Beginners Guide To Betting On March Madness

Guide to March Madness Betting Strategy in 2023 for Beginners

After the Super Bowl wraps up in February, there is a long wait until the next big sporting event. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is that event, and it is commonly referred to as “March Madness.

March Madness spans three weeks and it is some of the best action that you will find all year long. This event also brings great betting opportunities as well, especially if you know what you are doing.

This beginners’ guide to March Madness will cover some of the best betting options available, and will also provide some strategies. If you are someone that has never bet on March Madness then there is no better time to get started. 

How Does March Madness Work?

March Madness is a single-elimination tournament featuring the best college basketball teams in the country. Teams can get into March Madness by winning their conference tournament, but there are also at-large bids that are handed out.

All 68 teams in the field are then seeded based on regular-season results and a bracket is created. Teams don’t have any margin for error when it comes to March Madness and one bad game could send a team packing.

There are 16 games played on each of the first two days of March Madness, resulting in non-stop action. This all concludes with the Final Four and the National Championship Game where a winner is crowned the champion. 

A Look at March Madness Betting Odds

Before you even start thinking about placing a bet on March Madness, you are going to have to know how to read the odds. There are three main betting types that you will find when it comes to March Madness, and we will use those betting options to break down the odds. 

For all of the examples listed below, we will use the 2021 National Championship matchup of the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Baylor Bears. 


A moneyline bet is the easiest bet to make on March Madness, and it is also pretty easy to look at these odds. The reason that moneyline odds are so simple to read is that you will be able to see your potential payout with just a quick glance.

For this example, we will have the Gonzaga Bulldogs as the betting favorites and the Baylor Bears as the underdogs. Gonzaga will have a (-) in front of the odds, and the odds from Baylor will follow a (+) sign.

When you look at the moneyline odds for the first-round games, you are going to see that these odds will be much more spread out. Things were obviously much tighter in the National Championship Game. 

What these odds mean is that it would take a $145 wager on Gonzaga to get a return of $100. On the other end of that, a $100 bet on Baylor would result in a payout of $135.

You are not required to bet at least $100 with a moneyline bet, but this helps when you are wanting to figure out how much money you can win


Spread betting is going to be another popular betting option on March Madness and these odds look a little differently. Instead of focusing on the actual odds, you will want to pay close attention to the betting lines that are offered.

If you are going to bet the spread then the payouts are usually going to be the same for each side. The standard odds are -110, meaning a $110 bet could result in a payout of $100. Let’s use the same teams as above and look at another example.

In this particular example, Gonzaga is still the favorite, but now they have to do more than just win the game. The Bulldogs have to win the game by at least six points for them to cover the spread.

The underdog Baylor Bears can actually lose this game, but still, be the right team to bet on. As long as Baylor keeps the final spread within five points or less then they would be the right betting option for this game. 


The third major betting option that you will find when it comes to March Madness is what is called totals betting. This betting option is also referred to as an over/under bet because those are the two options you have when making this wager. 

This is a much different bet because this focuses on the total number of points opposed to which team is the winner. An over/under bet is another one that typically has odds set at -110 for each side. 

Let’s use the same two teams and say that the over/under line is set at 143.5 points. You then get to decide if the total will be over or under that amount. 

If Gonzaga and Baylor combined for at least 144 points then the over would be the right pick. Having the two teams combine for 143 or less would make the under the right play. 

Other March Madness Betting Options

Even though the first three best we discussed will be the biggest focus, you are still going to have other options available to you. If you are looking for new and unique ways to wager on March Madness then you will want to take a look at these options. 


A futures bet is always a popular option, but especially on an event like March Madness. The most common futures bet to make on the NCAA Tournament is a wager on which team will eventually cut down the nets and win a title. 

The top seeds are going to have the best odds when they are initially released, but betting on an underdog is usually a good strategy to use. As teams get eliminated, the odds will change, and they will remain open through the Final Four. 


A parlay is another great way to bet on the NCAA Tournament, and this is a chance to win some serious money. When you are creating a parlay, you are simply going to be combining a number of small bets into one large wager

You are in complete control when you are making a parlay, and the potential payout will increase with every leg that is added. You will be able to choose from a variety of different betting options to put together this parlay. 


Prop betting always becomes popular when big events roll around, and that’s exactly what the NCAA Tournament is. Not only will you be able to bet on props that take place during the game, but you can also find props that are offered around the entire event. 

Prop betting is another betting type that could potentially come with some very favorable odds. The most common prop betting options involve betting on individual or team stats. 

Final Four MVP

This is a form of futures betting, but it’s not a wager that you can make at the beginning of the tournament. Winning the MOP of the Final Four is a massive achievement, and there are plenty of ways to bet on this award.

Just like with a traditional futures bet, the odds are going to be released very early. Those odds will change all the way up until the MOP of the Final Four is announced. 

Where to Place March Madness Bets

There are two major categories of where to place March Madness bets, but one is much more convenient than the other. Betting on March Madness can be done online, or it can also be done at a retail sportsbook.

The biggest reason for visiting a retail sportsbook is for the experience, and this event will draw a large crowd. Depending on where you live, getting to a retail sportsbook might be a bit of a hassle, and there will definitely be some travel involved.

The easiest way to place a bet on March Madness is through an online sportsbook or a mobile app. If you live in a state that has legal online sports betting then you will likely have plenty of mobile apps or online sportsbooks to choose from. 

March Madness Betting Strategies/Tips to Use

Now that you have a better idea of what betting options are going to be available to you, it’s time to look at some tips or strategies to use. Every NCAA Tournament is different, but there are some common trends and that leads to some sound strategies to use. 

Always Do Research

The most important tip to remember is that you always want to do plenty of research before placing any bets. The amount of research needed is really up to you, but you have to dig deep into each matchup before making a bet.

You don’t want to simply look at the seeds as a guide to how a game will play out. Those seeds will end up being meaningless after the first round and you will have to handicap the game yourself. 

Seniors Don’t Die Easy

You always want to take a close look at each roster before making a bet, and you really want to find out the most veteran teams. Because this is a single-elimination tournament, teams that have seniors tend to be tougher to eliminate.

This doesn’t mean that you should always look at betting on the most veteran teams, but you will want to keep that in mind when you are looking at the available betting options. 

Mix In Some Upset Picks

There is always an additional level of risk when making a bet on an underdog, but the reward is much better as well. This tournament didn’t get the name March Madness for no reason, and it speaks to its unpredictable nature.

There are going to be some massive upsets every single year, and it’s up to you to point them out before they happen. Combining two or three upsets into one parlay can lead to a massive payday. 

March Madness Betting Conclusion

March Madness is such a massive sporting event, and it’s a great tournament to wager on. You will never be short on betting options, and you will have a chance to win some money if you do things properly.

If you plan on betting on March Madness then you will want to look at all of the available betting options. Use the betting tips or strategies that were discussed in this article to give you a better chance of being successful.

Since March Madness is such a great sporting event, you also want to take some time and enjoy the non-stop action that takes place. It’s called March Madness for a reason and there is always plenty of drama that takes place. If you want to become a casual bettor with the best guide, Follow us on Twitter


Madness Betting Strategy FAQs

March Madness is a single-elimination tournament featuring the best college basketball teams in the country. Teams can get into March Madness by winning their conference tournament, but there are also at-large bids that are handed out.

There are two major categories of where to place March Madness bets, but one is much more convenient than the other. Betting on March Madness can be done online, or it can also be done at a retail sportsbook.

Always Do Research, Seniors Don’t Die Easy & Mix In Some Upset Picks.