NCAA Tournament: The Best March Madness Betting Sites

From Selection Sunday on March 15 to the championship game on April 6, there are March Madness betting opportunities that could be very profitable if you play your cards right – or more aptly, if the team you’re betting on covers the spread.

With so many sportsbooks to choose from, how do you know which ones are Cinderellas and which ones are ugly stepsisters? Besides our ability to incorporate fairy tales into existing March Madness terms, we also know what we’re talking about when it comes to betting sites. Here, you’ll find the top sites for betting on the college basketball tournament with an odds tutorial and a guide to the different bets you can make. Think of us as your own personal selection committee but instead of seeding teams, we’re ranking NCAA basketball sportsbooks and giving you NCAA Tournament betting strategies.

Best March Madness Betting Sites

  1. Bovada Sportsbook Review

    When it comes to sportsbooks geared to American bettors, Bovada offers everything you need to bet on the NFL, NBA, MLB and college sports. There’s also lines on hockey, UFC, e-sports and politics. From live betting to exclusive bonuses on certain deposit options, Bovada is the ultimate sports betting site for those looking for quick withdrawals, special promotions and different language options (English and Spanish).

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  2. BetOnline Sportsbook Review

    Known for their killer Welcome Bonus and refer-a-friend program, BetOnline.ag is focused on the bettor. Choose from player props to $125 worth of risk-free bets when you use this sportsbook for your wagering needs. They also boast early lines and quick payouts, making them one of the most respected in the industry.

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  3. GTBets Sportsbook Review

    GTBets is the sportsbook of choice for football fans due to their NFL and college football betting lines and odds. Their easy-to-use interface makes betting a breeze. Plus, their ample sign-up bonus will match your first deposit 100% up to $500. Whether you're wagering on the NBA, baseball or horse racing, this is the online betting site you need.

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  4. SportsBetting.ag Sportsbook Review

    Betting on sports is easy when you use an online sportsbook like this one. SportsBetting.ag is part of the BetOnline.ag family and it shows. With multiple betting options, live wagering and numerous sports available to bet on, this is a sportsbook not to be missed.

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  5. BookMaker Sportsbook Review

    Anyone wanting to bet on their favorite sports will love BookMaker. Whether you're an NFL aficionado looking for point spread action or an NBA fanatic looking to make a two-team teaser, this is the site for you. This sportsbook has contests, bonuses and enough to keep bettors rewarded for their sharp wagers.

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  6. Intertops Sportsbook Review

    With multiple bonuses to choose from, Intertops is your one-stop shop for betting on everything from soccer, football, baseball, tennis, basketball, esports and more. This online sportsbook gives you over 4,000 daily wagers and live scoring so you can track your bets in real time. Plus, their mobile betting site is just as easy to use as their desktop version.

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  7. BetNow

    Looking to bet on your favorite American sports? This is the sportsbook for you. With great action and an ample welcome bonus, BetNow has something for bettors of all walks of life. Besides their roster of sports to bet on, this online betting site is easy to use with clean graphics that look perfect on desktop and mobile.

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March Madness Betting Checklist

When we look at sportsbooks to bet on college basketball, there are certain things we need to see. If a book doesn’t have a great rewards program or doesn’t offer sports bettors a variety of betting options, we give them a big thumbs down.

The betting sites from our list above tick all the boxes. This is what we look for to ensure a site is worth your time:

Your Money: Deposits and Withdrawals

You can fund your account using credit cards (American Express, MasterCard, Visa), debit, e-wallets (PayPal, Skrill, Neteller), and Bitcoin. After you make your deposit, you’re ready to start betting. Most sites require a minimum deposit of about $10, but the amount you bet on the tournament is up to you.

In terms of collecting your winnings, some sportsbooks will let you use the same method you used to supply your bankroll. You can also get a paper check mailed to you. The time it takes to get your loot can range from a few hours to a few days. Only cryptocurrency is instantaneous. Likewise, you can keep your money in your account for future bets or futures bets – more on that below.

Rewards: Customer Service, Bonuses and Special Offers

To thank their clients, sports betting sites provide different recompenses. These range from Welcome Bonuses which will match your initial deposit up to a certain percentage. Let’s say you added $200 to your bankroll; the site will give you an extra $100 (50%) to bet with. Some sites have their own VIP rewards program, while others offer free bets if you create a parlay with NBA basketball games and college ball.

How to Read March Madness Odds

In terms of sporting events, March Madness is the Super Bowl of college basketball betting. Betting odds would look something like this:

  • North Carolina -180
  • Duke +220

We use American odds but you can switch to Decimal (1.20) or Fractional (1/5). People in the Americas usually stick with their namesake odds, whereas those in Europe and Australia gravitate toward decimals, and U.K. bettors like fractions.

These are odds for a typical moneyline bet where you would pick a team to win the game straight up. UNC is the favorite and Duke is the underdog. Faves are always represented with minus signs (-), and dogs with plus signs (+). This is universal across all March Madness betting sites.

At -180, oddsmakers predict that the Tar Heels have a 64.29 percent chance of winning the game. If you were to bet $100 on them, you’d get a payout of $155.56 – your original money is returned coupled with your winnings of $55.56.

On the other hand, at +220, the Blue Devils are given a 31.25 percent shot at victory. If you were to bet $100 on them, you’d get $320 – your $100 comes back along with your prize of $220. Bets on underdogs come with more risk, which is why they pay more if you win.

To find out how much you’d win based on the odds and amount bet, check out our Odds Calculator. You’ll also be able to see the percentage chance each team has of winning.

March Madness Betting Options

When betting on individual games, a conference tournament or any college basketball matchup, for that matter, you have various betting types at your fingertips. Besides the moneyline, you can bet on the following:

The Point Spread: Winning or Losing By a Certain Number

Sometimes a team plays in a game where they’re completely outmatched. Other times they play in games where they basically have their victory secured. This is why the point spread exists. Instead of making a bet on a team to win, you’re picking a team to cover. This also creates a more even betting field because point spreads give the underdog an advantage and the favorite a disadvantage.

Odds would look like this:

  • Penn State -9.5
  • Purdue +9.5

In this case, the Nittany Lions would need to win by 10 or more points to cover the spread. Conversely, the Boilermakers would need to win the game outright or not lose by more than nine points for that side of the bet to hit. Whether it’s a Sweet 16 game, Elite Eight or two seeded teams (like 2 vs 15 where a moneyline bet may not make sense or seems too easy), the spread is an ideal bet to make.

Totals: Betting on the Combined Score

Totals betting is popular with college basketball bettors during March Madness because it lets you consider scoring as a whole. To make this type of bet you would need to determine if the combined score from both teams will be more or less than the oddsmaker’s set number.

Odds would appear like this:

Villanova vs Michigan
OptionTotal
OVER147.5
UNDER147.5

If you think the Wildcats and Wolverines will collectively score 148 or more points, you would take the OVER. If you think the pooled score will be 147 or less, you would bet the UNDER.

Sometimes the totals will not have a decimal (.5). Let’s pretend that for the same game the total is 147 instead of 147.5. If the final shared score from both teams falls on 147 exactly, it’s called a PUSH. When this happens, you would get your money back since neither the OVER nor the UNDER hit.

Futures: Bets for the Long Run

It can be argued that any bet you make is in advance of an event – except for in-play betting but we’ll get to that in a bit. However, with futures you can bet weeks or even months before March Madness even starts. A very popular futures bet is on which team will win the national title. Sportsbooks will release odds early so if you see lines you like, it’s best to grab them right away. Getting a team at plus money (+) will net you a bigger profit than getting them at minus money (-) should your bet hit.

Props: Getting More Fun out of Your Bets

Prop, short for proposition, is a bet you can make on the occurrence or non-occurrence of certain team or player milestones that may not directly correlate to the outcome of the game. Props are considered even more fun than other March Madness betting options because you can bet on things like:

  • How many rebounds will player X have?
  • How many points will player Y score?
  • How many minutes will player Z play?
  • Will a No. 1 seed win the championship?
  • Will a No. 16 seed advance to the Final Four?
  • How many buzzer-beating shots will occur during the second round?

Parlays: A Bundle of Bets

The great thing about March Madness is that there are so many games to choose from. If you can’t choose just one to bet on, why not bet on all of them? Parlays let you add multiple bets to one ticket. You can add a Jayhawks moneyline to a bet on Gonzaga to cover the spread. You can also add bets from other sports like an NHL puckline or a soccer wager. With parlays all your bets must hit in order for your ticket to cash. If even one bet loses, your entire ticket is a bust like the 2008-09 Indiana Hoosiers season. Zing! Depending on the sportsbook, you could add anywhere from two to 15 bets to your betting slip.

Teasers: Creating Your Own Lines

Teasers are special kinds of parlay bets that let you move the action in your favor. You can tease the betting lines by a few points to create a smaller or bigger spread, depending on how you handicap the teams playing. For example, you can move the action by 7 points if that makes sense for the game you’re betting on. Like parlays, all bets on your ticket must win otherwise you can’t cash in.

Because teasers let you adjust the odds to your advantage, they do not pay out as much as a bet where you’re not touching the lines. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bet a three-team teaser, but keep in mind that you won’t get a huge payout if you win.

Live Betting: Handicapping Fresh Odds

There will be times when you forget to place your bets before the game or decide at halftime that the OVER you took isn’t going to happen. In-play wagering lets you bet on live odds while the game is unfolding. Betting sites will release new odds for spreads, totals and props during commercial breaks. You can also use live odds to hedge your bets. If you see that your moneyline isn’t going to hit or the team you selected has botched the spread, you could recoup your losses with live picks.

If you stick to any of the sites we mention above, you’re in for a great March Madness betting experience.