March Madness Betting Guide

Legal March Madness Sportsbooks For US ResidentsThe NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, also known as March Madness, is a 19-day single-elimination tournament featuring 68 teams and 67 games. It is by far the most wagered-on event in college sports, annually drawing a huge volume of bets. All 67 games feature numerous betting options, from traditional bets on the spread or moneyline to player-specific stat props, as the tournament offers plenty of variety for smart fans to exploit betting odds and profit from. Of course, you don’t actually have to go to Nevada, Atlantic City, or any other sports betting town to enjoy legal March Madness betting. Thanks to online Internet betting sites like Bovada, SportsBetting, and others, you can actually wager on every matchup of the 68-team tournament legally and securely for free, regardless of your individual state’s sports betting laws. Of the estimated 30 million Americans who place bets on March Madness each year, over 95% of them do so at these legal online sportsbooks.

Current Odds To Win 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

With the college basketball season in full swing, odds on who is going to win March Madness are starting to heat up as the tournament gets closer. With top-ranked teams being upset and others showing their dominance, the odds will continue to shift as the season goes on. Currently, Gonzaga is the favorite to win the National Championship and has been since the preseason odds opened.

2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Winner:

  • Gonzaga (#1) +350
  • Arizona (#2) +650
  • Kentucky (#7) +700
  • Auburn (#5) +1200
  • Baylor (#3) +1200
  • Duke (#4) +1200
  • Kansas (#6) +1400
  • Purdue (#8) +1400
  • Texas Tech (#12) +2500
  • Villanova (#11) +2500

College Basketball Betting at Bovada

March Madness Betting Apps

There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of betting shops littering the Internet, but most of these are...litter. They’re either small sportsbooks with no history and no pedigree or they’re outright scams. In either case, it’s an unnecessary risk to place your wagers with anyone but the industry’s top services.

The best USA online sportsbooks for March Madness betting are any of the ones that will accept your money and pay you when you win. Each of the  sites shown below have been around for years, and they’ve all got solid reputations among their tens of millions of US customers. Pick one or several – you can’t go wrong signing up at any of these first-rate sportsbooks.

Bovada Sportsbook  - The Best March Madness Sportsbook

Bovada Sports Betting

Bovada Sports Betting

State Restrictions: ALL STATES - ex. DE, MD, NJ, NV, NY
Welcome Bonus: 50% to $250
Minimum Deposit: $20
Banking Methods:

March Madness betting at Bovada is a world-class experience, and millions of US bettors trust Bovada with their wagers on the Big Dance each year. When you’ve never missed a single March Madness payout, it’s easy to get a reputation among sports betting fans for awesome customer service. New members can even get a $250 Sports Welcome Bonus to put on their favorite teams and brackets. If you deposit with Bitcoin, you can claim a bonus worth up to $5,000 that can be used in both the sportsbook and the casino. BVSBITCOIN will unlock a 50% match bonus up to $250, while BVCBITCOIN150 will reward a 3x redeemable 150% match bonus up to $1,500. Create your account at Bovada sportsbook today!

(Note: Bovada is not available to residents of DE, MD, NV, or NJ at this time.)

SportsBetting Sportsbook  - SportsBetting Sportsbook - A Top March Madness Betting Option

SportsBetting Sports Betting

SportsBetting Logo

State Restrictions: ALL STATES - ex. NJ
Welcome Bonus: 50% to $1,000
Minimum Deposit: $20
Banking Methods:

SportsBetting is without question one of the best sportsbooks in the country, with millions of satisfied sports betting fans from all 50 states. In addition to having one of the best mobile betting sites in the business, SportsBetting also offers the industry’s most comprehensive and varied deposit and withdrawal options to suit every customer’s needs. They even accept bitcoin! In fact, bettors can redeem a 100% cryptocurrency bonus on their first deposit with code 100CRYPTO. The bookmaker will credit your account with an instant bonus of up to $1,000. For the best experience with legal March Madness betting, sign up at SportsBetting now!

Best March Madness Sports Betting Sites

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Past March Madness Winners

Year: Team: Preseason Odds: Pre-Tournament Odds:
2022 Kansas +1400 +900
2021 Baylor +800 +500
2020 No Tournament No Tournament No Tournament
2019 Virginia +1350 +675
2018 Villanova +2700 +570
2017 North Carolina +1900 +535
2016 Villanova +2500 +1500
2015 Duke +900 +1000
2014 Connecticut +6500 +9500
2013 Louisville +700 +450
2012 Kentucky +550 +185
2011 Connecticut +4000 +2500

Biggest March Madness Upsets

March Madness is one of the craziest times of the year for any sports bettors laying action on any game. This is because of all of the upsets and Cinderella runs that have taken place over the years. One thing to note about these upsets is that either someone was either very upset with the favorite losing, or took off a nice chunk from Vegas. Below are some of the notable upsets and March Madness runs that shook the betting world.

2022: #15 St. Peter's "Peacocks" Into The Elite 8

Making a major splash in 2022, the St. Peter's Peacocks were a huge victory to some or a major bankroll killer for others. Starting off their amazing run, St. Peter's beat #2 Kentucky 85-79. Holding control for the entirety of the game, they won as a +1200 underdog and covered the 18-point spread by 24 points! The Round Of 32 proved no problem to St. Peter's, beating #7 Murray State 70-60. St. Peter's was an 8.5-point underdog with +325 odds to win. It didn't stop there, though. Beating #3 Purdue 67-64 in the Sweet 16 (on National Peacock Day), the Peacocks hit +650 odds to win as a 12-point dog. The Peacocks lost by 20 to #8 UNC - the runner up of the 2023 tournament - on their smallest line of the tournament (+8).

2021: #15 Oral Roberts Takes Down #2 Ohio State In Sweet 16 Run

Oral Roberts had the nation backing them up during their 2021 March Madness run. They went into the tournament as a 15 seed and they were tasked with a +15.5-point spread and +950 odds in the first round as they went up against Ohio State. They took care of business in a close matchup 75-72 before going up against 7 seeded Florida. In the game against Florida, they were a hefty underdog once more at +7.5 points and +280 odds before taking them down 81-78. Those $100 bettors that laid action on them in their first two games would have profited $1,230.

2018: #16 UMBC Makes History Over #1 Virginia

The UMBC Retrievers became the first team in the history of college basketball to beat a #1 seed as a #16 seed team. They had an impressive 24-10 season going into the tournaments while Virginia was one of the top teams in the country at the time with just two losses in the regular season. Not only did UMBC make history as the first 16 seed to beat a 1 seed, but they also became the first tournament team to win a game with a +2750 moneyline or more. They also went into the game a whopping 20-point underdog and covered by 41 points as they won the game 74-54.

2013: Dunk City Take Over

The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles were the Cinderella story of the 2013 March Madness Tournament as they made the Sweet 16 as a 15 seed. Making things even more impressive for them was that they took down a dominant Georgetown Hoyas, who were the 15 seed in the tournament. The Eagles went into the game as a 14-point underdog and had +740 odds on the moneyline. They then went on to take down the 7 seeded San Diego State Aztecs as a 7.5-point underdog with +285 moneyline odds before their journey came to an end against the Florida Gators in the Sweet 16.

2006: Patriots Topple UConn For Historic Final Four Run

The George Mason Patriots made betting history in their 2006 March Madness run. Going into the tournament as an 11 seed, not many gave them a chance. In the first round, they had +190 odds to defeat Michigan State, they had +230 odds to take down North Carolina in the Round of 32, they were -140 favorites over Wichita State in the Sweet 16, and were a massive +320 underdog to UConn in the Elite Eight. For those betting in $100 units, if you were to take your winnings from each game the Patriots won and bet on their following game up until the Final Four, you would have profited upwards of $6,800.

1985: Villanova Spoils Georgetown’s Near Perfect Season

The Georgetown Hoyas were seen as a powerhouse of the 1984-85 season as they finished with a near-perfect 35-3 regular-season record. They went into the tournament as a 1 seed in the East bracket and won three of their first four games by double-digits. However, over in the Southeast bracket, Villanova was making noise as an 8 seed taking down 1 seeded Michigan and 2 seeded North Carolina on their way to the Final Four. Many were quick to count out Nova as Georgetown had already beaten them twice in the regular season. The Wildcats went on to defeat the Hoyas 66-64 and win the National Championship. They went into the season with +3000 odds and went into the Final Four at +350.

March Madness Wager Types

College Basketball Betting at BetOnlineBefore you take part in legal March Madness betting, it’s imperative that you understand the basic March Madness wager types. Fortunately, putting money on the tournament is the same general process as betting on any other basketball game or event, and the common bets most people make should be fairly familiar to you. If you aren’t familiar, you’re in luck, because we have constructed this page so that you can get familiar.

Outright Winner

Selecting a team from the futures section can have you winning big on the NCAA Basketball champion. These odds are presented immediately after the conclusion of the previous season and are adjusted throughout the course of the season. If a team gets the attention of the media or goes on an impressive winning streak, you may have missed an opportunity to get on their train of support. Likewise, a team that is struggling will often see their odds reduce, giving you a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of the negative outlook.

Spread

Betting the spread is often noted as the most common betting style across a variety of sports. In college basketball, all you must do is determine who will win the game with the given spread or handicap. The favorite is indicated by a minus sign while the underdog will be represented by a plus sign. A spread of -3.5 means the team would need to win by 4 or more in order to cover the spread. If you were betting on the team who is +3.5, they would have to lose by 1,2, or 3 points (or win the game outright).

Totals

The total points (also known as over/under) is one of the simplest methods to bet. The total refers to the total points scored in the game, and it reflects on both of the teams and how each of them tends to play. Does a team slow the pace or like to run the floor? How well does the team shoot from three against certain types of defenses? Knowing details like this can greatly impact betting the total points, which only requires you to select over or under on the projected total. If the number is whole (not halved) and the final result is equal, all bets will be refunded in what is called a push.

Moneyline

This method is extremely easy but sometimes bettors can be confused by the actual odds presented. A moneyline bet means you think a team will win, regardless of by how much or how many points are scored in the game. The favorites generally have a better chance to win, which is why you must wager more than what you will profit (usually). A team with -140 odds would require you to bet $140 to win $100. Oppositely, an underdog with odds of +125 would require a $100 wager in order to profit $125. Two things to note: The favorite and underdog interact conversely with each other, as you will win more betting on the dog. Also, these are just ratios – sportsbooks will accept action as low as 25 cents in some cases or as much as $1,000.

March Madness Betting Trends

Those that plan on betting on one or more of the many March Madness games that will be played in 2022 can take one major thing into consideration before doing so and that is betting trends. Betting trends help bettors get a better idea of what a team's current status is or even how a team has done in a certain position over the years. In this case, March Madness is the perfect place to look into betting trends on certain matchups.

  • A 15 seed team has never made it beyond the Sweet 16.
  • Only one 16 seed has ever moved on from the first round which happened in 2016.
  • Seeds 13-16 have made nine combined Sweet 16 appearances and have gone 0-9 in those games.
  • 1 Seeded teams have gone 120-19 in the second round.
  • Seeds 8-11 have made the Final Four six times and have gone 0-6.
  • 5 seeds have gone 0-3 in National Championship Games.
  • 9 seeds have gone 72-68 over 8 seeds in the first round.
  • Seeds 1-6 all have a win percentage of over 52% all-time.
  • 8 seeds have a 2.1% chance of making it to the National Championship.
  • 6 seeds have gone 42-46 in the second round.

Selection Criteria For March Madness

The March Madness bracket will be revealed on Sunday, March 13, 2022, in an event known as Selection Sunday. Setting and seeding the bracket is the responsibility of a 10-member committee of athletic directors and conference commissioners representing 10 different conferences. 32 tournament bids automatically go to the NCAA’s 32 Division I conference champions. The other 36 bids are selected from the remaining teams (these bids are referred to as “at-large”). At-large bids are generally the focus of selection controversy, especially toward the bottom end of the tournament, which is referred to as the “bubble”. Committee deliberations occur behind closed doors, and the exact methodology for selecting teams is not public, but we do know about a number of factors that the committee weighs heavily in their selections. Here is an estimate of the most important factors in tournament selection and seeding and their order of importance:

  • Strength of win-loss record (adjusted based on opponent quality)
  • Computer rankings/advanced metrics
  • Subjective analysis and opinion of committee members
  • Record in road games
  • Strength of schedule
  • Strength of nonconference schedule
  • Key injuries or suspensions that impacted results.

The purpose of the committee is to get the best 36 at-large teams in the country, regardless of the prestige of their brand or how impressive their record looks on paper. Part of the process of improving the selection process has been phasing out unfair or unpopular selection criteria, like disproportionately weighting games late in a team’s season. These overhauls have led to an increase in marquee regular-season matchups as scheduling difficult games is now a net benefit for teams when Selection Sunday rolls around.

States With Legal March Madness Betting

College Basketball Betting at BovadaWhen it comes to land-based, brick-and-mortar sports wagering, there are still only a limited number of places you can place your basketball bets. To date, there are over 20 states with legal March Madness betting available to the public. These include Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Mexico, New Hampshire, New York, Colorado, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Arkansas, and even Virginia. If you live in one of these states, there’s a good chance that you live fairly close to a casino or racino venue that accepts sports betting.

However, there are exceptions to the above. Residents of (or guests visiting) Delaware, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, or Rhode Island may not wager on games featuring collegiate teams from their home states. That means that New Jersey bettors cannot bet on Seton Hall games, for example, and DE and RI gamblers can’t put money on games including their hometown teams (not that either of those latter states is all that likely to have representation in the Big Dance).

If you live in a different state than the above (or if you live in a state that forbids wagering on any home-team action), there is a solution: legal USA online sportsbooks. These sites, operating overseas and outside of US jurisdiction, are allowed to take US customers, and you are free to use these sites to place real-money wagers on March Madness and all other NCAA and professional sports action. Even if you have a local sportsbook to bet on the basketball tournament, it still makes sense to use these books as points of reference, allowing you to shop lines for the very best possible payouts. In their way, these offshore books are the best gambling edge any NCAA sports bettor can get. And best of all, there is never any hometown skew on the odds boards when betting online!

Are March Madness Brackets and Office Pools Legal?

Yes, March Madness brackets and office pools are legal. While only about a quarter of US states have explicit carve-outs for this particular pastime on their books, office brackets/pools have been a tradition for decades nationwide. Even in states that do not address NCAA March Madness brackets and states that explicitly ban sports betting, brackets and pools - conducted without a “house take” - are considered legal. As long as your office isn’t taking a little “off the top”, you can rest assured that everything is on the up and up.

In fact, most sports media outlets (as well as US-based sportsbooks and overseas sports betting shops) offer printable “official” office brackets on their websites in the lead-up to the tourney. You do not have to worry about being fined or arrested for participating in office brackets or pools for March Madness. All you need to concern yourself with is setting your picks and having a good time when the hottest basketball tournament on the planet finally gets underway.

In-Game March Madness Betting

Another way sports bettors can play to win big is through live in-game betting on the March Madness Tournament. In-game March Madness betting is when players place wagers while the gaming is going in real-time. The betting lines will pop up fast, so sports bettors should make sure they are moving quickly if they want to capitalize. Sportsbooks post live odds for every game, so there will be a seemingly limitless supply of winning potential for in-game March Madness betting. This is the best way for players to hedge their bets, as live odds allow players to offset any losses with so many wagers available. Every possession of the game, free throw attempt, and inbound play will become a win or lose station for sports bettors. Betting on the March Madness tournament is done right with in-game betting.

Mobile March Madness Betting Apps

Mobile Sports BettingSince the repeal of PASPA, many states have embraced mobile sports betting and offer regulated sportsbooks to their residents and tourists alike. With mobile betting on March Madness, anywhere you are becomes a place for sports betting. You will be able to bet on your favorite schools from anywhere your mobile device has service. Whether you are betting on a smartphone or tablet, the mobile betting apps available for March Madness betting are available for download and easy access to the same betting lines that would be available at retail sportsbooks. International betting sites also offer legal online sports betting from mobile devices. These are accessible from the web browser of your mobile device.

Best March Madness Betting Deposit Methods

The best March Madness betting deposit methods for you will depend upon your needs. If time is not a pressing issue, you can choose to use bank wire transfers, money orders, and personal checks. Bankwire transfers are best for high roller sports bettors because there is no limit on the amount that can be deposited into your sportsbook account.

If speed is more important, credit and debit charges are instantaneous, although they carry much smaller limits. For a good balance between speed and deposit limits, using a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is a great choice. Your deposit will be credited within minutes and you can deposit 10X more than you would with a credit card. At SportsBetting, for example, bettors can only deposit up to $5,000 with a credit card, but up to $25,000 with Bitcoin.

Fastest March Madness Betting Payout Methods

When using offshore sportsbooks, legal March Madness betting payouts are always going to be a slow proposition. After all, that money is coming from overseas. Courier checks, bank wires, and money orders all take between five days and two weeks to get to your hands. If you need your winnings right away, the fastest March Madness betting payout methods are going to be cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. (Note: SportsBetting and BetOnline also accept Litecoin, Dash, and Ethereum in addition to the Bitcoin industry standard.)