March Madness Odds & Betting

Live Odds, Best Apps and How to Bet on March Madness
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March Madness 2020 Schedule & Where To Watch/Live Stream

NCAA Tournament Schedule: The 2020 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament runs from March 17 (First Round) to April 6 (Championship Game). Here’s a look at the complete March Madness schedule:

RoundLocationDates
Selection SundayN/AMarch 15
First FourDayton, OHMarch 17-18
1st/2nd RoundsAlbany, NYMarch 19/21
1st/2nd RoundsSpokane, WAMarch 19/21
1st/2nd RoundsSt. Louis, MOMarch 19/21
1st/2nd RoundsTampa, FLMarch 19/21
1st/2nd RoundsGreensboro, NCMarch 20/22
1st/2nd RoundsOmaha, NEMarch 20/22
1st/2nd RoundsSacramento, CAMarch 20/22
1st/2nd RoundsCleveland, OHMarch 20/22
Midwest RegionalIndianapolis, INMarch 26/28
West RegionalLos Angeles, CAMarch 26/28
East RegionalNew York, NYMarch 27/29
South RegionalHouston, TXMarch 27/29
Final FourAtlanta, GAApril 4
National ChampionshipAtlanta, GAApril 6

Network: CBS

Network streaming: CBS All Access, CBSSports.com, and CBS Sports app via phone, tablet, and connected TV devices (Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Chromecast)

Streaming services (varies by market): DirecTV Now, Fubo TV, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV

March Madness betting basics

The following is a guide to understanding the basic March Madness bets available at most legal sportsbooks in the US to help you along the way:

Legal US sportsbooks all offer a variety of ways the public can bet on March Madness games and the entire tournament, including:

  • Brackets – Players fill out a full 63-game March Madness bracket sheet and enter it in a pool. There a wide variety of free NCAA brackets contest online, including some offered by legal US sportsbooks.
  • Futures – A bet on a single team to win the National Championship this year. Legal US sportsbooks will accept NCAA futures bets before the tournament starts and throughout, with adjusted odds on teams that are still in contention.
  • Moneylines – A single-game bet put down on a team to win the game outright and booked based on odds set by sportsbooks.
  • Spreads – A single-game bet put down on a team to win with a point spread line set by oddsmakers factored into the final score.
  • Totals – A single-game bet put down on whether the final score will land over or under a line set by sportsbooks.
  • Parlays – A combination of two or more basic single-game bets. Parlays pay better than individual single-game bets, because every bet, or leg, must win for the parlay to pay.

March Madness Brackets

March Madness brackets are the traditional way most Americans have always bet on the NCAA tournament. This involves filling out a 63-game NCAA Tournament bracket sheet prior to the start of the tournament and paying to enter it into a pool at the office, local bar or social club.

There are also a number of free-to-enter NCAA Tournament bracket sheet contests online every year. Many legal sportsbooks run bracket pools with buy-ins as well. Because you enter these sheets in a pool, you don’t have to pick every game correctly. You just have to pick more winners than anyone else in the pool.

March Madness Futures

Futures are bets where the outcome is not determined until a future date. In college basketball, this traditionally means betting on who will win the National Championship before the season starts. However, sportsbooks will take futures bets on college basketball teams throughout the season and into the NCAA tournament, right up until the the Final Four begins.

Just like moneyline bets, winners are paid based on the odds posted at the sportsbook at the time you made the bet. Of course, those odds can fluctuate heavily throughout the year, as a team’s chances of winning change. Futures represent the best way to bet on March Madness before the tournament tips off.

March Madness moneylines

There are no points involved in moneyline bets. When it comes to March Madness betting, you pick the outright winner of any NCAA tournament game, and if you’re right, you get paid based on the odds posted at the sportsbook at the time you made the bet.

The odds on the favorite in each game is a negative (-) number representing how much you’ll need to bet to win $100. The odds on the underdog is a positive (+) number representing how much you’ll win for every $100 you bet.

March Madness spreads

The spread in a college basketball game is just like the point spread bet in a football game. Sportsbooks will set a line for each NCAA tournament game and you take either the favorite by laying the points or the underdog and receive them.

You just need to pick the winner with the posted line factored in to cash in on your bet.

March Madness Totals

You can also bet on any NCAA tournament game’s points total if picking a side isn’t necessarily your thing. The sportsbooks will set a line on the total number of points it expects both teams will combine to score.

You simply pick whether the actual total will land over or under that line. Instead of worrying about which team is winning, the only concern you have for an over-under bet is the number of points scored in the game.

March Madness Parlays

A more complex bet is a parlay which consists of at least two separate wagers strung together. To win a parlay bet, one must win every part, or leg, of the parlay. If you have a parlay with five legs and four results win and one loses, the bet loses the same as if you went 0-5.

Parlays pay better than individually placed bets because to win a parlay, you must win every part, or leg, of that parlay. Parlays represent a great opportunity to bet small with a chance of winning big.

How Much is Bet on March Madness Each Year?

Think betting on March Madness isn’t a big deal? According to a study released by the American Gaming Association (AGA) last year:

  • 1 in 5 adults will place bets on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament
  • 40 million (16 percent) of people will fill out a bracket

Collectively, American adults are expected to bet close to $10 billion on the annual college basketball tournament. The AGA study also found:

  • 4.1 million will bet at a casino sportsbook or using a legal app.
  • $4.6 billion will be wagered on a collective 149 million brackets by more than 40 million people.
  • 2.4 million people will bet illegally with a bookie.
  • 5.2 million will bet online, likely at illegal offshore sites.

March Madness Betting Projections

$10 billion

The total amount bet on March Madness — including legally, illegally and via tournament pools — according to an estimate from the American Gaming Association.

$495 million

The amount of money bet on March Madness in 2019 in Nevada. The amount of legal sports betting went up exponentially across the board for March Madness 2019 as a number of states now have legal wagering that did not last year.

$15 billion

The total amount that would be bet on March Madness if legalized in every state, both retail and online, according to Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. That wagering would generate more than $1B in gross gaming revenue, according to EKG.

March Madness Betting Facts

9.2 quintillion

March Madness is all about brackets. However, even for the most skilled basketball bracket enthusiast, the odds for winning the top prize are outrageous. The NCAA estimates the odds of anyone putting together a perfect bracket, correctly picking winners in all 63 games on the NCAA Tournament schedule before the first round begins, are 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Naturally, with odds like this, it has never been achieved before.

1

The number of times a No. 16 seed has beaten a No. 1 seed in the men’s tournament. Last year UMBC became the first school to pull off such an upset in defeating Virginia.

263 

The estimated number of sportsbooks in the US where you can place a legal March Madness bet in 2020. In addition to Nevada, legal sports wagering takes place in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Delaware, Mississippi and New Mexico.

Biggest March Madness Upsets

March Madness is one of the greatest sporting events on the planet. The combination of a single-elimination format, the potential for upsets, the potential for buzzer-beaters, and the highest of stakes means that drama can strike during any game and any matchup.

Additionally, this year’s event should be a landmark for legal sports betting since so many states now allow their residents to wager, including hot spots such as New Jersey sportsbooks.

But all March Madness bettors know an upset that doesn’t work in their favor can be a money pit nightmare. So, ahead of listing the five biggest upsets in the history of the basketball tournament, what truly makes an epic upset?

What makes a historic March Madness upset?

The essential aspect of any upset is the unexpected. So, the list below doesn’t only include cases of lower-seed teams defeating higher seeds.

Seeding the tournament is an imperfect practice. A 25-win, mid-major team might receive a lower seed than a big conference team with a worse record due to the mid-major team’s lower strength of schedule.

The problem with this approach to seeding is that strength of schedule does not necessarily diminish a team’s abilities. So, sometimes a lower seed’s victory is not an upset, but merely a reflection of a truly good team seeded too low.

Instead, upsets occur when both teams’ histories would suggest a different outcome. In some cases, the entire history of the tournament suggested that the other team would win.

Each of these five games has its section and description. However, for those who are in a hurry, here’s a quick list of them:

  • UMBC over UVA: 2018
  • Richmond over Syracuse: 1991
  • Villanova over Georgetown: 1985
  • NC State over UH: 1983
  • Duke over UNLV: 1991

UMBC defeats UVA: 2018

It would be difficult to argue that this game is not the greatest upset in the history of the tournament. Last year, the 16-seeded University of Maryland – Baltimore County made history by winning its opening game against the top-seeded University of Virginia.

In 136 contests between No. 1 and No. 16 seeds, the 16-seed has won precisely once — this time. Before the Terriers win, 1-over-16 was the surest of bets in all of the sports.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of UMBC’s historic victory is the final margin. Far from a buzzer beater, the Terriers ran the Cavaliers off the court, winning 74-54.

UMBC went on to lose its next game, a nine-point defeat at the hands of Kansas State. However, the school can rest comfortably in the knowledge that its place in history is forever secure.

Richmond beats Syracuse: 1991

Before UMBC, the highest seeds ever to win an NCAA Tournament game were 15 seeds. So far, a No. 15-seeded team has won its opening match eight times. None of those victories was more shocking than the University of Richmond‘s escape from the Syracuse Orangemen.

Richmond’s win gets the nod as the most significant because of its status as a trailblazer. Much like UMBC, the Spiders had to contend with the knowledge that no team had ever accomplished the task of defeating a No. 2-seeded team in the first round.

The game itself looks more like the kind of game that would yield a huge upset. Syracuse came out flat, and Richmond took an eight-point lead into halftime.

From there, Richmond slowed the game’s pace down and clung desperately to its lead. In the end, the plan worked, and the Spiders sneaked into history with a 73-69 win.

Villanova beats Georgetown: 1985

In more recent times, a Villanova win over Georgetown would barely make the news. However, back in 1985, the Wildcats’ two-point victory over the Hoyas was the embodiment of the impossible.

Villanova defeated Georgetown 66-64 after a grueling two halves of play. In doing so, the Wildcats became the only No. 8 seed ever to win the national championship.

What made the “Cats” run so much more improbable was that the team caught fire seemingly out of nowhere. Villanova limped into the tournament with 10 losses on its record, including a 15-point meltdown against St. John’s directly before the tournament.

The Georgetown team Villanova defeat had been the prohibitive favorite most of the season. All five of its starters went on to play in the NBA, including all-time great center Patrick Ewing.

But, in the end, it was the Pennsylvania team that had its date with destiny.

NC State beats UH: 1983

Two years before Villanova’s miracle run, North Carolina State University played out a similar drama with the University of Houston. If anything, the manner in which NC State prevailed has stayed with the American sports conscience far longer.

To recap, the No. 6 seed Wolfpack were locked in a tight battle with the top-ranked UH Cougars. The Cougars boasted a high-flying lineup that featured two future NBA Hall-of-Famers (Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon), which had allowed the team to earn the nickname “Phi Slama Jama,” in reference to its aerial prowess.

However, the game came down to a 44-second stretch in which the teams were locked in a tie, and NC State allowed time to dwindle into the single-digits. With about six seconds remaining, NC State’s Dereck Whittenburg launched a long shot from nearly the half-court line, but his shot missed the goal entirely.

NC State’s Lorenzo Charles stayed alert, though, and rose up to put the ball back on a quick slam dunk. The score put NC State up by two with no time remaining and secured the school’s second (and most recent) championship.

Duke beats UNLV: 1991

As is the case with Villanova, a deep March Madness run is not a surprise for Duke University. However, there was a time when Duke was merely a perennial also-ran.

That narrative changed in 1991 when Duke captured its first title in school history. To do so, the team had to defeat one of the all-time great teams in the national semifinals.

The University of Nevada-Las Vegas entered the 1991 tournament as the defending national champions and undefeated. Its five starters each went on to have NBA careers, and the team’s towel-biting coach, Jerry Tarkanian, was one of the best-ever to roam the sidelines.

So, the Runnin’ Rebels had plenty of confidence and swagger entering the tournament. The Final Four matchup with Duke likely didn’t cause much concern, since UNLV had defeated the same team by 30 points in the national championship game the year before.

However, some key additions to the Duke squad meant that the Blue Devils could hang with the champs. Two key free throws by Christian Laettner with 12.7 seconds remaining sealed the most improbable of victories, and handed UNLV its only loss of the entire season.

Previous NCAA Tournament Results

Now that you have all the information needed to bet on the 2020 NCAA tournament, let’s look at the results of the last 11 NCAA tournaments:

2008

All four No. 1 seeds made it to the Final Four for the first time. In the championship game, the Kansas Jayhawks beat Memphis Tigers 75-68 in overtime at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

2009

The North Carolina Tar Heels were a No. 1 seed and went all the way, beating the Michigan State Spartans 89-72 in the championship game at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.

2010

The upstart Butler Bulldogs made their first-ever Final Four appearance. However, Butler lost to the Duke Blue Devils in the final game, marking Duke’s fourth title, 10th championship game and 15th Final Four appearance. The final score in the championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Butler’s home town of Indianapolis, Indiana was 61-59.

2011

Not a single No. 1 seed made the Final Four for the first time since 2006. West Region No. 3 Connecticut was the highest remaining seed and went on to beat the Butler Bulldogs 53-41 in the championship game at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.

2012

For the first time ever two No. 15 seeds defeated two No. 2 seeds in the first round. The Kentucky Wildcats were the only No. 1 seed to make the Final Four. However, Kentucky did go on to win the championship game 67-59 over the Kansas Jayhawks at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

2013

Florida Gulf Coast University beat Georgetown and San Diego State becoming the first No. 15 seed to make a regional semifinal. The Louisville Cardinals beat the Michigan Wolverines 82-76 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia to win its first national title since 1986.

2014

For the first time ever, not a single No. 1, No.2, or No. 3 seed made the championship game. Instead, it was a No. 7 seed, the Connecticut Huskies, beating a No. 8 seed, the Kentucky Wildcats, 60-54 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

2015

Kentucky entered the tournament unbeaten. However, Kentucky lost to Wisconsin in the Final Four. Duke defeated Wisconsin in the championship game 68–63 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana to win its fifth National Championship.

2016

The Villanova Wildcats beat the North Carolina Tar Heels 77-74 courtesy of a last second three-point basket in the championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. This marked the first time ever the championship game was decided by a buzzer beater.

2017

Upstart Gonzaga made its first-ever Final Four and championship game appearance. However, the North Carolina Tar Heels beat the Bulldogs 71-65 in the championship game at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona to win the school’s sixth National Championship.

2018

The University of Maryland Baltimore County beat Virginia to become the first ever No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament’s first round. A No. 11 seed, Chicago-Loyola, made the Final Four. However, Villanova beat Michigan 79-62 in the championship game at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas to win its second title in three years.

2019

The Final Four at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Where Can You Bet On Sports Legally In The US?

New Jersey Legal Sports Betting

Online sportsbooks:

Retail sportsbook locations:

  • Borgata
  • Resorts
  • Ocean Resort
  • Monmouth Park
  • Meadowlands
  • Harrah’s
  • Hard Rock
  • Golden Nugget
  • Bally’s
  • Tropicana

Pennsylvania Legal Sports Betting

Retail sportsbook locations:

Opening soon:

Online sports betting is not yet available in PA.

Nevada Legal Sports Betting

There are a number of different retail locations within the state that accept all sports wagers. The majority of these allow you to bet online through their mobile apps, too.

Read more about mobile sports betting apps in Nevada here.

Las Vegas Strip:

Aria
Bally’s
Bellagio
Casino Royale
Caesars Palace
Circus Circus
Cosmopolitan
The Cromwell
Encore
Excalibur
Flamingo
Harrah’s
The Linq
Luxor
Mandalay Bay
MGM Grand
The Mirage
New York-New York
The Palazzo
Paris Las Vegas
Park MGM
Planet Hollywood
Stratosphere
SLS Las Vegas
Treasure Island
Tropicana
The Venetian
Wynn Las Vegas

Downtown Las Vegas:

Binions
California
The D
Downtown Grand
El Cortez
Fremont
Four Queens
Golden Nugget
Plaza

Additional Las Vegas locations:

Aliante
Arizona Charlie’s
Boulder Station
Cannery
Eastside Cannery
Ellis Island
Fiesta Henderson
Fiesta Rancho
Gold Coast
Green Valley Ranch
Hard Rock
Hooters
Jerry’s Nugget
M Resort
The Orleans
Palace Station
Palms
Rampart
Red Rock
Rio
Sam’s Town
Santa Fe Station
Silverton
Silver Sevens
South Point
Suncoast
Sunset Station
Texas Station
Westgate

Laughlin, NV:

Aquarius
Don Laughlin’s Riverside
Edgewater
Golden Nugget
Harrah’s
New Pioneer
Tropicana

Reno/Lake Tahoe:

Atlantis
Baldini’s
Bonanza
Boomtown
Cal Neva
Circus Circus
Eldorado
Grand Sierra
Hard Rock Lake Tahoe
Harrah’s Reno
Harrah’s Tahoe
Harvey’s Lake Tahoe
Lakeside Inn
Montbleu
Peppermill
Rail City
Silver Legacy

Mississippi Legal Sports Betting

Retail sportsbook locations:

  • 1st Jackpot Casino Tunica
  • Ameristar Casino Hotel
  • Beau Rivage Casino
  • Boomtown Casino – Biloxi
  • Fitzgerald’s Casino – Tunica
  • Gold Strike Casino Resort
  • Golden Nugget Biloxi
  • Hard Rock Casino – Biloxi
  • Harlow’s Casino Resort
  • Harrah’s Gulf Coast
  • Hollywood Casino Bay St. Louis
  • Hollywood Casino – Tunica
  • Horseshoe Resort and Casino – Tunica
  • IP Casino Resort Spa
  • Island View Casino
  • Magnolia Bluffs Casino
  • Palace Casino
  • Riverwalk Casino
  • Sam’s Town Tunica
  • Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort
  • Silver Slipper Casino
  • Treasure Bay Casino
  • WaterView Casino and Hotel

Online sports betting outside of the casino is not yet available in Mississippi.

West Virginia Legal Sports Betting

Retail sportsbook locations:

  • Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
  • The Greenbrier
  • Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort
  • Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack
  • Mardi Gras Casino & Resort

Online sports betting:

  • BetLucky

Delaware Legal Sports Betting

Retail sportsbook locations:

  • Delaware Park
  • Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
  • Harrington Raceway & Casino

Delaware takes certain sports bets through the state lottery as well. Any location where you can buy a lotto ticket is available to you to place NFL bets. Here’s a full list of locations.

Online sports betting is not yet available in Delaware.

New Mexico Legal Sports Betting

Retail sportsbook location:

  • Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel

Online sports betting is not yet available in New Mexico.

Rhode Island Legal Sports Betting

Retail sportsbook locations:

  • Twin River Casino
  • Twin River Tiverton

Online sports betting is not yet available in Rhode Island.

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