2024 March Madness Bracket Betting

Learn more about March Madness Bracket betting. Our helpful guide explains how to bet on the March Madness bracket. First, we’ll explain what the March Madness bracket is, then we’ll suggest some easy bracket bets, and finally a few strategies to consider before placing wager. When you’re ready to place a wager, check out our recommended college basketball betting sites for this year’s tournament.

Be sure to review our exclusive March Madness and Final Four betting pages to get the latest tournament odds and upcoming matchups. Also, have a look at our college basketball betting guide, explaining how point spread, total, and moneyline bets work.

March Madness Bracket Betting

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Table of Contents

  1. March Madness Bracket
  2. Bracket Betting
  3. How to Bet
  4. Strategies
  5. FAQs
  6. Resources

March Madness Bracket

Printable Bracket

Men’s tournament Printable Bracket – Tap Here

The March Madness Bracket is a visual representation of the tournament’s single-elimination format. A tournament bracket contains a set of games to determine which team or teams advance to the next round. Single-elimination means a team is out on a loss. They can only advance on a win. This differs from double-elimination tournaments, where a team must lose twice to be eliminated.

The NCAA tournament selection committee seeds 68 teams prior to the start of the tournament. Tournament action culminates in the Final Four, named for the last four teams comprised of the bracket’s regional champions. Two national semifinals determine the finalists, who ultimately compete for the National Championship in the tournament’s final game.

Tournament Selection

32 Division 1 conference tournament winners automatically qualify for March Madness. Conference tournaments typically take place two weeks before the national tournament. The NCAA selection committee awards another 36 teams “at-large berths”. The committee finalizes and announces the bracket during a nationally televised event known as Selection Sunday.

How Teams Advance

The March Madness tournament bracket consists of 68 teams seeded #1 – #16 in four regional brackets. The NCAA uses a single-elimination tournament format. A team advances to the next round on a win. The team is out on any loss.

The tournament’s seven rounds take place over three successive weeks. Action begins with eight teams competing in the First Four. The four winners of this stage then join the other 60 teams to compete in the first and second rounds.

Following the results of the second round, 16 winners advance to the second weekend to compete in the regional semi-finals and finals – also known as the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight.

After the Elite Eight, the four remaining teams advance to the national semi-final held on the tournament’s third and final weekend. This stage is collectively referred to as the “Final Four“. The two semi-final winners then compete in the national final. The winning team is crowned national champion.

National Invitational Tournament

The National Invitational Tournament is made up of 32 teams that didn’t make it to the National Basketball Tournament.

The top-two ranked teams from six conferences that didn’t make the National Tournament automatically qualify based on their NET rankings. These six conferences include the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC.

That means a total of 12 teams get automatic NIT berths. The NIT Committee fills the remaining 20 berths with top teams from around the country.

The NIT is played at regional sites around the nation from March to April. Its Final Four traditionally takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Bracket Betting

You can bet on the March Madness bracket using common straight bets. We actually advise avoiding risky parlays and props. A knowledgeable bettor can increase their chances of winning with basic risk management and common basketball handicapping techniques.

Single-Game Bets

Single-game bets are straight wagers where you’re picking a side to win. The most common college basketball single-game bets have two sides. Occasionally, you may see a three-sided moneyline.

Point Spread

The point spread allows you to wager on a team to “cover the spread” at close to even-money. High-seeded teams will have to cover more points than a low-seeded team.

For example, suppose you bet on #1 Duke as a -14.5 point favorite against #16 Nevada. In this case, Duke would need to beat Nevada by at least 15 points for your bet to win. On the other hand, if Nevada won outright or lost by 14 or fewer points, Nevada bettors would win.

Total

The point total – also knows as the Over/Under – is nice and simple. Bookmakers will set a line around the median number of points expected to be scored in the game. Players decide whether the final point total will be over or under this number.

Let’s say the total for San Diego and Alabama is 139 points with the over -110 and the under -110. Those who bet over risk $110 to win $100 that the final point total will be 140 or more. Those who bet under risk $110 to win $100 that the final point total will be 138 or less. If the final point total is 139, all bets push and the sportsbook will refund you wager.

In general, these bets are usually given at odds of close to even regardless of which side of the over/under line you take.

Moneyline

A moneyline bet means you’re backing one team to win outright. For example, consider Indiana -200 vs Iowa +160 during a second round tournament matchup.

Minus moneylines indicate how much you risk to win $100. If you bet on Indiana, you’ll risk $200 to win $100. Plus moneylines indicate how much you win if you risk $100. If you back Iowa instead, you’ll risk $100 to win $160.

The moneyline is probably the simplest way to wager on a March Madness game’s outcome.

How to Bet on March Madness Brackets

Time needed: 3 minutes

How to bet on March Madness Brackets

  1. Open a new sports betting account.

    Review our list of College Basketball betting sites. Each sportsbook offers many ways to bet on the Kansas Jayhawks. Make sure to enter all your personal details correctly. Don’t forget to add your bonus code.

  2. Visit the sportsbook’s cashier, banking, or deposit page.

    Navigate to the sportsbook’s deposit page. Use your Visa card or MasterCard, or other methods like Paypal.

  3. Tap to the sportsbook’s College Basketball page, look for tournament games.

    Navigate to the sportsbook’s College Basketball page. Next, look for live or upcoming Tournament matchups from either the D1 National Basketball Tournament or the National Invitational Tournament.

  4. Choose your bet and place a wager.

    Choose a point spread, total, or moneyline bet and then use the funds you deposited to place a wager. The sportsbook will pay your winnings or deduct a losing wager from your account balance after your bet has been graded.

March Madness Bracket Betting Strategies

There are a number of different strategies you can implement to improve your chances of winning when it comes to March Madness bracket betting.

Balanced Championship Teams

It may sound obvious, but NCAA winners are almost always balanced teams. Including the 2023 edition, only one champion over the last 18 tournaments has ranked outside the top 20 in offensive efficiency and none have ranked outside the top 20 in defensive efficiency.

Therefore, you’ll want to steer clear of high seeds that are lacking in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Instead, it’s best to opt for balanced outfits across the court.

Choose Experience

March Madness winners tend have experienced rosters and highly experienced senior players. For example, the 2022 Kansas side had no freshmen in their starting line-up, with four junior starters and their best player a senior.

The 2021 champions Baylor Bears had all juniors and seniors in their starting line-up. Moreover, four of the starters on the winning 2019 Virginia Cavaliers team were juniors or seniors.

It’s the same story when it comes to coaches. Few inexperienced coaches have ever won a national championship. Every single coach – except for one – that has won the championship from 1998 to 2018 was either already in the Basketball Hall of Fame, or well on their way to be inducted soon.

The only winning coach over the last 10 seasons who didn’t have a substantial track record was UConn’s Kevin Ollie. It’s worth noting he had just inherited a strong program from legendary coach Jim Calhoun.

Teams from Top Conferences

Teams that make it to March Madness from strong college basketball conferences naturally fare better than those from weaker ones.

As of 2023, the Atlantic Coast is the strongest conference with their teams winning 17 championships and finishing runners-up on 15 occasions. The Pac-12 is only just behind with 16 championships and six runners-up.

Then we have the Big Ten and SEC tied for the third-most championships with 11 each, although the Big Ten has 16 runners-up and SEC has only six. Lesser contributors include the American Athletic Conference with six championship winners, while the Big 12 and Big East have just five each.

Stick With Top Seeds

The higher your seed, theoretically the more likely your team will win.

From 1985 to 2022 a huge 24 of the 37 championship winners have been #1 seeds – a healthy 64.86%. Another 13 have been runners-up, meaning one of the final two teams has always been a #1 seed.

Compare this to #2 seeds, who have produced five winners and eight runners-up in that same period, with #3 seeds winning the championship on four occasions and coming runners-up seven times.

D1 Men’s National Basketball Tournament Odds

The following are the latest odds to win the Division 1 Men’s National Basketball Tournament. Each team’s odds of winning the tournament can be helpful when sizing up a March Madness bracket bet.

2023-24 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Odds

Team
BetRivers Sports Betting BetRivers BetMGM Sports Betting BetMGM
UConn
-230
Bet
-190
Bet
Purdue
+190
Bet
+210
Bet
Alabama
+1800
Bet
+1800
Bet
NC State
+2000
Bet
+1600
Bet

FAQs

What is the March Madness Bracket?

The March Madness Bracket is a visual representation of the tournament’s single-elimination format. A tournament bracket contains a set of games to determine which team or teams advance to the next round. Single-elimination means a team is out on a loss. They can only advance on a win.

How does a team advance through the National Basketball Tournament?

The National Basketball tournament bracket consists of 68 teams seeded #1 – #16 in four regional brackets. The NCAA uses a single-elimination tournament format. A team advances to the next round on a win. The team is out on any loss.

Which teams participate in the National Invitational Tournament?

The National Invitational Tournament is made up of 32 teams that didn’t make it to the National Basketball Tournament. The top-two remaining teams from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC automatically qualify based on their NET rankings. The NIT Committee fills the remaining 20 berths with top teams from around the country.

What are the most common March Madness bracket bets?

The most common March Madness bracket bets include the point spread, over-under total, and the moneyline. Each of these bets are also known as straight bets.

What is the best March Madness bracket betting strategy?

One of the best bracket betting strategies is to bet on teams from conferences producing the most tournament winners, like the ACC, Pac-12, Big Ten, and SEC. In this case, we advise taking these teams to win on the moneyline. n

Tournament Resources

March Madness

Final Four

College Basketball Betting Resources

  • College Basketball Betting Guide – Learn how to bet on college basketball with point spreads, totals, and moneylines, plus exotic bets like parlays and prop bets.
  • College Basketball Betting Sites – We’ve analyzed and reviewed the best legal sportsbooks for college basketball betting.
  • College Basketball Odds – Point spread, total, and moneyline odds for upcoming College Basketball games, including March Madness and the Final Four.
  • College Basketball Prop Bets – See prop betting lines and odds for upcoming College basketball games, including March Madness and the Final Four.
  • College Basketball Futures Odds – Learn more about how to bet on college basketball futures. Review odds to win the National Championship and key D1 college basketball conferences, plus odds to win the John R. Wooden Award.
  • Final Four Betting Odds – The latest Final Four futures odds, men’s basketball tournament schedule, matchup odds, and prop bets.
  • March Madness Betting Odds – Review odds to win the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, then learn how to bet on the tournament with the latest matchup lines and odds.
  • Basketball Halftime Middling – Learn how to identify halftime middling opportunities that can help you make money betting on college basketball.
  • College Basketball Conference Futures Odds – See odds to win college basketball conferences, including the SEC, Pac-12, American, ACC, WCC, Big 10, Big East, and Big 12.
  • Undefeated College Basketball Teams – See which teams are still undefeated in the current regular season.
  • Early Season College Basketball Betting Tips – The first couple weeks of college basketball present a unique opportunity to get an edge as oddsmakers try to get their lines right. Learn a couple quick ways to improve your NCAA basketball handicapping techniques.