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Image for Caleb Tallman Caleb Tallman - Updated March 9, 2023

How to Bet on March Madness: Ultimate Betting Strategy

  • March Madness is back, and sites all across the country will be hosting NCAA Tournament games!

  • Sportsbooks will start publishing their odds as soon as brackets are released on Sunday, Mar. 12, and you can bet on who you think will win it all or simply will win their first-round game.

  • Houston, Alabama, and Kansas are the favorites to win March Madness 2023.

March Madness is back. All major sportsbooks will be taking countless bets across the country. March Madness is one of if not the best sporting events yearly. Everyone from elementary school classes to old friend groups will be filling out brackets.

68 teams from NCAA Division I men’s basketball will be playing in the most-watched college basketball tournament in the world. Since there are so many teams playing, there are so many games to bet on! But what is the best strategy for betting on March Madness?

Whether you’re a sports betting beginner or a seasoned pro, this guide will outline the best betting strategies for March Madness 2023!

Keep on reading below for information on:

  • How the March Madness betting bracket works.

  • The best March Madness online betting sites and apps available across US states where sports betting is legal.

  • Easy and effective tips and strategies for making all the most popular kinds of March Madness bets.

March Madness Betting Guide

Sports betting is becoming legal in more states as the days and months pass on, but if you live in sports betting-legal states like New York, Ohio, New JerseyColoradoIndianaIowaWest VirginiaPennsylvaniaTennesseeIllinois, and many more, that offer legal sports betting, now is the time for you to cash in!

Make sure you check out our March Madness Bracket Contest to get a chance to win up to $2,300!

For people interested in betting on March Madness online, we recommend FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, or Caesars.

Use the links on this page for exclusive deals and promotions, and read our comprehensive reviews of all recommended sportsbooks for more details.

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With so many incredible betting sites now available to many in the US, how does one choose where they should bet? Make sure to check our NCAA Tournament Best Betting Sites Page and our Best NCAAB Betting Promos Page for everything you need to know about your best promo offers and the best sites where to get in on the NCAA Tournament betting action.

How to Bet on March Madness Brackets

There are many ways to bet on the NCAA tournament, but the most popular is to fill out an NCAA Tournament tournament bracket to compete against friends, family, co-workers, and strangers!

You can also bet on individual games, both spread and moneyline, while also making parlay bets, team futures, as well as player props/futures for the March Madness tournament as they become available!

Finding the right March Madness betting site for you will be key!

Timing your bets with available lines is crucial. For example, the opening round is a fantastic way to take advantage of parlays, as the majority of results in the first round go the favorites way.

You may also recognize some notable talents or players that have upped their game for the tournament. Betting on player props is a great way to earn money if you see a player trending toward or away from their projected output. This is true, especially as teams get into the later rounds and players see increased minutes.

Most importantly, you should understand how the bracket itself works – it’s simple!

There are four regions (East, West, Midwest, and South), with sixteen teams representing each region. In total, there are 64 games in this thrilling single-elimination process!

How to Fill Out a March Madness Betting Bracket

Filling out your March Madness Bracket is a lot more manageable than graphics make it look. Each team matches up on their side of the bracket. All you have to do is select which teams you expect to win in each round until you find your ultimate winner!

Start with the first round’s 32 games, then the second round’s 16 games, then move on to the Elite Eight, Final Four, and then the Final.

You will likely be asked to predict the score in the NCAA Tournament Final. This additional prediction is used as a tiebreaker in the case that multiple correct predictions for a result are made.

Note that there are four games played on Tuesday and Wednesday (the First Four games), yet only a few, if any, bracket contests, including ours, include these games in a bracket contest.

Do You Need to Know a lot About NCAA Basketball to fill out a Bracket?

Absolutely not! The beauty of the NCAA tournament is the one-off nature of each match, making it a true test of quality between each team. While ranking is a good indicator of who will win, underdogs can put on excellent performances to bring home an upset victory!

The tournament format of March Madness is beneficial to experts and beginners alike. With only one game-deciding a team’s fate, anyone can make a great selection!

Make sure to check out the WSN NCAA Tournament Hub Page, that we will be updated multiple times daily from the bracket release all the way through the National Championship. The Hub Page will have a game preview for every single NCAA Tournament game.

Has Anyone Predicted a Perfect March Madness Bracket?

According to the NCAA, there has never been a verified event where someone has picked a completely perfect March Madness bracket.

There are many outlets and sports betting sites where you can fill out your March Madness bracket. Many major sportsbooks will have a March Madness bracket challenge, while in partnership with the NCAA, CBS has an annual bracket challenge with cash prizes!

According to Sports Illustrated, the odds of attaining a perfect bracket are around one in 9.2 quintillions. In 2019, neuropsychologist Gregg Nigl set the record with 49 correct bracket picks.

Who Will Win the 2023 March Madness?

Part of the draw of March Madness is the mystery behind who will win. With so many strong teams playing, anybody can win it all.

Let’s take a look at some of the teams that we think have the best shot at winning the National Championship!

Houston Cougars

Houston has been one of the favorites all season long and has done very little to disappoint this season, with only two regular-season losses. Of those two losses, one was a six points loss to Alabama, who is also a national title favorite.

The Cougars are rare in that there is not one bona fide start, but rather Houston is so well-balanced that it makes them incredibly difficult to defend. While the Cougars are difficult to defend, they are also one of the very best defensive teams in the country, rated number five by Kenpom in adjusted defensive efficiency rating. 

Alabama Rolling Tide

Alabama may have some things going on around the program that is a big distraction, but on the floor, Alabama is so skilled offensively on any given night that the Rolling Tide is impossible to stop when they get rolling, especially from behind the three-point line.

Of the eight-man playing rotation, six players shoot above 31% from three, so good luck figuring out who to try and limit. Not to mention that Brandon Miller is a star freshman and could be lining up to have a Carmelo Anthony-like NCAA Tournament run.

Kansas Jayhawks

Only two programs in college basketball history have won national championships in back-to-back seasons. Kansas has played well enough this year to have a legitimate chance to be the third. The Jayhawks are top 25 in both offensive and defensive ratings in Kenpom and have played one of the toughest schedules of any contender. 

Kansas is battle-tested, has one of college basketball's best coaches, and a strong mix of veterans and young players that no one wants to see the Jayhawks in March. Jalen Wilson surprised some coming back for his junior season, but it seems to have paid off, as he has taken a big step forward. While freshman Grady Dick has hit some really big shots this season, and as an athletic 6’8” guard can get his shot off over almost any defender.

Tips for Betting on 2023 March Madness

There are a couple of things to be mindful of in your March Madness betting strategy:

  • Upsets will occur, and it’s growing more difficult to predict when.

  • Teams are more competitive, and a top seed doesn’t guarantee a deep run into the tournament.

When keeping track of your March Madness betting site and minding your strategy, you should be able to formulate a solid plan. Here are some of our suggestions.

It Doesn’t Always Pay to Pick the Favorite

When it comes to betting on March Madness, it can be very easy to select the higher-seeded team in every matchup. Granted, you’re likely to come up with decent results with that strategy. But you become vulnerable to your bracket busting early if you can’t see the coming upset.

The one-off matchup style favors teams in form rather than those who are boasting a more impressive seeding. When constructing your bracket, be aware of history as much as you are of the current form. Only once, in 2008, have all four top seeds made the Final Four!

It’s easy to look for the “Cinderalla Upset” when a mid-size college with a star gets you your win. But consider rank, order, win streak, and injuries to inform your decision.

Individual Game Betting

All things considered, betting on brackets and March Madness as a whole is a lot of fun. But betting on single games can be just as fun and also beneficial.

Check out our tips on finding good single-game bets:

  • Some of the top stats to mind for a team’s success are field-goal percentage, three-point percentage, and fouls – both incurred and allowed.

  • Late-tournament single-game bets are much safer, considering you’ve had a couple of matches to rate the teams and judge their performance.

  • Don’t be fooled by freshman stardom. College basketball is not star-dependent, and experienced teams are just as, if not more capable, than those with one-and-done prospects.

Best Team to Bet on in March Madness 2023

With the top sixteen named, sportsbooks have opened up wagering on who will win the tournament as a whole. While these odds will change after conference tournaments, it gives bettors looking to build their strategy a preview of what the public is thinking.

FanDuel is rating Houston (+600), Alabama (+750), and Kansas (+900) as the favorites going into the tournament.

As the bracket fills out and we see different schools and their roadmap to the Final Four, the odds are sure to change.

Most Popular March Madness Bets

Aside from filling out brackets, there are plenty of ways to bet on March Madness, with bets that include parlays, futures, and props. In this section, we will explain how these bets work and give some tips to help with your strategy.

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 than they will nearer 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 matchups when making a futures bet.

March Madness Money Lines

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 money line 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 or less than the sportsbook’s estimate.

March Madness games play out differently 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.

Use our parlay calculator to make parlay betting even easier.

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 BetMGM and DraftKings 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 on 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 options are prone to making imbalanced adjustments on the fly if they do not have enough staff available. This can potentially create juicy opportunities if you have a keen eye.

Betting on 2023 March Madness Bracket Challenges will be available once the seeding has been decided.

March Madness 2023 FAQ

When is March Madness 2023?

Selection Sunday will take place on Mar 12. Then, the First Four games will begin the tournament and take place on Mar. 14 and Mar 15. The First Round will take place on Mar. 16 and Mar. 17. The Second Round starts on the following day, Mar. 18, and finishes on Mar. 19.

The teams that make it to the Sweet 16 get a little break after the second round. The Sweet 16 is played on Mar. 23 and Mar 24. The next round, the Elite Eight, will take place on Mar. 25 and Mar 26.

Where is March Madness 2023?

The 2023 NCAA Tournament will be held in various locations. Before the first round starts, the First Four games will be held at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio. The First and Second rounds of the Tournament are spread across the country. The games will be played at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., Golden One Center in Sacramento, Calif., MVP Arena in Albany, N.Y., Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, Ball Arena in Denver, Colo., and Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro N.C. 

The Sweet 16 and Elite Eight will also be played in various locations.

The games will be played at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., Madison Square Garden in New York City, N.Y., T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Miss., and KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.

The Final Four and National Championship game will be played at NRG Stadium in Houston, Tex. NRG Stadium can seat up to 72,220 people for basketball games.

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Caleb Tallman

173 Articles

I am a huge sports fan; locally, many know me as the guy who does the PA for our high school football team on Friday nights. Having grown up in Michigan, I am a sports fan of all the Detroit teams, and at the college level, I love Michigan State sports.

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