How to bet on March Madness Tournament 2023
March is special for college basketball fans in the United States as the NCAA Men’s Division I basketball tournament, also known as “March Madness”, takes place. It is one of the year’s most thrilling events, with tens of millions of people engaging in one way or another, such as watching or wagering. It is said that 45 million US adults intended to bet on the tournament. As the name suggests, it is full of youthful energy and madness. This article explores everything about March Madness, from history to having more fun through betting.
A quick history of March Madness:
The National College Athletic Association (NCAA) was founded in 1906 to govern intercollegiate athletics in the US. It covers a bunch of sports, the most famous of which is basketball. 1939 was the birth of the NCAA Men’s Division I basketball tournament with 8 teams. The tournament has been played annually ever since, except for 2020. The term “March Madness” was not used before 1982 until CBS broadcaster Brent Musburger referred to the tournament as such. Since then, the term has been widely used and recognized. The tournament happens in March, thus the name.
It is a single-elimination tournament consisting of 68 teams. Each team literally has one chance to prove themselves and proceed to the next rounds. The tournament happens in 6 rounds over three successive weekends in March.
How are the teams selected?
The selection committee is responsible for selecting all the 68 teams in the tournament. It is done in two ways, automatic bid, and at-large bid. All colleges (around 350) are divided into 32 conferences competing against each other two weeks before the March Madness tournament. Winners of all conferences receive automatic bids to the March Madness.
The selection team selects the remaining 36 teams in a process called at-large bids. The committee takes many factors into account when selecting the team, such as past performances, rating percentage index, and so on.
Seeding the teams:
The teams are seeded based on their strengths from 1 through 68. The lowest-ranked team (#1) represents the highest-performing, and the high-ranked team (#68) is considered the weakest. The seeding’s objective is that the best teams do not match each other in the beginning.
Teams are placed in a tree-like diagram called a bracket to demonstrate the initial match-ups. They are divided into four regions roughly representing geographic locations, East, West, South, and Midwest. Each region is again seeded from 1 through 16. The teams inside the region are placed in such a way that seed #1 plays against seed #16, #2 against #15, and you can guess the rest.
The selection, seeding, and bracket placement of teams is referred to as the selection process, which primarily happens on Selection Sunday. The bracket and seeding are announced to the public on this day.
The March Madness fans participate in what is called the Bracket Challenge Game after the announcement. They have a few days to take their chance and predict all the winners in the bracket.
March Madness rounds:
March Madness is a single-elimination or knock-out tournament played in six rounds plus one in-play round at the beginning. The number of teams halves by each round leading to the final championship.
First Four (In-play round):
The 8 teams whose seed numbers are 61 through 68 (lowest-ranked teams) compete at the very beginning of the tournament. The four winners (First Four) advance to the “First Round” to join the other 60 teams.
First Round (Round of 64):
Once the four winning teams are determined, they are placed in the bracket for the start of the “First Round” round. Sixty-four teams compete against each other in 32 games to be part of the winning teams to advance to the next round.
Second Round (Round of 32):
As the name suggests, the 32 teams play 16 games to determine the winners. Sixteen winning teams advance to the next round.
Third Round (Sweet 16):
Sixteen teams play 8 games to determine the 8 winning teams that march proudly to the next round.
Fourth Round (Elite 8):
Having come this far, the 8 elite teams battle for the next round. Eight teams play 4 games to find out the winners.
Fifth Round (Final Four):
Four teams remained to decide the final round candidates. These four teams play 2 games, and the winners march to the final championship.
Two of the best face each other at last to decide which team should wear the crown. It is the most-watched game of the NCAA. One team would finally secure the March Madness National Championship.
Betting on March Madness:
March Madness is a basketball tournament, and the betting is the same as other sports. However, March Madness has a unique feature: the Bracket Challenge Game.
Bracket Challenge Game:
After the bracket announcement on Selection Sunday, March Madness fans get the chance to participate in the Bracket Challenge game. It is open until the start of the tournament. Tens of millions of people try their luck and fill the winners of the bracket.
The outcome of 63 games is to be predicted. Nobody has ever filled a perfect bracket in the history of March Madness, which refers to correctly predicting the outcome of all the games. People have come close and got so many games right, but never all of them.
Around 36 million people attempted to fill the March Madness Bracket in 2022. Online platforms, including NCAA official website, offer the Bracket challenge game. Some people participate in the bracket challenge to have fun, while others do it as a form of betting.
Some sportsbooks offer great prizes for the lucky person getting all the game right. Warren Buffet came out to offer 1 million dollars per year, for life, for anyone predicting all the 63 games right. Bet365 and BetMGM offer a 10-million-dollar prize for anyone filling the perfect bracket. There are also prizes for anyone who has the best bracket but is not perfect.
Odds of a perfect bracket:
Warren Buffet’s first prize for the perfect bracket was 1 billion dollars but was later modified to one million yearly for life. How does an investor of such precision offer a one-billion-dollar prize for a challenge?
The answer lies in the odds of the event happening, which is astronomically low. The odds of filling a perfect bracket is 1 in 9.2 quintillion (1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808). That is the case when all the games are guessed or decided by a coin flip.
On the other hand, if you know a thing or two about basketball and assume seed #1 wins over seed #16 most of the time, you can decrease the odds to a manageable degree. Assuming you do not guess the winners by chance, the odds would drop to 1 in 120 billion. That is still quite a task to accomplish.
Best March Madness bets:
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question since too many factors exist. You can hunt a good bet by observing the tournament and past performances, among other factors.
You may notice something that gives you value and can use it to your advantage. An upset that shocks everyone, but you have predicted it. Let us look at some of the best March Madness bets.
Moneyline bet: Go for the moneyline bet when you are confident of your prediction.
Point Spread bet: March Madness is unpredictable, and upsets occur all the time. That gives you an edge in Spread betting.
Future bets: They are risky and exciting bets with a good payout.
Consider Totals, Parlays, and Prop bets when you identify a value. Always do your research and follow the trends to never wager uninformed.
March Madness betting odds:
The odds are displayed in the American way in the March Madness tournament. The favorite teams are negative-signed, while the underdog teams come with a positive sign.
An Example of March Madness 2023 odds:
UConn Huskies: -125
San Diego State Aztecs: +375
Remember that the odds are not fixed and fluctuate most of the time. Always shop for the best odds to find value.
In a nutshell:
March Madness, with all its upsets, is indeed full of madness. The single-elimination aspect of the tournament adds to the excitement and thrill of it. It generates roughly a billion dollars annually for the NCAA. Furthermore, an expected amount of 10 billion dollars is wagered on March Madness, more than 90% of which occurs illegally.
There are a ton of betting opportunities that can be used to have more excitement besides the games. The bracket challenge sets it apart as a unique game. The players only have a four-year chance to play in the NCAA, and the opportunity closes once their college ends.
Betting on March Madness to prove your game’s expertise and analysis is more fun than solely watching the games. A successful person and bettor always test their ideas against the world. Life is too short not to bet.
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