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Last Minute March Madness Betting Tips

It’s the first day of the most thrilling four-day stretch in sports and you’re ready to wager. 

There’s just one problem. You have a life. 

Tax time. Work. Kids. The walls could use a coat of paint. 


Fear not, I have some tips for you to get you started on the right path. Here they are: 

What are you doing? 

No seriously. What are you doing here? Trying to win money? Good. But how much? And what's your strategy? 

The best thing you can do before you lay a wager is understand you are betting this event recreationally if you are doing it last minute. Nothing wrong with that. Doesn’t mean you’re not good at it, either. 

But do yourself a favor and pick a budget – an amount you’re prepared to lose in the name of entertainment – and also set a goal of what you’re trying to accomplish, whether it’s monetary or something else.  

About 10 years ago I set my budget and then set out to bet every game in the tournament and every halftime with the goal of trying to break even. It was a learning exercise and a personal endurance betting challenge. I learned a lot and had a blast. And I clawed my way back to win about $7.50 or some miniscule - but profitable - amount after being down a bunch. 

Stick to the plan

It’s one thing to set a plan and another to stick to it, whether you’re up or down money. That’s really the biggest difference between the guys who do this for a living and everybody else - discipline.  

You’ll be happy with yourself for sticking to your plan when the tournament is over, whether you win or lose. And you’ll build the foundation toward becoming a better bettor. 

Forget your bracket

Don’t make the mistake of betting one way just because you have the other side advancing in your bracket for that round with the ‘can’t lose either way’ mentality. 

Two reasons for this: you may not cover the spread after all and you’re most likely not going to win your bracket pool anyway. Sorry. 

Betting futures?

If you are betting futures, keep in mind you’re likely getting them at much worse value than earlier in the season. Books are reporting they’re taking mostly Michigan State and Kansas action on futures this week, who are the top two favorites. At 5-1 odds for each of those guys, that doesn’t give you much wiggle room to take anything else. 

You might want to take a longshot or two for fun with the hope of hedging later or just pick the team you really think is going to win and cross your fingers. The talk of this tournament seems to be parity this year so you never know what could happen. 

The OVER/UNDER win totals for each conference are a fun way to bet the tourney also and they keep your action going as the tournament progresses. You’re a little late on those too though I’m afraid if you’re betting them now, so watch the juice. 


I was on Dean Blundell and Co. this morning on the FAN 590 in Toronto and gave them my four bets for today’s action: UConn -3, Iona +8, Wichita State +1.5 and Gonzaga -2. If I had to take something in the first game between UNC Wilmington and Duke, I’d take under 157. 

Want more betting info? Here’s a look at some March Madness betting numbers I put together.