In the sports betting world, there is no bigger time of year than during the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.
The Super Bowl is a big day, but it’s only one game…
There is the World Series, but that only takes a week.
March Madness is the entire month of March.
With a total of 69 games for you to bet on from the individual games to the office pools…
There is action for everyone.
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We’ve been talking at length about needing to do the research, and there is no better place to start than with the opening March Madness odds. These are the odds which will directly affect every point spread, moneyline, and totals for the entire tournament, and every matchup.
Just like every set of odds, the March Madness odds will change after every day and every round. Follow them carefully as they can tell you not only where the money is but also where the right value can be found.
Brackets (Updated 2019)
The culmination of the college basketball season has everything sports gamblers love: tons of games, great lines, and plenty of upsets.
Placing a March Madness bet is easy.
However, winning on that bet is the tough part and will require a March Madness betting guide to make sure you get as much March money as you can. Here, we’ll look at everything you need to know before placing any of those March Madness bets.
The season usually starts in November and lasts until late March/early April, when the final tournament takes place. The so-called March Madness is the tournament that decides the winner of the NCAAB for that season.
There are 353 colleges registered in Division I of the NCAAB. And all of those have a basketball team. These teams will compete in their conferences for a place in March Madness, in which there’s room for a total of 68 teams. The winners of each of 32 conferences get to take part in the big tournament, while the other 36 are invited by a special committee of experts set up by the NCAA.
Depending on how many teams are in the conference, an NCAAB side can play a different number of games in the regular season. Usually, it’s in the ballpark of 30 matches. And those teams that win their conferences get to play even more games during March Madness, which is a pretty big incentive for each team to give their utmost in every single match of the regular season.
The name March Madness is more than appropriate for the tournament in which 64 collegiate teams take part in March and April, competing for the title of the NCAAB winner. The tournament is one of the most popular sports events in North America, especially in this time of the year.
In fact, basketball fans have no other major events in early spring. The NBA Finals happen in June, the Olympics are in July, and so on. Even overseas, the EuroLeague Final Four, which decides the club champion of Europe is not before May.
And the reason why March Madness is so popular is that it’s incredibly interesting to watch. If you haven’t wanted it yet, you definitely need to give it a chance. This tournament is packed with excitements, with underdogs beating favorites much more commonly than in other competitions.
Another reason why people love watching March Madness games is that they give them an insight into which players are going to rule the NBA in the future. The best-performing players in March Madness often end up playing for top NBA teams just a few months after this tournament.
2019 Tournament Schedule
|Tues, March 19||FIRST FOUR||Dayton, OH|
|Wed, March 20||FIRST FOUR||Dayton, OH|
|Thur, March 21||FIRST ROUND||Hartford, CT |
Salt Lake City, UT
Des Moines, IA
|Fri, March 22||FIRST ROUND||Tulsa, OK |
San Jose, CA
|Sat, March 23||SECOND ROUND||Hartford, CT |
Salt Lake City, UT
Des Moines, IA
|Sun, March 24||SECOND ROUND||Tulsa, OK |
San Jose, CA
|Thur, March 28||SWEET 16®||Louisville, KY |
|Fri, March 29||SWEET 16®||Washington, D.C. |
Kansas City, MO
|Sat, March 30||ELITE EIGHT®||Louisville, KY |
|Sun, March 31||ELITE EIGHT®||Washington, D.C. |
Kansas City, MO
|Sat, April 6||FINAL FOUR®||Minneapolis, MN|
|Mon, April 8||NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP®||Minneapolis, MN|
The First Weekend
The first weekend of March Madness is nothing less than absolute mayhem. First of all, there are the First Four. These are play-in games between the four lowest automatic bids and the four lowest at-large bids to see who is entered into the big bracket. It is the official start of the tourney, which leads us into the first weekend of games – the first and second round. These games are notorious for big upsets. There are many games in a short amount of time, so while it may seem as if there is an upset every other game, it is less than it seems. Place smaller wagers during the first week of March Madness as you gather intel, and make the big money in the later rounds.
There used to be hard and fast rules about how to bet the first week of March Madness. At least one 12 seed will always beat a 5 seed, and no 16 seed has ever beaten a 1 seed, just to name a few. However, it is important to realize that those are the old rules, not the new ones. College basketball has changed and with it so has tournament games and March Madness odds.
The One-and-Done rule, the success of mid-majors, and the play-in games have completely changed how sports gamblers approach these first matchups. Trying to pick the right upset and favoring power conferences is a thing of the past. Doing well during that first weekend and in the entire tournament will require much more legwork on your part to be successful.
Simply put, you have to know more about more teams than ever before. No more watching solely Top 25 games and big conferences all year. You must get to know the mid-major conferences and the small ones. Stay on top of the West Coast games and not just UCLA. All of the rule changes over the past 10 to 15 years has created a much more level playing field, and the competitiveness of the tournament is the proof. You’ll learn a lot in the first week of March Madness, and this is definitely the time to place smaller wagers. Stay ahead of the game, gather some intel, and use it in the later rounds.
The Sweet 16 is where you will find the best teams in the country. In this round, the point spreads will noticeably tighten up, as with the Totals numbers. Because we are dealing with better teams who are playing good ball, your March Madness odds are going to reflect it.
A big difference between these games and the first two rounds is crowd size. Empty seats from the previous rounds will have no doubt been filled once the Sweet 16 hits. This is worth noting as teams who have scored big upsets may not be ready to play on such a big stage.
There will be upsets in this round, too. However, they will come from solid teams in small markets. Stay away from teams that live and die by the three or teams playing uptempo, pressing games. Look for teams with seniors, future NBA draft picks, and an inside-outside game. The more complete team will get out of the Sweet 16, regardless if they are from the ACC or the SWAC.
If the games weren’t tight enough for you in the Sweet 16, the Elite 8 is your round. This is always a fantastic round, and the games are good too.
Underdogs do well in the Elite 8 even with tight lines and the seemingly overmatched underdogs who have found their way there. Again, in this day and age, underdogs aplenty will be found in the Elite 8 and always offer great value with the points and on the moneyline. If there is a dark horse you’ve been riding, stick with them as seeing high seeds and mid-majors enter the Final Four happens every year.
If there is any round that could be considered underwhelming, it actually may be the Final Four. First of all, there are only two games. One double-header, which makes for a quick round comparatively speaking. More importantly, though, this is the round where underdog luck usually runs out, and the big schools make their way to the big game. Even more important than that, this is the round where we see teams covering.
To win the NCAA Championship, it takes a good team on a great run, and things usually come to a head here in the Final Four. Good teams relying on talent but not playing well, don’t get out of the round. Teams that are not deep get tired and can’t get out of the round. This is the last step, so it takes a special team to make it.
A great round to play it safe and stick to favorites.
The same can be said for the National Championship game. Even with all of the parity and competitiveness of March Madness, the titles usually go to the big schools. Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Villanova. These are the teams that win the titles. The Gonzaga’s and Butler’s make great exciting runs but have always come up short. Will one of these underdogs pull off an upset someday? Yes. Will it happen often? No.
This is the last game of the tournament so you will still get good odds no matter the matchup. When there is a heavyweight versus a lightweight, the odds are still useful because every hack will be betting the underdog, moving the lines to where a bet on the favorite will, again, grab you plenty of value. These are great games, and plenty are close, even coming down to the wire. Taking title game favorites on the moneyline is a boring March Madness bet no one likes to make, but run the numbers. It pays over and over again.
March Madness is so big because everyone gets in on the action. The office pools, your local bar, even middle schoolers get a tournament of their own going every March, and there is good fun as well as plenty of value in these wagers too. The key to winning these pools is the same as winning any NCAA basketball bet in March – plenty of research.
The most popular pool is the simple bracket where you pick the winners and get points for every correct pick. The points double after every round so, to be successful here, you are going to have to pick the teams that go far, including the winner. Having teams that make it to the Elite 8, the Final Four, and the Championship game will be vital to winning the whole tournament.
There are many kinds of pools, some much more complicated, some more simplified. Regardless, thorough research remains the key as nothing will prepare you more for any wager you make than knowing every team in the tournament up and down.
March Madness vs. NBA Finals
Most basketball fans look at the NCAAB as a version of the NBA in which college students compete. Although there are many similarities between these two competitions, there are also several big differences.
Betting on NCAA basketball differs a lot from betting on NBA, or even some other sports. The thing about college basketball matches is that they often see major upsets. Surprises happen all the time in college games, which means that there’s a lot of money to be made from betting on NCAAB.
The only thing you need is to know how to spot when a surprise is going to happen. The bad news is that it’s not easy. The good news is that with our help, you can make a profit while enjoying the sport!
The number of teams taking part in the NBA Playoffs is 16. Eight top-ranked teams from East Conference and the same number of teams from West Conference compete in NFA Playoffs. Considering that NCAA basketball championship has much more conferences, it’s no surprise that the final tournament features much more teams.
There are 32 conferences in the NCAAB, the winners of which get to advance to March Madness. In addition to the conference winners, another 36 teams are invited by a special NCAA committee, adding to a total of 68 teams taking part in this tournament.
In the NBA, a match lasts for 48 minutes and overtime is played if the score is equal. Every NBA match is split into four quarters, each lasting for 12 minutes. In the NCAA basketball, matches last a bit shorter, but instead of four quarters, these games are split into two halves.
A half in an NCAAB game lasts for 20 minutes. Between the two halves, there’s a break period of 15 minutes, which is the same as in the NBA. Another similarity with NBA matches is that NCAA games also have 5-minute-long overtime periods.
A team can attack for no more than 24 seconds in one go in an NBA match. This period is referred to as the shot clock. Basically, a player needs to take a shot until the 24-second-period is over. When it comes to the NCAAB, the shot clock is six seconds longer, that is, exactly half a minute.
There are also some differences between NBA and NCAAB in terms of fouls rules. For example, if a player makes five individual fouls, regardless of whether they’re technical or personal, they’re going to be disqualified from the match. In the NBA, the number of fouls a player can commit before disqualification is six.
Also, when a technical foul is made by an NBA player, the opposition gets a free throw. If the same scenario happens in the NCAAB, the opposing team gets two free throws, as well as an additional attack.
There are also some differences concerning team fouls. When a team makes seven fouls in a half of an NCAAB game, the opponents are awarded the so-called 1-and-1 free throw. How it works is that if the player misses the first attempt, he gets another chance. In the NBA, four fouls in a quarter result in two free throws for the opposition.
NBA and NCAAB also differ in dimensions of the court, that is, some parts of it. For instance, the key (or the free throw lane) is 12 feet wide in the NCAA basketball. In NBA, the width of the key is 16 feet.
The length of the 3-point line is also different. In NCAAB, the distance from the center of the basket and the 3-point line is 22’1¾”. In NBA, the distance is 23’9”.
Every year in late March/early April, sports fans and bettors alike get to enjoy some incredibly exciting games in the final tournament of the NCAAB. March Madness is made up of a total of 69 matches, played over the course of roughly three weeks. And during this time, you can place a really huge number of bets. But, will your March Madness bets will be successful or not? That is something that depends on many factors, luck included. Lady Luck does play a part, but what’s most important is your knowledge about college basketball.
Even if you have zero experience with college basketball betting, you can quickly get a hang of it. If you start following NCAA basketball early on, you’re bound to become a sort of expert on the subject. But, even if you’re a bit late and the regular season is near its end, there’s no need to panic. The thing with college basketball is that teams usually only start showing their true quality (or the lack of it) in the later stages of the regular season.
And it’s no surprise why that is the case – everyone is giving their utmost to get into March Madness. But, only the very best college basketball teams will actually end up playing in the tournament. The performance of a team in the last couple of weeks of the regular season can give you a really good insight into how well they’re going to play in March Madness. Of course, only if they do grab themselves a spot in the tournament.
Another good advice is to watch out for injury news regarding the best NCAA players. In college basketball, there is a ginormous difference in quality between the best and mediocre players. That’s not something that NBA fans might be used to. In the elite basketball league, even the worst player has something to give to his team. That said, an NCAAB team can get into real problems if their crucial player gets injured. In the NBA, not so much. Almost every team in the NBA has at least a few players to step up if their biggest superstar is unavailable.
The final advice we have for you when March Madness is concerned is not to mind the odds too much. If a team is labeled as a huge underdog by the bookmaker, it doesn’t mean that the team will lose. This is a tournament in which every team is a potential favorite. Instead of letting the odds guide you, let your reason take the wheel.
Picks & Predictions for 2019-20 Season
March Madness odds aside, March Madness picks and predictions is where it’s at. After all, you aren’t going to be collecting anything without the winners, no matter the odds. You know there are going to be upsets. You know the mid-majors will play tough and that Duke and Kentucky will go far.
And what about the winner of the previous March Madness? Virginia Cavaliers won the NCAA Tournament Championship last year for the first time in this school’s history. They did it mostly thanks to Kyle Guy, a shooting guard who’s been fabulous that entire season, only to put a cherry on the top with unforgettable performances in March Madness. For that, he was crowned the Most Outstanding Player a.k.a. the MOP. The bad news for Virginia Cavaliers is that Guy has moved to Sacramento Kings, with whom he’s signed a two-year professional contract.
Another team to watch out for is Texas Tech. They lost the title last time to the Cavaliers and are now looking to put things straight. It’s pretty much the same case with Michigan State and Auburn, the other two teams that played in last season’s Final Four of March Madness.
Of course, we mustn’t forget the UCLA Bruins, the team with the most titles in NCAA March Madness. With 11 trophies in the cupboard, this college is always a favorite for adding another title to the collection.
March Madness Headlines
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