After the conclusion of the Super Bowl, it’s time to look ahead to March Madness. The NCAA Tournament is among the biggest attractions for sports bettors. There are plenty of options for March Madness betting, and more states have legal sports betting in 2023 than ever before.
Instead of one game to focus on, the NCAA tournament has a field of 68 teams. The opening weekend is packed with games, a busy time for sportsbooks in Las Vegas.
We will go over how to bet on March Madness online, with information on the best online betting sites and bonuses. Get ready to bet on college basketball like a pro!
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March Madness Betting Guide – How the Bracket Works
March Madness is the tournament at the end of the NCAA basketball season. It draws a lot of attention from college sports fans from across the country.
On Selection Sunday, the entire bracket of 68 teams is put in place by the NCAA Selection Committee. There is now a First Four, which is the first two games of the tournament that act as a play-in game to get to the first round of 64.
Thirty-seven teams make the NCAA tournament automatically by winning their conference. The rest of the teams get a bid by the committee looking at their previous performances during the season and their record against top teams.
The first round of 64 and the second round of 32 are played on the first weekend. The following weekend is the Sweet Sixteen, followed by the Elite Eight. The Final Four is traditionally played in an NFL stadium for capacity reasons.
Games are played all across the country, which is based on what side of the bracket teams are on.
Betting on the Final Four
The 2023 Final Four will be held at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The last four teams of the tournament always receive tons of attention. The event is heavily covered by the media.
The Final Four will have the most betting bonuses and promos. Two games are played on Saturday, leading up to the National Championship on Monday.
Dates for March Madness 2023
Selection Sunday: March 12
First Four: March 14-15
First Round: March 16-17
Second Round: March 18-19
Sweet Sixteen: March 23-24
Elite Eight: March 25-26
Final Four: April 1
NCAA Championship Game: April 3
Legal Sports Betting States for March Madness
Sports betting legislation has been introduced and passed in over two dozen states since PASPA was overturned in 2018. Some states do have restrictions on betting on in-state college teams or events held in the state, so check your state’s page on our site to see the legalities.
You can legally download betting apps and make deposits remotely in Arizona, Connecticut, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, Washington DC, and Wyoming.
The Best March Madness Betting Sites & Apps
Legal betting sites are the way to go. All of the March Madness betting apps you will find on our site are approved, legal, and safe to use.
Each site has a welcome bonus given to new customers. Our sportsbook reviews include promo codes and instructions on how to sign up to claim the promotion.
These are the sites we recommend for March Madness betting.
With the Final Four being played in the Caesars Superdome, it seems appropriate to discuss Caesars Sportsbook. Our promo code will give new customers a free bet match of up to $1,500.
If you aren't already playing at Caesars, you're missing out! Sign up today, by using our exclusive Caesars Sportsbook promo code – JULIUSFULL.
Place a first-time wager of up to $1,250, get it back in bet credit if you don't win.
Customers of Caesars Sportsbook have loads of ongoing bonuses to choose from, in addition to a great loyalty program – Caesars Rewards. It will undoubtedly have boosts for games in the NCAA tournament.
The MGM Sportsbook in Las Vegas will be packed for March Madness, being a top betting destination on the strip. Its online sportsbook, BetMGM, has as many options as you would want from a betting app.
It’s available in tons of states. New customers can use our promo code for a risk-free bet of up to $1,000.
DraftKings is now much more than just a DFS site. But it’s great to use for betting if you also want to play free March Madness betting games.
When you sign up, DraftKings Sportsbook will match 20% of your first deposit, up to $1,000. One of my favorite features to use is Flash Betting.
FanDuel also has a great fantasy platform and has become an industry-leading option for online sports betting. There’s a risk-free bet of up to $1,000 for new customers in over a dozen states.
There are always odds boosts available on FanDuel Sportsbook, and we expect a ton for March Madness. It’s also a great app to use for live betting.
If you want a unique betting type, look no further than PointsBet. You can still wager on all of the usual betting types, but you also have the option of Pointsbetting. Unlike fixed odds, your winnings or losses are based on how right or wrong your prediction was. If you think a spread is off by a lot, that’s the time to use it.
You get a risk-free PointsBetting wager as soon as you sign up, as well as a risk-free fixed-odds wager.
Bet365 is only for New Jersey residents and has one of the best sign up bonuses available. Simply bet $1 and get $200 in free bets.
That will give you a great start for betting on March Madness. Go to the offers page on Bet365 Sportsbook before the games to see what other promos you can use.
How to Bet on March Madness
There are several different types of bets you can make on college basketball. All of the March Madness betting sites we have discussed will have the following options.
Spreads, Moneylines, & Totals
The most popular wagers are spreads, moneylines, and totals. When you see a game on a betting site, it will usually have the odds for these three wagers on the home page. You may have to click on the event to find other bets, such as props.
Before the game, a spread will be set. In the first round, there may be some lopsided matchups, resulting in 20 to 30 points favorites. If you beat on the spread, you are betting that a team will cover the points spread.
Betting on the moneyline is wagering on a team to win. If a team is a heavy favorite, the moneyline could be as much as -300, and at times, it won’t even be available. It’s a great value bet if you predict an underdog is going to win and get + odds.
Like the spread, totals will be set before the game. Each team will have a point total, as well as the whole game combined. You can bet the score will be over or under that amount.
Since there are a bunch of games during March Madness, it’s a great tournament for parlays. When placing a parlay, you are placing one bet that has several outcomes.
For example, you can make a 3-leg parlay, picking three separate teams to cover the spread. However, they all have to be right to win the bet. Look out for parlay insurance for March Madness, which will give you a bonus refund if only one leg loses.
Before March Madness begins, every team will have odds for winning the entire tournament. You can place a future wager to bet on the team you think will win it all. But you can also find future bets for a team reaching the Final Four, or even the Sweet 16.
Making a futures bet is a great way to hedge your bet. Let’s say you bet on a team to win it all and they make the National Championship. You can make a smaller bet on the other team, creating a scenario where you will win money no matter which team wins the game.
Prop betting is very popular for the Super Bowl, but you won’t see as many options for March Madness. Most states have laws against prop bets on individual college players.
There will still be some prop betting options, such as whether or not the game will go to overtime or which team make the most three-pointers.
March Madness Live Betting Sites
There’s not a more fun or engaging way to watch a game than live betting. The best March Madness betting sites we discussed on this page have options for in-game wagering.
As the game unfolds, the odds will change. If a team goes on a run, their odds will improve. If you notice a change in momentum, you can get a leg up on the sportsbook.
Let’s say a game with two great offensive teams starts out really slow, but you don’t think that will continue. It could be a great time to bet the total points over, since it has dropped.
You can also hedge the bets you make pregame. If your bet is looking bad, place a bet on the other team to manage your losses. You may not come out ahead, but you will lose less.
Some live betting sites, such as BetMGM and FanDuel, include live streaming. This makes it possible to watch games right from your mobile betting app.
March Madness Betting Games & Bracket Challenges
March Madness is unlike any other sporting event. With the 68-team bracket format, it creates great opportunities for sportsbooks to offer special games.
Most people have participated in bracket challenges hosted by friends. But now, those games can be played on betting sites.
The odds of having a perfect bracket are 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. There’s nothing better than trying to get as many correct as you can. Predicting the upsets is the best!
March Madness Betting Trends & History
The first March Madness was held in 1939, but it was only between eight teams. It expanded over the years until reaching the modern-day 64-team tournament in 1985. Since then, a First Four has been added, making the total 68.
Teams play throughout the year to grab a top seed, and history says that they have the best chance of cutting down the nets. The following chart shows the results of the NCAA Tournament since the expansion in 1985.
|Seed||Number of Winners|
The first round puts the four #1 seeds against #16 seeds. A #16 seed has only won once, which was when UMBC beat Virginia in 2018.
Watch out for #11 seeds! They are close to .500 in the last decade against #6 seeds.
College Teams with the Most Titles
Over the years, blue bloods have had a lot of success. Teams like UCLA, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Duke are accustomed to deep March Madness runs.
Here’s a look at which teams have the most NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships.
- UCLA — 11
- Kentucky — 8
- North Carolina — 6
- Duke — 5
- Indiana — 5
- UConn — 4
- Kansas — 3
- Villanova — 3
- Cincinnati — 2
- Florida — 2
- Louisville — 2
- Michigan State — 2
- NC State — 2
- Oklahoma State — 2
- San Francisco — 2
There are another 21 teams that have won 1 National Championship.
Use one of the March Madness betting sites on our page to fill out your bracket and predict which team will be added to the list, or who will get another trophy to add to their collection.