Every sportsbettor worth a dang will be testing out the action when the NCAA's March Madness men's basketball tournament tips off. And every gambler worth a double dang will do more than haphazardly make random picks while doing so. The best of the best sports wagerers, in fact, never enter this hectically scheduled month without a plan—a system of approaches and ideals in place that guide their investments.
It's imperative to remain flexible even when you have a blueprint in place, of course. March Madness is notorious for its shocks, and you must roll with the punches as a result. Come to terms with this malleability beforehand, because you can't avoid it. That's the nature of the win-or-go-home, single-game beast the NCAA has created.
At the bare minimum, if you're not going to be flexible with your system, at least have said system in place. You cannot skate through the NCAA's entire regular season and the early portion of its March Madness bracket, then expect to make money at the sportsbooks. That's a half-baked scheme, one admittedly championed by too many bettors each and every year.
Be the exception to the majority. In some ways, you already are, just by reaching this space.
Scroll down, and you'll find some tips to keep you in the know and put you in position to capitalize on informed opportunities during one of the biggest betting affairs of the entire year.
Best NCAA Betting Lines Today
This is where you can find each and every March Madness betting line. Our tool is consistently updated, so you can be sure you're making decisions based off the most updated lines, no matter how many games are scheduled.
That all of these odds can be found in spot, right on top of one another, also allows you to spot better opportunities in comparison to other games—the advantages of which cannot be overstated.
Nevertheless, always make sure you're cross-checking these lines with those at your actual sportsbook. Odds vary by website, and while most adhere to the same general numbers, you'll need to know whether your usual place is proving to be an exception.
Once you've double-checked the numbers, you should then place a bet as soon as possible. With so many games on the docket, the lines will move often and quickly. Oddsmakers have to adjust for an unpredictable amount of action on one bet or team, and low-spread matchups—think -2 and lower—can swap favorites and underdogs more than once before opening tip.
Best College Basketball Betting Picks
Looking for some tips on how to discern the best-possible March Madness picks?
Well, you have come to the right place! Peruse this how-to list of advice topics, each of which is aimed at better arming you to make quick, efficient and hopefully winning bets!
Don't Swing for the Fences in the First Round
Look, we get it: The odds on a No. 16 seed upending a No. 1 seed, or a No. 15 seed surging through a No. 2 seed, are often too good to pass up.
Pass on them anyway.
Upsets happen, but unless you've watched both squads in a particular first-round date extensively, don't place a good amount of your chips in a surprise outcome. Even if you feel strongly, it's often best to wait out the underdog in question, to see whether they have enough juice to make it out of the first round. Remember, it's often the bets make that you regret more than the wagers you don't.
This isn't to say you should go completely chalk in the first round. That's a solid, if slightly flawed, system when you are dealing with the No. 13 seeded vs. No. 4 seeded matchups and higher.
If you are really itching to swing for the fence in the first, bet a beyond inconsequential amount you expect to lose. That, or target huge spreads (+15 and higher) you don't believe the favorite in question will cover.
Take Historical Results Seriously
They say history is destined to repeat itself, and that subject matter holds true during March Madness.
Your biggest underdog investments should be focused on teams that place between fifth and ninth in their respective brackets. Squads that rank lower are unlikely to go deep into the tournament. Even if they do, you can all but guarantee they won't be making it to the championship round.
Dating back almost 40 years, to 1979, no team seeded lower than eighth has surived the Final Four. Take this into account when picking an underdog—both on the futures front, as well as during late-tournament single-game plays.
Conversely, you shouldn't become too enamored with No. 1 seeds. The returns on their futures usually aren't great, and they are by no means assured of making it to the championship round.
It doesn't matter that, entering 2017, seven of the last 10 champions were first-place teams. You're dealing with four top-seeded teams per tournament. That's a pool of 40 options during this 10-year span, and seldom do two No. 1 seeds make it to the final show.
To wit: Of those 40 No. 1 seeds since 2007, 10 have made it to the championship round. That's a hit rate of 25 percent—not nearly high enough for you to funnel most of your purse into the top-ranked outfits without considering other seeds.
Milk the Hot Hand
Because March Madness doesn't traffic in best-of-seven series, place stock in streaky squads that have played well through the first two rounds and into the Sweet 16.
This shouldn't guide every single one of your bets, but we're dealing with a tournament that favors immediacy and rewards scorching-hot streaks.
You should be doing the same thing with your single-game wagers in later rounds.