March Madness Betting Odds
Expect the unexpected in this tourney
Cinderella stories, colossal upsets, buzzer-beaters … expect the unexpected.
That’s why it’s called March Madness — the annual single-elimination men’s college basketball tournament where 68 teams battle for the national title. Lose once and you’re done. There’s no second chances.
There are four games before the main event starts to decide which of these eight teams will grab the final spots into the championship tournament, which is sectioned off into 16 teams in four different regions.
March Madness, which was created in 1939, always begins with 16 games from those four regions — East, Midwest, South and West — on the Thursday of opening week. The remaining 16 games and 32 teams get into action on Friday.
The remaining 32 teams will tip off on Saturday and Sunday to decide which schools will return the following week in the Sweet Sixteen. Those games are played on the Thursday and Friday of the second week, with winning teams advancing to the Elite Eight.
These eight teams play two days later on that weekend to gain a berth in the Final Four. The best four teams in the nation return to one location the following Saturday to decide which two will meet in the championship final the following Monday.
March Madness takes 19 days from the first-round games to the NCAA final.
March Madness Bracketology
Four brackets and 16 seeds make up the 64 teams in the championship. The 10-member committee tries to create competitive balance in each region with its pre-tournament selections.
The top regional seed plays No. 16, No. 2 meets No. 15, No. 3 squares off against No. 14, and so on. The surviving regional winners meet in the Final Four.
The committee selects the 36 best teams that are not automatic qualifiers to fill the at-large berths. There is no limit on the number of at-large teams that may be selected from one conference.
A 16th seed has never upset a No. 1, although Murray State took Michigan State to overtime in 1990 before losing 75-71.
After the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, it took six more years before a No. 15 seed knocked off a No. 2, when Richmond stunned Syracuse in 1991.
Only one No. 15 has advanced past the second round, when Florida Gulf Coast made it to the Sweet Sixteen in 2013. But don’t be tricked into thinking a No. 15 wins every year — they’re 8-124 all-time in the first round.
Where To Bet On The March Madness
This is the second biggest betting event of the year — second only to the NFL’s Super Bowl. Popular sports books on the Las Vegas Strip are packed with enthusiastic basketball fans, looking to play the money line, point spread, totals (over/under), futures and parlays.
- Money line is a simple bet where gamblers just try and pick the winner of the game.
- Point spread bets often even the score. The favorite has to win and beat the betting line. The underdog has to win or lose by less than the betting line.
- Over/under has nothing to do with which team wins the game. A bettor picks whether the total score of the two teams will add up to more than the betting line (over), or less (under).
- Futures offer a bettor odds on each team to win the national championship. These odds will change as the tournament advances towards the final.