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March Madness Odds - Ways to Bet And Win

Technically, everyone who fills out a March Madness bracket is gambling but most people don’t think of it that way.

They are playing the March Madness odds, but just picking winners in a bracket contest – pretty harmless, pretty fun, pretty limited opportunities for making money. That’s because the odds are stacked heavily against them.

When they see bracket contests boasting $13 million grand prizes, realize that winning requires picking the entire college basketball bracket, which is basically a 63-game parlay. Or in other words, the odds are a billion billions to 1.

[ Solid bracket games with guaranteed cash prizing can be found at places such as Bovada. ]

So when 30 million plus Americans fill out of their brackets or play some other type of office pool, they will also be looking for some single wagers where they can put their knowledge to good and profitable use. Here are some of the ways they will do it:

Single game March Madness Betting Just like you would do on any other day, you focus your handicapping regime on a single game (or a few) looking for a point spread edge that you can exploit. If Duke is 22-2 SU in the first round, but just 9-15 ATS and they are facing a surging team that has covered the spread against them 12 straight times, that might be the game to bet against Duke.

Naturally, you check the injury situations, how the teams match up defensively and offensively and apply your regular handicapping rigor. Do that for a few games and you can pocket some profits while you continue to watch your bracket. This applies to total betting (aka over under betting) where you can sometimes find line value based on one team’s offensive talent or defensive skills or liabilities.

Some sportsbooks such as Bovada and Sports Interaction offer better college basketball underdog odds than others, so if you enjoy the thrill ride of Cinderella runs, that could be the place for you to sign up, grab a generous bonus and play.

Parlay betting

Like above, if you can find two or three games where you have a definite edge, bet all three on a parlay card. Betting three heavy favorites to win pays out much higher, but you need all three games to come around.

Still at 6/1 or 7/1 payout on three-team parlays, it is March Madness odds worth checking out. It’s best to have a solid look through the stats, read the expert previews and brush up on the line moves here before you risk a lot via parlays. Done properly, they are smart and can increase your profits as some books like BetOnline offer superior parlay payouts. Done stupidly or recklessly, they are sucker bets.

Region Future Betting


Most decent sportsbooks will offer odds on each team to win its assigned bracket. For example, Duke may be 5/1 to win the Midwest while Kansas is 3-1 to win the South. The odds depend on the public perception of the strength of each team and the relative strength of teams in that bracket.


This type of March Madness wager takes a few weeks to play out, as you need teams to progress through the first four rounds to reach the Final Four. But again, looking at a bracket, you often can discern a pretty solid pick. Upsets happen, but No. 1 and No. 2 seeds often fill the Final Four positions.


If someone offers you good odds on whether a No. 12 will upset a No. 5, take it. Last year, three No. 12s won outright and all four covered the spread. In the past 10 years, at least one 12 has won every year. Sportsbook.ag often leads the pack in terms of unique Madness wagers like this.


Madness Prop Bets


These are fun proposition bets where you take a position and bet that it will happen. From which conference will the college champion come from? The choices may be the Big East at 4/1 or the ACC at 5/1.


Maybe there are two high seeds from the same conference – that increases the odds that conference will produce the champion. Here are other props like Will a 14-15-16 seed win any games in the tournament? That’s a longshot since those smaller schools are playing marquee programs, but it does happen.

Check the bracket, handicap the teams and maybe there is wagering value there. Super creative props and super generous bonuses and perks have become the trademark of some sportsbooks such as Bovada and others.

Tournament MVP Odds

Some sportsbooks treat March Madness betting like they do Super Bowl betting – with hundreds of prop bets and futures bets to keep every game exciting. You will see odds on which player will win the MVP, especially when you get to the final four teams and all the betting attention focuses on a few games.