March Madness Betting: Ultimate Guide [2019 Edition]

March Madness 2019 is here which means big money is being bet on college basketball in states all across the US.

But with 68 teams competing and tons of betting opportunities, what’s the best way to bet on March Madness?

If you’re a beginner sports gambler, or don’t have experience betting March Madness basketball, this guide will make everything really easy.

Keep reading for more information on:

  • How the March Madness betting bracket works
  • The best March Madness online betting sites and apps available in New Jersey and other US states where sports betting is legal
  • Easy and effective tips and strategies for making all the most popular kinds of March Madness bets

Sports betting is becoming legal in more and more states all the time and if you live in New Jersey or one of the other states that’s started offering legal sports betting, this is your chance to potentially cash in on your sports picks.

For people in New Jersey interested in betting on March Madness online, we recommend DraftKings NJ and 888sport NJ.

Use the links on this page for exclusive deals and promotions and read our comprehensive reviews for more details.

Table of Contents

Betting SiteBonusRatingBet Now
DraftKingsUP TO $500 FREE BET*9.1/10
888Sport$5009.3/10

*21+ | Eligibility restrictions apply | See website for details | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

Having a positive experience betting on March Madness online has a lot to do with the site you choose to sign up with.

If you don’t already have a go-to legal online sportsbook in New Jersey, we recommend 888sport NJ and DraftKings NJ.

Two big reasons 888sport NJ and DraftKings NJ are so enticing for new users are the big sign up bonuses and easy-to-use betting sites and apps. Even as a beginner it’s really easy to sign up and get started picking March Madness winners.

DraftKings NJ

DraftKings is clearly focusing on March Madness betting now more than ever before.

Starting on March 25, new signups will have access to a special March Madness Insurance promotion. Here’s how it works:

  • Sign up and make a bet of up to $50 on a March Madness betting market.
  • If you win, you receive your winnings as usual.
  • If you lose but your team was winning at the half, you a refund in the form of a free bet equal to your original wager.

The insurance promotion is available in addition to the site’s main welcome bonus but can’t be combined with any other special March Madness offers that might pop up.

Also for the first time this year, DraftKings has introduced its own variant of March Madness fantasy betting called Brackets.

Not only can you get in on huge public bracket-beating contests, you also have the option to create your own private one.

And don’t worry if you’re reading this on the tail-end of the first weekend, they are also offering contests starting in the round of 32 and again for round of 16 action.

Risk-Free Bet at DraftKings Sportsbook

888sport NJ

The sign up process at 888sport only takes a few minutes. For new users signing up during this March Madness period, make sure to take advantage of the large deposit bonus promotion up to $500 in value as well as the free $10 wager.

Like any promo, be sure to read the fine print. In this case the terms and conditions are pretty standard but it’s always a good idea to be aware of the restrictions.

As an added bonus, the 888sport site is seamlessly integrated with the brand’s poker and casino software. If you like other forms of gambling and poker, this is really convenient.

If you’re in New Jersey, sign up with 888Sport today!

How to Bet on March Madness Brackets

The ultimate way to bet on March Madness is by filling out a full tournament bracket and competing against friends, family, co-workers, or even complete strangers.

Most contests will have a buy-in for each bracket and often you can purchase as many as you wish. Some contests are freerolls meaning anyone can enter for free (usually only once) and still take home a cash prize.

How the bracket system works is simple. There are four divisions with 16 teams each for a total of 64 teams. The tournament is single-elimination which means a single loss is all it takes for a team to be eliminated.

How to Fill Out a March Madness Betting Bracket

Filling out a bracket is really easy. All you need to do is select who you think will win each game.

The most common way to fill out the bracket is to first select a winner for all 32 of the first round games. Then move on to the second round and choose 16 winners and then do the same in the next round, and so on.

In the final game you are also often asked to predict the score. This is used in the case of a tie-breaker where there is more than one person tied for first place going into the final game.

The beauty of filling out a March Madness bracket is that you don’t really need to know that much about the teams. The brackets will list each team’s respective rankings and will usually also show their season record leading into the tournament to give you an indication of how they have been performing.

And if you are still feeling unsure, just remember, the games are often completely unpredictable and even the so-called experts get a lot of games wrong. This means beginners are more likely to win in this format than other styles of betting.

Who Will Win 2019 March Madness?

A lot of teams and fan bases are heading into the tournament with their hopes high and their fingers crossed. That’s because lots of people like to make a futures bet on which team will win before the tournament begins.

Here are the three that most savvy prognosticators have as top of the pile odds-on favorites.

Duke Blue Devils

With their formidable duo of RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson both in the line up, Duke has been virtually unbeatable this season. They had a late season hiccup on the heels of a knee injury to Williamson when his shoe famously ‘exploded’ in a February loss to North Carolina. However, since his return the team looks back on track and poised to challenge for their sixth NCAA championship.

Gonzaga Bulldogs

The Zags have been a perennial contender ever since their cinderella run in 1999. This season, although their schedule was widely considered soft, they lead the nation in scoring and at one point had a 21-game win streak. Can this be their year to go the distance?

North Carolina Tar Heels

The Heels come into the Final Four looking to repeat their 2017 accomplishment and get back on top. Balanced scoring may be the key to their chances. With three players – Cameron Johnson, Coby White, Luke Maye – averaging more than 14 points per game, the scoring is balanced enough for the team to support one another in any game where one person might not be feeling it.

Tips for Betting on 2019 March Madness

If you’re not familiar with the way March Madness basketball works, here are two key points to keep in mind:

  • There are a lot of upsets where underdogs beat heavy favorites.
  • With each passing year it is getting harder for the top seeds to advance to the Final Four.

The kinds of bets you want to make will largely determine the strategy that will work best.

Don’t Just Bet on Favorites

Choosing the higher seeded teams across the board guarantees okay results but if you have to win your pool to make a profit, it’s rarely going to work out.

The final results always include a mix of favorites and underdogs so mixing it up is a good strategy. To make smart choices on which underdogs to include, you need to dig in and research the matchups.

Consider these stats when looking for lower-seeded teams to bet on:

  • Both the 11th and 12th seeded teams, who play against the 6 and 5 seeds respectively, run at a 33% win rate historically in their first round games.
  • That means that you should expect at least one or more of those teams to advance to the second round.
  • Those odds get even higher with the 9 and 10 seeds.

Betting on Individual Games

Betting on a bracket is fun but you can also find great opportunities by focusing on individual matchups.

Since you get to see teams competing in such a quick succession of games you can really dissect the way teams are performing throughout the three-week tournament.

Here are some tips for finding good March Madness bets:

  • Save your bets for later in the tournament so you can get a better sense of how each team is performing. Track which teams are firing on all cylinders and which ones advanced but looked shaky in doing so.
  • Specific things to pay attention to are rebounding margins per game and the percentage opponents have been shooting against them.
  • Teams with large rebounding differentials who can also keep opponents shooting tough shots will continue being successful if they can keep up the defensive intensity.

Best Team to Bet on in March Madness 2019

Not exactly a sleeper, but definitely showing excellent value, our top pick for the Final Four winner is Kentucky.

The pre-tournament line on 888sport NJ for the Wildcats to win the whole thing was +1300.

Although they have two losses this season to Tennessee, one of which coming in the SEC tournament semifinals, their path to the Final Four in the Midwest section of the bracket would run through North Carolina who they have proven they can beat this year.

Both Tennessee and Duke are on the opposite end of the ledger and would only be a threat should they meet in the championship final.

Overall, people get most excited for March Madness to complete (and hopefully win) a full 63-game bracket.

With that said, it is also incredibly exciting for the sheer volume of games that have such immense pressure. The atmosphere for each game is off the charts and the excitement around the betting is ramped up too.

Fans can get in three straight weekends of NCAA bball moneyline betting, point totals, parlays, props, futures and live betting. In this section we’ll break down the basics and give you a few tips for all the most common March Madness bets.

March Madness Futures

A Futures bet is one that looks at how a team will do at a specific future date. With March Madness this will be a bet in terms of picking the overall champion in the end.

  • These odds will be available once the tournament bracket is announced. Since the entire field is still in play the favorites will pay better now then they will nearer to the end of the tournament if they are still alive.
  • The odds will also be available throughout the tournament and adjusted depending on which teams remain and how well they are performing.
  • Pay close attention to potential upcoming match ups when making a futures bet.

March Madness Moneylines

Picking which team will win the game is always a popular way to bet on NCAA basketball and during March Madness there’s a huge spike in moneyline bets. Here are the main things to understand:

  • During every round of the tournament you can bet on which teams will win individual games.
  • Moneylines don’t take into account point margins or totals so they’re really simple and great for beginners.
  • Moneylines are great because you can get long odds on underdogs which means a big payday if there’s an upset.

March Madness Totals

You don’t always need to pick a team to win or a side to cover the point spread. Betting on the over/under point total is when a sportsbook estimates how many total points will be scored in a game by both teams combined. Your job is to choose if the final total will be more more or less than the sportsbook’s estimate.

March Madness games play out different than regular season matchups which means totals are harder to predict.

  • Do you think the teams will play fast or slow? How do they match up against each other in terms of styles? Have they played each other before?
  • Think about how each coach approaches end-of-game situations as a lot of points can be scored on late game fouling.
  • Point totals bets are offered for the full game, just half time, or specific to each team. You have a lot of options to consider.

March Madness Parlays

One way to spice up your betting ticket is to combine multiple bets on one or more games into one betting ticket. Betting a parlay multiplies the payout but also makes it way harder to win.

  • On a parlay you must get every single bet correct in order to win.
  • The more outcomes you add to the wager the longer the odds get and the bigger the potential payout.
  • For March Madness, parlays let you combine lots of bets in different games that are all happening at the same time.

March Madness Props

Proposition bets, also called props, are more creative bets on things like individual player performances. Since there’s so much betting action focused on March Madness, sportsbooks like 888sport NJ and DraftKings NJ have tons of props on the menu.

  • Props are lots of fun and can also be made live as the game is playing out. We’ll go into more detail on live betting in a second.
  • Even if you don’t have a good read on which team will win, you can put action down on specific players or other outcomes.
  • Be careful betting March Madness props because the sportsbooks sometimes err on the side of caution in terms of the odds offered.

March Madness Live Betting

You don’t have to wait for the games to finish before making new bets. In fact, you can get in on the madness while games are in full swing. This is called Live Betting and it is an increasingly popular form of wagering.

  • Live betting odds are constantly adjusting depending on what’s going on in the game.
  • Sites that offer many live bet option are prone to making imbalanced adjustments on the fly if they do not have enough staff available. This is can potentially create juicy opportunities if you have a keen eye.

Betting on 2019 March Madness with 888sport NJ

888sport NJ runs a cool March Madness pool. Although the entry deadline has passed for this year, it’s worth jotting down in your calendar for 2020.

First off, they give you a $5 free bet just for participating.

Essentially, you bet on individual games for each round. The more correct bets you make, the larger your “free bet” prize amount will be. The contest continues each round until the tournament concludes.

In addition to this cool feature, 888sport offers a huge menu of all the most popular kinds of NCAA March Madness bets.

Use the link on this page to sign up and if you need more info, check out our full expert review.

Betting on 2019 March Madness with DraftKings NJ

This year DraftKings is trying something new. There is a nationwide contest available to everyone in America who lives in a place where Daily Fantasy Sports are currently sanctioned.

The best part? It’s free to enter and features $64,000 in prizes. That’s tremendous value.

For residents of New Jersey, there is also a second promotion with a $100,000 prize pool. That contest has a $20 entry fee.

If you’re reading this after the tournament has started and you’re worried about being too late, don’t sweat it, DraftKings NJ offers opportunities to get back in for the round of 32 and again for the round of 16.

Just download the app and hit the “Reserve A Seat” button to make sure you’re notified for the next round of play.

Start Betting on 2019 March Madness Now

It’s not too late to get in on the action and put a few bets down on the 2019 NCAA Championship.

If you live in New Jersey, or any of the other US states that have recently legalized sports betting, you can do it all 100% legally.

Our two top picks for legal New Jersey March Madness betting sites are 888sport NJ and DraftKings NJ.

We recommend using the links on this page to sign up to make sure you get access to the best deals and offers available.