Most people think of Super Bowl prop betting as the pinnacle of side-bet spectacles, but there’s almost as much March Madness prop betting available each year. And there’s a lot of good betting value to be had.
You won’t find the quirky halftime show/Gatorade bath/coin toss props like at the Super Bowl, but March Madness props do include all kinds of bets on player and team performances throughout the entire NCAA Tournament.
Betting props alongside your free March Madness bracket contest or individual game bets may be the best way to enjoy a truly immersive March Madness betting experience. Here’s how you can get in on all the March Madness prop betting action you like at legal online sportsbooks and betting apps across the U.S.:
Betting on March Madness props at legal US online sportsbooks is a simple three-step process outlined below. Be sure you stick to legal and regulated sportsbooks where your money and personal information are safe and secure. Illegal offshore sports betting operators may offer March Madness prop bets too, but betting with them isn’t worth the risk.
Here’s a quick look at five of the March Madness prop bets from the last NCAA Tournament in 2019 that ended up paying off well and might be worth considering in 2021:
Because two of the four No. 1 seeds in the field made the Final Four in both 2017 and 2018, the line on No. 1 seeds making the Final Four in 2019 was set at 1.5. The over was paid at -200 (meaning you need to risk $200 to win $100) and the under at +160 (risk $100 to win $160).
Virginia ended up being the only No. 1 seed to get there, making the +160 under on 1.5 #1 seeds making the Final Four one of the best, and best paying, March Madness props in 2019. It was only beat by the +220 you could have had betting on exactly one No. 1 seed to make the Final Four. As we’ve explained elsewhere, history does tend to repeat at March Madness so if the price is right it might be worth another go in 2021.
Pitting No. 1 seeds against each other is a fun prop that pays when one is a big favorite.
Duke was a big favorite to win it all in 2019, but a regional final loss made prop bettors who backed Virginia to go deeper than Duke the big winners instead.
Betting eventual 2019 NCAA Tournament champ Virginia to win more games than Duke paid off at +160. You could have also had North Carolina at +200 and Gonzaga at +145, but they pushed as they posted Regional Final losses as well.
If you can find + odds on Michigan over Gonzaga, say, for 2021, it might be worth your while.
Heading into 2019, seven out of the past 10 and 14 of the past 20 NCAA Tournament Champions started as No. 1 seeds. It would have cost you -180 to bet on a No. 1 winning in 2019, but it would have been worth it when Virginia got it done.
Betting a No. 2 seed winning at +350 or a No. 3 at +1000 offered much juicier odds, but, as you know now, there’s a good reason why.
Duke’s Zion Williamson was the biggest star in college basketball heading into the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Since he averaged around 22 points per game throughout the year, you might have been able to find a prop on Williamson scoring over or under 21.5 points in his NCAA Tournament debut against North Dakota State.
Both sides would probably have had -115 odds, but only over bettors would have been paid, as Williamson dropped 25 in an 85-62 Duke win. Either way you go on this bet can make sense.
You can wade into the Most Outstanding Player award prop market at any time, but until the Final Four is set and the field of MOP candidates is whittled down to a reasonable size, everyone’s a massive long shot.
A better time to bet is once the Final Four is set because you’ll know who’s earned MOP candidate status and the betting odds are still juicy enough across the board.
When that happened in 2019, Michigan State’s Cassius Winston emerged as the favorite, but still went off at +250 to win MOP. Virginia was the last No. 1 still in it and the favorite to win the tournament, but you could still bet on MOP candidate Kyle Guy at +375.
Longshots with a legitimate shot included Texas Tech’s Matt Mooney at +2200 and Auburn’s Bryce Brown at +1200. In the end, Kyle Guy at +375 to win MOP ahead of the Final Four turned out to be one of the best March Madness prop bets out there because Virginia won and so did he.
Related reading: The Best Way To Bet $50 On March Madness
Related reading: How To Pick Your March Madness Bracket Using Vegas Odds
Here’s a look at three specific March Madness prop bets that may look appealing on the surface (along with some estimated odds) but you can likely take a pass on in 2021:
This prop probably would have had closer to +6000 odds had UMBC not beaten Virginia in the First Round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament to become the first-ever No. 16 seed to upset a No. 1. But March Madness upsets happen. You’re still crazy if you bet it at any price, considering No. 1 seeds have won 139 out of 140 games against No. 16 seeds in NCAA Tournament history.
The price on this prop may look crazy, but it’s not. Actually betting on it, though, is a little bit crazy. All four No. 1 seeds have only made the Final Four once in NCAA Tournament history.
In 1985, No. 8 Villanova beat No. 1 Georgetown to become the highest-ever seed to win the National Championship. No seed higher than a No. 7 (2014 Connecticut) has won it since, making this a lunatics-only prop.
Most March Madness props surround stats. That means betting on whether specific players or teams can achieve certain statistical milestones.
An example of a March Madness player prop you might bet on is a specific player to score over or under a certain number of points. Much like the Zion Williamson 21.5-point over/under versus North Dakota State in his NCAA Tournament debut that we mentioned earlier.
An example of a March Madness team prop you might bet on is an over/under on team point, rebounds, assist, or turnover game totals, or any combination of these.
As you can see, the difference is March Madness player props surround player stats and March Madness team props surround team totals. You can also bet March Madness team props based on seeding, or even more involving the number of NCAA Tournament games they might win.
There’s also a popular March Madness player prop market where you can bet on who will win the Most Outstanding Player award. With so many potential MOP candidates ahead of the tournament, there’s a lot of value to be found betting on just about anybody. The odds tighten up as the tournament moves ahead and the true MOP candidates emerge, but there’s still value to be found ahead of the Final Four. You should find good prices then, even for the best players on the best teams.
Whether you want to bet on March Madness player props or March Madness team props, research is the key. Look closely at regular season and Conference Tournament team and player stats and you can quickly turn your prop bet picks into educated guesses that stand a much better chance of winning.