One of the most exciting times of the year is when March Madness arrives.
It’s a betting wonderland as well. Plus, it’s a big tournament, featuring the best teams in the world, in a do-or-die scenario. No room for error, no margin to have an off night.
What’s not to love? Even the rounds’ names are awesome. In case you haven’t got the grasp yet, we love March Madness.
Putting wagers on it is one of the bettors’ favorite things to do. Plus, by betting online, you have bonuses, promotions, and lots of sportsbooks with competitive odds.
There are too many advantages for bettors. If you get on a good streak, you can leave March Madness with a big profit.
Now, college basketball betting is not an exact science, but by reading this guide, you can put yourself in a good position to leave with lots of dimes in your pocket.
Let’s get right to it.
Every single year, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball sets a tournament for the 68 best teams in the United States to decide who is the champion.
All 68 programs are located within four different regions of the tournament. North, South, East, and West.
To get into the tournament, every Division I team plays in one of the 32 different conferences. So the 32 winners of each conference get a spot in the tournament automatically.
The remaining seeds are awarded at the discretion of the committee. When the teams are selected with bids to the NCAA Tournament, they are all provided with a numerical ranking.
These seeds determine which teams play each other. Each region has its own seeds.
It all starts with Selection Sunday, where the Selection Committee reveals the March Madness bracket. The whole tournament consists of a total of seven rounds. It all starts with the First Four, then it progresses through the First and Second Round.
Then the Sweet 16 comes around, followed by the Elite Eight, the Final Four, and the National Championship.
Now that we’ve cleared how March madness works, let’s take a look at the favorites, contenders, and longshots for the upcoming season.
Gonzaga Bulldogs – The Bulldogs finished last year with a record of 31-1, and 15-0 in the WCC, which ranked them as the best team in the nation. They lost the final in a devastating fashion, preventing them from winning the whole thing undefeated.
Gonzaga will have Drew Timme back, and he was key to having one of the most efficient offenses of all time. They led the nation in points per game and had studs all around. Even if it sounds crazy, the chances are this year’s Gonzaga is even better than their last season’s team.
Alongside Timme -who is a Wooden Award candidate already- the Bulldogs have Anton Watson and Andrew Nembhard to go ham on other teams.
Combine that with having one of the best-recruiting classes in the history of Gonzaga, and you have a juggernaut.
In essence, they have all the right pieces to win it all. A potential Player of the Year and two of the highest-rated freshmen in the whole nation.
UCLA Bruin – A perennial top program, UCLA comes off a somewhat down year. They were fourth in the Pac-12 with a 22-10 record. However, they turned it on once March Madness began. One of the best Cinderella stories in recent memory, going all the way from the First Four to the Final Four.
Now, they come as one of the top contenders, point-blank. They only lost two players from last year’s roster, the chemistry is in for them to make major impacts. Pair that with a couple of elite newcomers, including a five-star SF and a top 10 ranked recruit.
A matter of fact is the Bruins have the team, the depth, the chemistry, and high hopes for a deep run in the NCAAB season.
Michigan Wolverines – The Wolverines were first in the Big Ten. The reality is that HC Juwan Howard has done a terrific job since getting the job in 2019. After five of their players turned pro, the Wolverines had to act to keep at the top.
They brought a consensus top 5 recruiting class. Consisting of two five-stars and three four-star recruits, the Wolverines will be back.
Ian Burns is a 6’6’’ guard with a top-tier three-point jump shot that can bury any team. However, he is coming back from an awful ankle injury, so his minutes shouldn’t be much. Coming from the bench, he can be a difference-maker.
Another name to look at is Isaiah Barnes. The wing is a phenomenal athlete, capable of punishing the rim and also shooting at a mid and long-distance range. A possible 20-point scorer, Barnes is a playmaker in his own right.
Villanova Wildcats – The almighty and powerful, it seems like the Big East is Villanova’s territory all the way. The only thing that stood in the way of Villanova’s run last season was the fact that they had to face Gonzaga.
They have one of the best point guards in the NCAA with Collin Gillespie. A floor general, having Gillespie back is pretty much having a 20-point scorer and a 10-assist maker.
The core of this team is good enough to win the Big East with ease. Villanova has his sights already in the March Madness tournament, where they aim to go past their Sweet 16 exit last year.
Purdue Boilermakers – Awful name aside, Purdue is a threat this year. Talk about a team with the possibility of leaping the competition. They had a top season, even though the spotlight wasn’t put on them. They were a no.4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
They choked, though. A First Round exit was so disappointing for a team who did things magnificently during the regular season. The chip on their shoulder will still be carried by F Trevion Williams, who averaged 15.5 points and 9.1 rebounds last year.
The core gets filled with G Sasha Stefanovic, who is a three-point machine. If he finds consistency, he can be a game-changer.
Duke Blue Devils – It’s the final year of head coach Mike Krzyzewski. For Duke’s faithful, a hero. For the rest of the NCAA Basketball programs, a hated villain. Many questions arise as to how Coach K will handle his final season. To end on a high, they welcome three five-star recruits. This includes Paolo Banchero, whose talent is unheard of. An absolute freak of nature.
The offense might not be as explosive as other generations of the Blue Devils, but their defense will be the rock they rely on. They are stacked with defenders that seem to be made on a computer or something.
AJ Griffin, Trevor Keels, Mark Williams, and Theo John should extinguish the reputation of Duke being soft. Seeing this is the farewell year, the motivation is sky-high, and Coach K will want to say goodbye with another championship.
Kansas Jayhawks – It was a tough last season for blue blood programs. Kansas was no exception to this, being stomped in the Round of 32 of March Madness. Bill Self is still in charge and Kansas will always be in the conversation as long as that happens.
Having some key returners like G Ochai Agbaji, and Fs Jalen Wilson, and David McCormack, the Jayhawks are seeking a redemption season.
They have only won one conference title in the last three years, and the offense never fully exploded. Something has to change and knowing Bill Self’s credentials, something will.
Texas Longhorns – With only two starters coming back to play this season, the Longhorns went and found new talent elsewhere. One of the very high profile was the Marcus Carr move from Minnesota. He averaged 19.4 points and 4.9 assists, as well as 1.3 steals per outing. Carr could be a difference-maker for Texas, no doubt.
They are fresh off a 3-seed in the March Madness Tournament. Now, their stellar season was put on a massive shadow when Abilene Christian sent them into a forgotten realm in the big dance.
Now, with a new and elite head coach like Chris Beard, the Longhorns should play in a higher gear. A new dimension of basketball. It’s a solid roster, with a top-tier coach, if this team finds discipline, they’ll be a team to watch.
Kentucky Wildcats – Kentucky had a bad break last season. They started slow and their schedule was just too heavy to handle. The context for their season was an uphill battle they could not withstand. Injuries to star players Keion Brooks and Terrence Clarke made it even tougher. In the end, they had their worst season in 94 years.
But now, the Wildcats have a roster that is ready to compete. They’re loaded. The Big Blue Nation is looking to get back into the promised land.
This should be a season where C Oscar Tshiebwe has a monster season dominating the paint. Kentucky should surround his talents with good game plans and let him shine. That’s how they become relevant again.
Memphis Tigers – The legendary Penny Hardaway told us Memphis would win a chip before 2020. He was not right in the time-lapse, but he was right in pointing his direction to the Tigers. This team is borderline ridiculous in talent. That’s why their expectations are skyrocketing, it’s an insane program.
Memphis’ defense is fierce. Their mission is to make the opponents’ life a living hell all game long. They protect the rim, they suffocate at the perimeter. They know how to plan an upper-class defense game to game. They have the hype behind them, the upside, and a season to explode.
Alabama Crimson Tide – Nimari Burnett and James Rojas already tore their ACLs and will miss the season. That is criminal to the Crimson Tide expectations. This sends Bama to a downward spiral before the season even commences.
Now, it’s on head coach Nate Oats to see how he fares and adjusts throughout the season with all these limitations.
They still have a collection of talented guards, and they can exploit a lot of defenses. Playing isolation basketball won’t get you that far, though. Their biggest challenges are adjusting the rotations and avoiding fatigue due to their injuries. The saying goes that seasons are a marathon and not a sprint. But in this case, they have to be able to sustain their form and then sprint at the March Madness tournament.
Illinois Fighting Illini – The Fighting Illini made their name proud as they returned to the basketball pinnacle. They finished fourth in KenPom and enjoyed their best season in ages.
Falling to state enemies in Loyola was a bitter end to an otherwise excellent season. Illinois’ resurgence now means they need to keep up and stay relevant.
They will fight for another top seed when the NCAA Tournament comes along. They have a rock-solid floor, a talent pool capable of going far in this season, and why not? They should be able to compete in the Big Ten and probably win the title.
Ohio State Buckeye – Why wouldn’t you believe in the Buckeyes? Chris Holtmann is a brilliant head coach who has eight consecutive seasons of 20+ wins. He has to manage a veteran roster led by EJ Liddell, who is an offensive force to be reckoned with.
The Buckeyes will make noise yes or yes. They brought Cedric Russell who is a prolific three-point shooter. He is another offensive powerhouse that will put up 17-20 points per game.
They are somewhat undersized, but they are disciplined. Also, many players are returning, so they have the experience of overcoming difficult situations.
Baylor Bears – This team had one of the best trios in the NCAAB last year. But the sooner Baylor knows they don’t have that and stop living under those expectations, the better.
Davion Mitchell, Jared Butler, and MaCio Teague, are gone. They brought G James Akinjo as a replacement. He has a tough act to follow, but he can ball. If he can get consistency in the interior, Akinjo might just be what the Bears needed.
Despite most of their talent leaving to pasture new, the Bears are less talented but way deeper in their roster quality. Still, to win you need talent and great coaching, so Scott Drew has a big task ahead of the 2021-2022 season.
They didn’t recruit much, and that’s a concern. Can a deep roster get them to glory? Well, it helps, but they need more.
Florida State Seminoles – Talk about a program that lost their major talents. The Seminoles have lots of work to do. However, they have Leonard Hamilton as their head coach.
This means he is an old-school, hard worker, that will coach to the best of his abilities and rejuvenate, in classic Benjamin Button fashion.
In his own words, if you give him athletes and a towering length team, he will give you a top 20 team in return. Well, Hamilton will need to bring his A-Game if he wants the Seminoles to make some noise once the big dance arrives.
To handicap March Madness, there are a lot of things you must take into consideration. After all, it’s a massive tournament that gathers the eyes -and money- of thousands of people.
This is why we have aligned some tips for you to use or consider when handicapping March Madness.
Our first handicapping tip is to go away from what the public bettors think. Fading the public has its pros and cons, but in March Madness, it can be really useful.
The number of public bets in the big dance is way superior to the ones during the NCAAB regular season. In other words, the interest in college basketball gets its peak when March comes as the setting in the equation.
Since there are more bets and more money, the public affects how the lines move in a more drastic way than they would normally do. The audience will usually lean towards the favorites.
You, as the wise, savvy bettor that you are, should wait for the right time to get their bets submitted. This way, you have the best odds and therefore you boost your winnings.
Do not, ever, fall into the trap of weighing overall records in higher regard than they should. Look, the overall record matters, but how the team is playing coming into the big dance is more important.
Also, look at how the teams perform in their conference tournaments to get the March Madness spots.
The ones that played hard will get into March Madness fatigued, tired, physically and mentally. So yeah, maybe they got to the tournament, but fatigue will take its toll.
These two are essential to a team’s success in March Madness. The reason these areas are so important are obvious to some, but we will highlight them, anyway.
For one, plenty of the teams don’t know each other or haven’t pitted themselves against each other in the regular season.
Hence, offenses might not translate their effectiveness when they face physical defenses. Good perimeter defense and not giving away second chances by getting rebounds are solid stats to consider when betting.
Of course, in a big betting event like March Madness, you will find lots of different bets when you enter the sportsbooks. Here, we will detail to you the most popular March Madness betting types.
The spread is the most popular form of betting on March Madness. These are handicaps given by the oddsmakers to both teams. For example, the favored team will have a -6.5 spread, hence giving the underdog a +6.5 spread to play with.
This would mean the underdog bettors will aim for their team to win or lose by no more than seven points. For the favorites, they would have to win by seven points or more to get the payout.
The over/under bets are famous on NCAAB. This is betting on the number of points scored in the game by both teams combined. You choose whether they go over or under the total points projected by the bookmakers.
The purest form of betting. You need to pick who wins the game outright, regardless of the margin of victory.
The favorite will have minus-odds, meaning the amount you have to risk to win $100. The underdog has plus-odds, which is the payout you’ll get based on a $100 wager.
You can bet on who wins March Madness even before the big dance comes around. Even better, futures in NCAAB cover all parts of the tournament. From Sweet 16 to Elite 8, Final Four, and the National Championship.
You can wager on which teams will win each region, all the way to who will be declared the champion.
March Madness is the mecca of live betting. Are we allowed to say it like this? Yes, we can, because it’s true. Bet on every game as it goes on live, and spice it up.
There are strategies to approach March Madness betting, so without further ado, let’s get into it:
Consider traveling guys. We know it’s essentially both teams on the road in March Madness, but some travel more and further than others.
Traveling causes fatigue, less time for preparation, and that is reflected in the odds.
This. Is. Vital. Often overlooked, but crucial to have success. Don’t bet on too many games, don’t bet blindly. Just because it’s a big tournament, it doesn’t mean your bets have to be. Look for betting edges and never bet for the sake of betting.