March Madness Betting Odds

Ultimate March Madness Betting Guide. Learn betting strategies for a profitable tournament season. Perfect bracket contests are for chumps! Read on.

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April 2, 2018 11:00 pm March Madness Betting - Top 25 Teams
Teams Odds $100 Wins
1. Villanova (1)
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-110$90.91
2. Michigan(3)
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+250$250
3. Kansas (1)
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+350$350
4. Loyola Chicago (11)
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+850$850
Odds feed last modified: 03/31/2018 17:40:12 Eastern

Chapters

  1. Bracket Contests Suck
  2. Best Bets
  3. Best Buzzer Beaters Video
  4. Betting Tips
  5. History
  6. Tables/Reference
  7. Live March Madness Odds – Tap Here
2018 March Madness Schedule
Event Site 1st Game
Date
Selection Sunday TBS 6:00PM ET
Live Stream
March 11, 2018
First Four Dayton March 13, 2018
Rounds 1&2 Pittsburgh, Wichita,
Dallas, Boise
March 15, 2018
Rounds 1&2 Charlotte, Detroit
Nashville, San Diego
March 16, 2018
West Regional Los Angeles March 22, 2018
South Regional Atlanta March 22, 2018
Midwest Regional Omaha March 23, 2018
East Regional Boston March 23, 2018
Final Four San Antonio March 31, 2018

Don’t Enter Perfect Bracket Contests

Don’t pay to enter a March Madness bracket contest! It’s a losing investment. And free contests just waste your time. The chances of a perfect March Madness bracket are almost none. Different prediction models reveal daunting odds.

Random pickers face impossible odds, 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,777,808. That’s 1 in 9.2 quintillion, according to Forbes.

Knowledgeable pickers will do better, 1 in 128,000,000,000. That’s 1 in 128 billion, according to Professor Jeff Bergen of Depaul University. He describes the calculation in this video.

FiveThirtyEight modeled predictions off the 2015 tournament field. Odds narrowed to 1 in 1,610,543,269. That’s still 1 in 1.6 million for highly capable sports handicappers!

Warren Buffet, the oracle of Omaha, famously offered $1 Billion to any Berkshire Hathaway employee with a perfect bracket. A consummate numbers man, Buffet knew he would never pay. And he was right!

You’re more likely to be killed by a vending machine than predict a perfect bracket. Find out other more likely occurrences in our odds tables below.

How to Win March Madness Betting

Profit from a host of March Madness betting opportunities.

1. Fade The Public Against the Spread

Recreational bettors frequently bet popular teams during March Madness. Lines are ignored. They believe big names like Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky will all have blowout wins. Money flows in for these teams.

Suppose Duke vs. Virginia opens Duke -10. Duke must win by 10 or more points.

First research Virginia’s record against the spread. Check how often they’ve covered as underdogs.

Second check the line. Suppose it’s just moved to Duke -13.5. This indicates the public likes Duke. Remember the sportsbook wants to balance its action. Making it harder for Duke to cover encourages action on Virginia. Should you still follow the public? No!

Take Virginia if they’ve consistently won against the spread. Bet against the public when line moves present an opportunity!

One 2008 bettor discovered a profitable relationship. A 0.5 pt line increase for the favorite with 65% or more public taking the favorite lost against the spread 80% or more. That means he took the underdog ATS to win. Read more here.

Tip
Wait until 30 minutes before tipoff to see which underdogs get action. This is sharp money coming in. Bet with the sharps.

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2. Spread and Total Straight Bets

Carefully shop sportsbook lines. Your efforts will be rewarded!

Identify good total betting opportunities from a sportsbook’s spread and total numbers. See our calculation here. An edge exists if the calculation reveals an inconsistency.

If the projected total is under the sportsbook’s total, bet the under. If the projected total is over the sportsbook’s total, bet the over.

Finding good spread bets isn’t hard if you can handicap college basketball. Look for matchups where the sportsbook’s spread overestimates a favorite’s ability to cover. Here you’ll take the underdog.

Also look for matchups where the sportsbook’s spread underestimates a favorite’s ability to cover. Here you’ll take the favorite. It’s OK to be a chalk eater. A small win is better than a big loss.

Tip
Review each team’s seasonal performance against the spread here.

3. March Madness Prop Bets

Will a #1 seed win the tournament?

  • Yes +120
  • No -160

Those numbers mean Yes bets $120 to win $100. No bets $100 to win $160.

Analyze historical trends and bet smart. Between 1985-2016 a #1 seed has won 61.2%, 19/31 times. It’s not a sure thing. #2 Villanova fans still celebrate upsetting #1 North Carolina 77-74 in 2016. 🙂

But it is more likely than not. 61.2% occurrence over 31 years is somewhat reliable. Bet Yes $120 to win $100.

How many #1 Seeds will make the final four?

  • 0 +450
  • 1 +150
  • 2 +180
  • 3 +500
  • 4 +2000

Through 2017 at least one #1 seed makes the Final Four 40.38% of the time. The bettor will collect $150 for risking $100. Note +450 for 0 teams making the Final Four. That means it is less likely and therefore more risky. Reorder the lines in your head. You’ll see 1 or 2 #1 teams are most likely.

Hoping all 4 #1 seeds make the Final Four? It’s happened once since 1985, 4% of the time. That’s why $100 wins $2,000. That’s a risky longshot.

These props combine three different elements which don’t rely on sportsbook lines.

One is the tournament seeding process. Stay on top of Selection Sunday! Minor rule changes have been made over the years. Understand why teams get top seeds.

Two are historical occurrences discussed above. Some are reliable. Some are not.

Three is each team’s potential regardless of its seed. If a #1 team is over-seeded don’t bet that all 4 #1 seeds will make the Final Four. If a #3 team is under-seeded bet at least 1 #3 team will make the Final Four.

Tip
Review past Final Four appearances by seed. See our table below.

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4. Ignore Early Round #1 and #2 Seed Parlays

Might be worth it: All #1 and #2 win money line 8 team parlay. Not worth it: All #1 win money line 4 team parlay.

No #1 seed has ever lost the first round. A 4 team money line parlay should be easy money, right?

Not if you want to bet $1000 to win $50. It’s nearly a sure thing. But it wastes your bankroll. Most sportsbooks don’t offer money lines for these games.

A #1 and #2 seed 8 team parlay will pay better. This assumes ML odds are available for each game. Sharp books might offer them. Payout could be better, $100 to win $40.

Remember you run the risk of a #2 upset. This has happened! See tables below.

Consider searching your sportsbook’s March Madness prop bets. These obvious winners could be packaged differently with less favorable odds. Don’t bet them blindly.

Tip
Stick to early round straight bets or lower seed parlays. Oddsmakers are well aware which teams are likely to win. Obvious winning bets will pay nothing and tie up bank roll.

Best March Madness Buzzer Beaters

It ain’t over till it’s over!

March Madness Betting Tips

  1. Refresh your bankroll before the tournament begins. Deposit early to avoid last minute credit card processing glitches.
  2. Don’t take March Madness sportsbook bonuses if they’ll hurt your profit potential. Bonus play through requirements don’t justify the headache. This is another way sportsbooks claw back profit from recreational bettors.
  3. Shop college basketball lines at multiple sportsbooks. SB3 has live odds here.
  4. Search for under-seeded parlay opportunities during early rounds. #1 and #2 team parlays will not have favorable money line odds. Look at teams seeded #4-#12.
  5. Don’t ignore good prop bets. Some are favorable to savvy bettors. Always visit your sportsbook’s prop bet page before March Madness begins.

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NCAA D1 Basketball Tournament History

The first NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament took place in 1939. Seeding began in 1979. Tournament format has changed over the years with gradual inclusion of more teams. 68 teams have participated since 2011.

32 teams receive automatic bids if they are conference champions. 36 additional teams are picked on Selection Sunday. The selection committee is comprised of 10 members serving 5 year terms.

Seeds are determined in sets of 4. Teams 60-68 must play-in to the tournament for seeds between 11-16 depending on selection committee ranking. These equally seeded teams, or “teams on the bubble”, battle each other for an automatic tournament berth.

In 2012 it was revealed the committee ranks teams 1 to 68. They assess the likelihood a team can win the tournament. Despite these expert predictions, the occasional Cinderella team has lasted longer than expected.

Most games are nationally televised. TV audiences for the Final Four are second only to the Super Bowl in annual viewership. This makes March Madness Betting particularly exciting. Popular sports commentators like Dick Vitale, known for his energy, insight and voluble banter have made their careers on March Madness. Vitale famously exclaimed, “It’s Awesome, Baby!”.

March Madness Betting Tables and Reference

More Likely Than a Perfect March Madness Bracket
What Odds
Killed by a falling coconut 1 in 250 million
Killed by a vending machine 1 in 112 million
Naturally having quintuplets 1 in 60 million
Killed by a shark 1 in 3.7 million
Struck by lightning this year 1 in 700,000
Royal flush in first poker hand 1 in 649,740
Having Conjoined Twins 1 in 115,300
Pogo stick injury requiring ER 1 in 200,000
Dating a Supermodel 1 in 88,000
Dating a millionaire 1 in 216

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NCAA Div I Men’s Basketball Tournament Final Four Teams 1985-2017
+ Taps out more teams
Year Winning Team Runner Up Final Four Final Four
2017 N. Carolina #1 Gonzaga #1 Oregon #3 South Carolina #7
2016 Villanova #2 N. Carolina #1 Oklahoma #2 Syracuse #10
2015 Duke #1 Wisconsin #1 Kentucky #1 Michigan St. #7
2014 Connecticut #7 Kentucky #8 Florida #1 Wisconsin #2
2013 Louisville #1 Michigan #4 Wichita St. #9 Syracuse #4
2012 Kentucky #1 Kansas #2 Louisville #4 Ohio St. #2
2011 UConn #3 Butler #8 Kentucky #4 VCU #11
2010 Duke #1 Butler #5 West Virginia #2 Michigan St. #5
2009 N. Carolina #1 Michigan St. #2 Villanova #3 UConn #1
2008 Kansas #1 Memphis #1 N. Carolina #1 UCLA #1
2007 Florida #1 Ohio St. #1 UCLA #2 Georgetown #2
2006 Florida #3 UCLA #2 George Mason #11 LSU #4
2005 N. Carolina #1 Illinois #1 Michigan St. #5 Louisville #4
2004 UConn #2 Ga. Tech #3 Duke #1 Oklahoma St. #2
2003 Syracuse #3 Kansas #2 Texas #1 Marquette #3
2002 Maryland #1 Indiana #5 Kansas #1 Oklahoma #2
2001 Duke #1 Arizona #2 Maryland #3 Michigan St. #1
2000 Michigan St. #1 Florida #5 Wisconsin #8 N. Carolina #8
1999 UConn #1 Duke #1 Ohio St. #4 Michigan St. #1
1998 Kentucky #2 Utah #3 Stanford #3 N. Carolina #1
1997 Arizona #4 Kentucky #1 N. Carolina #1 Minnesota #1
1996 Kentucky #1 Syracuse #4 Umass #1 Miss. St. #5
1995 UCLA #1 Arkansas #2 Oklahoma St #4 N. Carolina #2
1994 Arkansas #1 Duke #2 Arizona #2 Florida #3
1993 N. Carolina #1 Michigan #1 Kansas #2 Kentucky #1
1992 Duke #1 Michigan #6 Indiana #2 Cincinnati #4
1991 Duke #1 Kansas #3 UNLV #1 N. Carolina #2
1990 UNLV #1 Duke #3 Georgia Tech #4 Arkansas #4
1989 Michigan #3 Seton Hall #3 Illinois #1 Duke #2
1988 Kansas #6 Oklahoma #1 Duke #2 Arizona #1
1987 Indiana #1 Syracuse #2 UNLV #1 Providence #6
1986 Louisville #2 Duke #1 LSU #11 Kansas #1
1985 Villanova #8 Georgetown #1 Memphis St. #2 St. John’s #1
Seed Performance Through All Tournament Rounds 1985-2017
(Exs. 94.0% #2 make 2nd Round. 87.0% #1 make Sweet 16)
+ Taps out more Rounds
# 2ND 16 8 4 Final Champ
1 100.0% 87.0% 69.6% 40.4% 23.4% 14.8%
2 94.0% 63.9% 47.3% 22.2% 10.7% 4.1%
3 84.0% 50.4% 24.2% 10.9% 7.0% 3.5%
4 80.0% 46.4% 15.8% 10.3% 2.6% 0.8%
5 64.0% 33.3% 6.3% 4.7% 1.9% 0.0%
6 64.0% 33.3% 11.0% 2.3% 1.5% 0.8%
7 61.0% 17.7% 6.9% 1.5% 0.8% 0.8%
8 50.0% 9.5% 6.4% 4.0% 2.4% 0.8%
9 50.0% 4.0% 1.6% 0.8% 0.0% 0.0%
10 39.0% 18.3% 6.4% 0.8% 0.0% 0.0%
11 36.0% 14.8% 4.7% 2.4% 0.0% 0.0%
12 36.0% 15.5% 0.8% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
13 20.0% 4.6% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
14 16.0% 1.6% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
15 6.0% 0.8% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
16 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Seeds Advancing Past Round 1 1985-2017
# WINS LOSSES WIN %
1 128 0 100%
2 120 8 94%
3 107 21 84%
4 102 26 80%
5 82 46 64%
6 82 46 64%
7 78 50 61%
8 64 64 50%
9 64 64 50%
10 50 78 39%
11 46 82 36%
12 46 82 36%
13 26 102 20%
14 21 107 16%
15 8 120 6%
16 0 128 0%

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Seeds Advancing Past Round 2 1985-2017
# WINS LOSSES WIN %
1 111 17 87%
2 81 39 68%
3 64 42 60%
4 58 43 57%
5 43 39 52%
6 43 40 52%
7 23 55 29%
8 12 52 19%
9 5 59 8%
10 24 27 47%
11 19 27 41%
12 20 26 43%
13 6 20 23%
14 2 19 10%
15 1 7 13%
16 0 0 0%
Seeds Advancing Past Sweet 16 1985-2017
# WINS LOSSES WIN %
1 89 22 80%
2 60 21 74%
3 31 34 48%
4 20 39 34%
5 8 35 19%
6 14 28 33%
7 9 14 39%
8 8 4 67%
9 2 3 40%
10 8 15 35%
11 6 13 32%
12 1 19 5%
13 0 6 0%
14 0 2 0%
15 0 1 0%
16 0 0 0%
Seeds Advancing Past Elite 8 1985-2017
# WINS LOSSES WIN %
1 52 37 58%
2 28 32 47%
3 14 17 45%
4 13 7 65%
5 6 2 75%
6 3 11 21%
7 2 7 22%
8 5 3 63%
9 1 1 50%
10 1 7 13%
11 3 3 50%
12 0 1 0%
13 0 0 0%
14 0 0 0%
15 0 0 0%
16 0 0 0%

References


https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/08/24/these-extremely-rare-things-are-more-likely-happen-you-than-winning-powerball-jackpot/pq0VeHn5PpAWkJhRP310nK/story.html
https://www.printyourbrackets.com/final-four-appearances-by-seed.html
https://www.betfirm.com/seeds-national-championship-odds/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NCAA_Division_I_Men%27s_Basketball_Tournament
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NCAA_basketball_tournament_selection_process
https://www.thoughtco.com/march-madness-statistics-3126162
https://www.vegas.com/gaming/gaming-tips/betting-glossary/
https://www.covers.com/postingforum/post01/showmessage.aspx?spt=40&sub=100705163
https://www.thoughtco.com/march-madness-statistics-3126162
https://www.teamrankings.com/ncb/trends/ats_trends/
https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/ncaa-basketball/march-madness-betting-101-why-you-should-fade-public/70095
https://www.sportsbookreview.com/forum/handicapper-think-tank/64349-fading-public-march-madness.html
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-odds-of-a-perfect-march-madness-bracket/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertszczerba/2015/03/17/bracketology-101-picking-a-perfect-bracket-is-actually-easier-than-you-think/#1e3bb0482abd
http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-odds-youll-fill-out-a-perfect-bracket/
https://www.si.com/college-basketball/2017/03/12/perfect-ncaa-bracket-odds