out a bracket so you too can get in on the fun.

The first thing to do is find some sort of bracket pool you can join. Almost any sports website offers a bracket challenge, so finding one isn’t hard. Doing one with friends and family adds an even more fun dynamic.

Once you have found a pool to join, the actual matter of filling out the bracket is pretty easy. All you need to do is predict who you think is going to win each matchup, and go from there! Of course, actually predicting the correct winners is easier said than done. Use the strategies mentioned earlier when going through your picks, with a quick pointer below.

Predicting upsets is fun, but don’t go crazy with it. We all remember cinderella runs, but once it comes down to the Final 4 and Championship, it is more often than not played by at least one or two chalk teams (top seeds). UCLA had a crazy run to the final 4 in 2021 as a double digit seed, but the actual championship was played by the two top seeds in the tournament: Baylor and Gonzaga.

Not every favorite is going to win, so there is definitely value in having your bracket include some major upsets, but when picking a national champion, keep in mind that it is almost always going to be a top seed. 

Where to Bet on March Madness

Most importantly, in order to bet on the NBA you need to be signed up for sportsbooks to be able to actually place some bets! List of our favorite sportsbooks are below:

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