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Odds Shark's 'March Madness Best Bets Over Brackets' contest is here!

If you were looking for the best free March Madness betting contest ever created, Odds Shark’s March Madness “Best Bets Over Brackets” contest was where you could follow expert sports handicappers, tail their NCAA basketball betting picks, and place your best bets at one of our favorite March Madness Betting Sites.

Instead of filling out a March Madness bracket in 2021, here at Odds Shark we chose profits over pain with Bets Over Brackets. Several of the top sports betting professionals and “Cappers” in the industry placed their bets, while those following along kept their eyes peeled on Odds Shark’s Twitter account, and bookmarked this page to check out our expert picks before making their March Madness bets all tournament long.

Our Favorite March Madness Betting Sites

March Madness Contest: Capping Against the Cappers

For this year’s NCAA Tournament, some of our Capper Cup contestants — the best and brightest sports betting experts in the industry — came together and joined in on the excitement of a March Madness “Best Bets Over Brackets” contest. This time around, though, our contestants were split into four teams led by Odds Shark’s betting experts and analysts. 

With picks submitted prior to each round, the “Best Bets Over Brackets” contest was your source for March Madness picks from handicapping experts across the sports betting landscape. 

March Madness Contest Picks

Team Joe Final Four Picks

Joe Osborne
Joe Osborne
Odds Shark
 
Paulo Antunes
Paulo Antunes
Odds Shark
 
Jessica Gonsalves
Jessica Gonsalves
PFN
 
Joe Fortenbaugh
Joe Fortenbaugh
ESPN
 
UCLA vs Gonzaga
UNDER 145
Houston vs Baylor
Houston +5
Houston vs Baylor
Baylor -5
Houston vs Baylor
OVER 134.5

Team Iain Final Four Picks

Iain MacMillan
Iain MacMillan
Odds Shark
 
Lauren Joffe
Lauren Joffe
The Spin Zone
 
The Great Foosini
The Great Foosini
@TheGreatFoosini
 
Mike Rutherford
Mike Rutherford
CardChronicle.com
 
Houston vs Baylor
Houston +5
Houston vs Baylor 
Houston +5
Houston vs Baylor
Houston +5
Houston vs Baylor
Baylor -5

Team Andrew Final Four Picks

Andrew Avery
Andrew Avery
Odds Shark
 
Pam Maldonado
Pam Maldonado
Odds Shark
 
Joe Murray
Joe Murray
OverUnder985
 
Sports Gambling Podcast
Sports Gambling Pod
@GamblingPodcast
 
Houston vs Baylor
Houston +5
Houston vs Baylor
Baylor -5
UCLA vs Gonzaga
OVER 145
Houston vs Baylor
Baylor -5

Team Gilles Final Four Picks

Gilles Gallant
Gilles Gallant
Odds Shark
 
Sharky Waters Nation
Sharky Waters Nation
@SharksNSports
 
Old Man Who Bets
Old Man Who Bets
@OldManWhoBets
 
Scott Hastings
Scott Hastings
Odds Shark
 
UCLA vs Gonzaga
OVER 145
UCLA vs Gonzaga
Gonzaga -14
UCLA vs Gonzaga
Gonzaga -14
UCLA vs Gonzaga 
OVER 145

‘Best Bets Over Brackets’ Contest Recap

Like Jalen Suggs’ legendary shot, Team Andrew (68-56) pulled through in the clutch to seal the deal in the March Madness ‘Best Bets Over Brackets’ Tournament Contest, edging out Team Joe (67-57) by a single point. Avery’s handicapping experts wrapped up their wild win hitting on three of their Final Four picks for 68 cumulative points overall, while Team Joe could only muster up two points in the final round, which was ultimately the deciding factor down the stretch.

Team Gilles (63-61) also hit on three of their collective four picks, but it was too little, too late for Gallant’s group as they wound up in third place with 63 total team points. Team Iain (56-68) had already been eliminated from contest contention following the round of the Elite 8. On the plus side, they didn’t lose on a last-minute bank shot.

Sports Gambling Podcast from Team Andrew was the most outstanding capper, taking home the $500 gift card prize with an individual best 20-11 record. Joe Osborne, Jessica Gonsalves and Sharky Waters gave Sean and Ryan a good run for their money, finishing tied for second place with a contestant record of 18-13 respectfully.

Not only did Pamela Maldonado, Joe Murray, and SGP win a $250 gift card, but each lucky member gets to join the Ninja for a special guest appearance on Odds Shark’s Guys & Bets. Talk about your one shining moment! Congratulations to all of this year’s winning cappers. Bask in your college basketball contest confetti, gloat like a goat, and enjoy the glory as if you were Baylor Bears’ Jared Butler!

‘Best Bets Over Brackets’ Final Standings

Name Record Total Points
TEAM ANDREW 68-56 68
Sports Gambling Podcast 20-11 20
Andrew Avery 16-15 16
Joe Murray 16-15 16
Pamela Maldonado 16-15 16
TEAM GILLES 63-61 63
Sharky Waters NATION 18-13 18
Old Man Who Bets 16-15 16
Scott Hastings 15-16 15
Gilles Gallant 14-17 14
TEAM IAIN 56-68 56
Mike Rutherford 15-16 15
Lauren Joffe 14-17 14
The Great Foosini 14-17 14
Iain MacMillan 13-18 13
TEAM JOE 67-57 67
Joe Osborne 18-13 18
Jessica Gonsalves 18-13 18
Paulo Antunes 16-15 16
Joe Fortenbaugh 15-16 15

‘Best Bets Over Brackets’ Contest Rules

For the March Madness “Best Bets Over Brackets” contest, 16 participants were divided into four teams of four. Expert betting analysts at Odds Shark (Joe Osborne, Iain MacMillan, Andrew Avery and Gilles Gallant) made up the team captains. Their teams were randomly selected following Selection Sunday.

‘Best Bets Over Brackets’ Rules

  • • Odds Shark sent out ATS and Totals odds for each tournament game on a predetermined deadline, asking for a specific number of picks per round.
  • • Each participant made the appropriate picks per round.
  • • Scores were cumulative by team with a separate standings table.
  • • If any individual missed the pick deadline, the captain’s picks were used again for that person.
  • • Picks were all entered at one time following the deadline. All picks were unlocked and visible to the public.
  • • All picks were worth one (1) point each.
  • • Round 1: Contestants gave 16 picks
  • • Round 2: Contestants gave eight (8) picks
  • • Sweet 16: Contestants gave four (4) picks
  • • Elite Eight: Contestants gave two (2) picks
  • • Final Four: Contestants gave one (1) pick
  • • If a tiebreaker was required, it was based on the championship game

‘Best Bets Over Brackets’ Prizes

There was both an overall winner, as well as a winning team.

Individual Prize

  • • The individual who earned the most total points received a $500 gift card.

Team Prize

  • • Whichever team made the most correct picks saw each member of that team win a $250 gift card, and a guest appearance on Guys & Bets.

Pick Deadlines

Due to the compact schedule for March Madness, there was a quick turnaround for picks, notably for the second round. Also, due to the tight schedule, odds for the play-in games were not included for the first round.

Contest Schedule

Round 1

  • • Started 12 p.m. ET, Friday, March 19
  • • Odds were sent out Wednesday, March 17 at 1 p.m. ET
  • • Picks were received by 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 18

Round 2

  • • Started 12 p.m. ET, Sunday, March 21
  • • Odds were sent out late Saturday night, as soon as the lines were released
  • • Picks were received by 9 a.m. ET on Sunday, March 21

Sweet 16

  • • Started 2 p.m. ET, Saturday, March 27
  • • Odds were sent out Wednesday, March 24 at 1 p.m. ET
  • • Picks were received by 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 25

Elite Eight

  • • Started 7 p.m. ET, Monday, March 29
  • • Odds were sent out Sunday night, as soon as the lines were released
  • • Picks were received by 2 p.m. ET on Monday, March 29

Final Four

  • • Started 5 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 3
  • • Odds were sent out Wednesday, March 31 at 5 p.m. ET
  • • Picks were received by 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 1

Championship Game

  • • Only came into play if a tiebreaker was needed

As far as free March Madness contests go, it didn’t get much sweeter than this. You could have shared our March Madness “Best Bets Over Brackets” contest with your family, friends and followers so they could all have followed the madness, too!

Fortunately for you, this contest wasn't a one and done deal. Be sure to tune back in next year for Odds Shark's second annual March Madness Best Bets Over Brackets contest!

March Madness ‘Best Bets Over Brackets’ contest FAQ

What are your favorite March Madness betting sites?

Our favorite March Madness betting sites are the NCAAB sportsbooks that have great rewards programs, and offer college basketball bettors a bevy of betting options to choose from. BetUS, Bovada, BetOnline, GTBets, SportsBetting, BookMaker, Intertops, BetNow, 5Dimes, BetDSI and Sportbet are the college basketball betting sites that we consider to be the best for betting on March Madness games.

Why make March Madness bets over tournament brackets?

Betting on single games for March Madness instead of doing your typical tournament brackets makes sense for several reasons. One of the most important reasons to select bets over brackets is when you wager on single games, you give yourself a better chance to win big money. A bracket is pretty much one enormous, and practically impossible, college basketball parlay.

Where can I find a March Madness betting games guide?

If you’re looking for a March Madness betting games guide, our NCAA college basketball tournament hub page has everything you need to know when it comes to wagering on the big dance. Odds Shark’s March Madness landing page includes all the latest news, odds, picks and tools, plus a guide on how to bet on March Madness.