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.
March Madness Vegas Odds
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.
March Madness Vegas Odds and Betting Guide (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.
NCAAB 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 and lead 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 in 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 Picks & Predictions
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. This is every year, but this is this year.