How to bet on March Madness

Betting on March Madness is big business. It’s a feeding frenzy when the first NCAA Basketball Championship odds are posted. Betting handle on basketball hit new records in Nevada last March, with over $430 million in wagers – almost twice as much as 10 years ago. But, Nevada no longer has a monopoly on legal sports betting in the US and with the spread of sports wagering we can expect an increase in the over all handle nationally. Ready to make a legal sports bet on college basketball? We have several sportsbooks that we can recommend.

March Madness Spread Betting

The most popular form of March Madness betting is the point spread. Before every game, a list of NCAA Basketball Tournament lines will be posted, with a spread attached. One team will be considered the favorite; to win by a certain number of points (known as the point spread). For the underdog to cash, they’ll have to either win the game or lose by fewer points than the spread. For example, if North Carolina was a 1.5-point favorite in the National Championship Game, they would have to win by at least 2 points to cover. Usually, one team or the other will win a basketball game against the spread (ATS), but not always. If the spread for a game is a whole number, and the favorite wins by exactly that number of points, it’s called a push, and all money wagered is returned to the bettors. For advanced bettors, there is a strategy of buying the hook. You have the option of moving the spread a half-point in either direction. If you had bought the “hook” and bet on North Carolina, instead of -1.5 points you would have been at -1 point. This can be a pick advantage since a one point win would be a push and return your money. By doing this you are essentially taking them to win the game.

March Madness Betting the Moneyline

The moneyline is the traditional way of expressing the March Madness odds. Instead of betting against the spread, you simply bet on one team to win the game straight-up (SU). The Tar Heels were –125 favorites on the moneyline against UCLA, meaning you would have to bet $125 to win $100 (smaller and larger bets are allowed). The Bruins were +105 underdogs, and would have paid out $105 for every $100 wagered if they had won the championship. If you like an underdog to pull off the upset and beat the favorite SU, you’ll make more money by placing a moneyline bet, provided your team comes through for you.

March Madness Betting Over / Under

Also known as the total, the over/under continues to grow in popularity on the March Madness lines. All you need to do here is bet on whether the combined final score of the game will go over or under the posted total. The over/under for last year’s title game was 155 points, so the Under was the winning bet. If North Carolina and UCLA had combined for exactly 155 points, it would have been a push and all money is returned, just like in spread betting.

March Madness Futures Betting

You can pick a winner right now. Odds to win NCAAM Championship are available year-round. A futures bet is a bet on the winner of a major event placed before the event starts. An example would be betting on the Michigan State Spartans to win it all in December at +500. If they do win it all then your bet wins five times the original bet. Futures bets are a way to get better odds on teams that you think will win it all.

March Madness Prop Bets

Proposition bets, or prop bets, are a wager on something aside from the outcome of a specific game. These bets usually fall into two categories: team props, and player props. A team prop could be as simple as how far the Cal Bears will advance in the Tournament, while player props will ask you to wager on a specific individual performance, like how many points Cole Anthony will score in a particular game. March Madness prop betting has become increasingly popular over the years, and you can expect to find more and more props on the NCAAM odds board as the tournament gets closer to the National Championship Game.

March Madness Parlay Betting

If you plan on making multiple straight bets (spread, moneyline or total) on the college basketball betting lines, you can increase your potential payout by combining them into a single bet known as a parlay. Your payout will rise exponentially as you add more bets to it. But you have to get every pick correct for your parlay to pay out. It’s all about managing risk versus reward; many bettors will stick to 2-team parlays, often combining the spread and total from the same game. Teams, in this case, refers to the Over or Under as well as the teams on the basketball court.

March Madness Teaser Betting

A teaser is a special kind of parlay that lets you move every single line by a certain number of points. When you’re dealing with NCAA Tournament lines, you can tease by 4, 4.5, 5, or 6 points. The more points you tease by, the smaller the payout gets. However, you also have a greater likelihood of winning. For example, if you had a 2-team teaser North Carolina at +6.5 instead of +1.5, and Over 150 instead of 155, you would have been paid out at –120 if the final score was North Carolina 75 – Notre Dame 80. The maximum number of teams you can put in a teaser will vary from one sportsbook to another so if you are going to be making teaser bets then take a look at what your sportsbook allows.

March Madness Live Betting

All the betting options above have to be made before the game in starts, but you can also take advantage of the March Madness live betting odds while a game is in progress. Sportsbooks will almost all have point spread, moneyline and total bets available. These lines will be updated throughout the game as play continues. Other team & player prop bets may be available as well. The bigger the game the more likely it is that live betting prop bets will be available.

March Madness Betting Tips

You do not need to be a rocket scientist to make money betting on March Madness. Remember, you are not betting against the sportsbook. You are betting against the other guys betting at the sportsbook. Most gamblers do not do even basic research so even a little can go a long way toward winning.

#1 There will be more of these bettors as you get deeper into the tournament.  As a general rule, recreational bettors tend to overvalue favorites, so the betting value is often with the underdogs. Do yourself a favor and take a look at the free betting matchups for EVERY GAME.

College Basketball Game Betting Matchups

#2 Another tip is that big schools have a lot of alumni betting on them in what they think will be an easy win. These are usually games between the 4-seeds and the 13-seeds, 5 vs. 12, and 6 vs. 11. The teams with the higher-numbered seeds are usually the champions of smaller conferences that don’t get a lot of publicity, while the lower-numbered seeds are often “at-large” teams from the big-name conferences like the ACC and the Big Ten. Again, you are betting against the public so a Michigan team will have a huge alumni base but a Cal State Riverside will hardly draw any alumni money. It is the money, not the talent on the floor than can give you an edge.

#3 Check a teams road ATS (against the spread) record for both spreads and totals. Some teams just can’t play well away from home and you need to know which teams travel well because almost all of the teams will be playing away from home.

Take a look at betting trends for over 300 teams here

College Basketball Betting Trends