March Madness Betting Strategy

It’s always important to enter the NCAA March Madness tournament with a betting strategy. So many sports enthusiasts, both casual and religious, will be wagering on the frenetic slate of games for the entire month, and you need to separate yourself from the pack—and certainly the below-average pack. Indeed, sportsbetting lore is littered with tales of the random gambler who played some long-shot odds and won despite arming himself or herself with minimal information. [+]

They didn’t watch the regular season unfold, nor did they pay an inordinate amount of attention to the early portion of the March Madness tournament. And yet, in the end, they still came out on top.

Those stories, make no mistake, are the exception to the rule, not the rule itself. If you don’t pay close enough attention to the college basketball season, both before and during March Madness, you are beyond unlikely to come out ahead at the sportsooks. 

For every anecdote featuring the lucky gambler, there are hundreds more about bettors who were burned by a lack of information or faulty planning.

Do not be one of those gamblers. In fact, you’re already on your way to avoiding such perils by coming here. Follow the advice we provide below and you will have a better chance at preparing yourself for a successful foray into the relative craziness that is March Madness betting.

March Madness Betting Tips

The first step toward successful March Madness betting is to keep track of the game lines. This can be a stressful task, given that the first two rounds of play specifically feature unending action that makes it difficult to synthesize all the information. [+]

But you can power through by simply taking stock of the lines here. These odds are usually accurate, and they’re listed in one convenient place.

Now, lines do vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, so don’t get caught up in the aggregated numbers you see listed elsewhere. Oddsmakers are also forced to adjust the lines after initially publishing them based on an unanticipated amount of action laid down on one team or particular bet.

These tweaks, however major, needn’t phase you. Simply double-check game odds at your preferred sportsbook before making any sweeping decisions, and try to be as quick as possible when submitting wagers. This will safeguard you against making investments using potentially outdated information.

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Away Score Home Money Line
Monday 06 January
FT UL Lafayette 81 - 73 Appalachian State +310 -370
FT Colgate Raiders 70 - 65 Army Black Knights -303 +250
FT Louisiana-Monroe 64 - 93 Coastal Carolina +325 -370
AOT Florida A&M 90 - 97 North Carolina A&T +140 -161
FT Georgia Southern 73 - 79 Little Rock +127 -145
FT SCS 63 - 77 Morgan State Bears +200 -238
FT Bethune-Cookman 102 - 73 Howard Bison -370 +310
FT Norfolk State 82 - 59 Coppin State Eagles -110 -110
FT Troy Trojans 71 - 63 TSM +475 -667
FT Georgia State 87 - 90 Arkansas State -161 +145
FT South Alabama 66 - 54 Texas-Arlington +225 -256
FT Alcorn State Braves 95 - 80 Texas Southern +450 -588
FT Alabama A&M 66 - 57 Jackson State +310 -370
FT Alabama State 63 - 68 Grambling Tigers +360 -455
FT West Virginia 55 - 41 Oklahoma State +103 -108
FT Southern Jaguars 54 - 64 Prairie View A&M +425 -556
Tuesday 07 January
South Florida Bulls 19:00 East Carolina -182 +160
Western Michigan 19:00 Akron Zips +575 -769
Ohio State Buckeyes 19:00 Maryland Terrapins +125 -145
Rider Broncs 19:00 Quinnipiac Bobcats -145 +135
Eastern Michigan 19:00 Ohio Bobcats +185 -217
JOH 19:00 Brown Bears
Virginia Cavaliers 19:00 Boston College -417 +335
SPP 19:00 Cornell Big Red
Toledo Rockets 19:00 Kent State +155 -161
Houston Cougars 19:00 Temple Owls -145 +135
Buffalo Bulls 19:00 Ball State +165 -185
Providence Friars 19:00 Marquette +205 -244
Northern Illinois 19:00 Central Michigan +170 -196
Florida Gators 19:00 South Carolina -189 +170
Penn State 19:00 Rutgers -130 +115
Miami Hurricanes 19:00 Louisville +700 -1111
Miami Redhawks 19:00 Bowling Green +300 -357
Tennessee 19:00 Missouri Tigers +175 -208
Missouri State 20:00 Illinois State +125 -135
Valparaiso 20:00 Southern Illinois +125 -141
Indiana State 20:00 Norther Iowa +280 -345
Iowa Hawkeyes 21:00 Nebraska -417 +334
Baylor Bears 21:00 Texas Tech +150 -169
TCU Horned Frogs 21:00 Kansas State +100 -118
Kentucky Wildcats 21:00 Georgia Bulldogs -164 +154
Mississippi Rebels 21:00 Texas A&M Aggies -156 +140
Loyola-Chicago 21:00 Drake Bulldogs +113 -125
Villanova Wildcats 21:00 Creighton Bluejays +110 -130
Virginia Tech 21:00 Syracuse Orange +165 -189
Utah State Aggies 23:00 Air Force Falcons -333 +270
Fresno State 23:00 New Mexico Lobos +240 -278
Wednesday 08 January
Campbell 18:00 UNC-Asheville
Hampton Pirates 18:00 SCS
St. John's 18:30 Georgetown Hoyas
Winthrop Eagles 19:00 High Point Panthers
E. Tennessee State 19:00 NC-Greensboro
Navy Midshipmen 19:00 Bucknell Bison
Tulsa 19:00 Cincinnati Bearcats
Northwestern 19:00 Indiana Hoosiers
Hartford Hawks 19:00 UMass Lowell
La Salle Explorers 19:00 Massachusetts
Marist Red Foxes 19:00 Fairfield Stags
Bradley Braves 19:00 Evansville
American Eagles 19:00 Army Black Knights
Radford Highlanders 19:00 Gardner-Webb
Duquesne Dukes 19:00 St. Joseph´s Hawks
St. Bonaventure 19:00 George Mason
UMBC Retrievers 19:00 Binghamton Bearcats
Pittsburgh Panthers 19:00 N.C. Tar Heels
Furman Paladins 19:00 Chattanooga Mocs
Davidson Wildcats 19:00 Rhode Island Rams
Notre Dame 19:00 N.C. State Wolfpack
Holy Cross 19:00 Lefayette Leopards
Western Carolina 19:00 VMI Keydets
Lehigh 19:00 Boston Uni. Terries
Loyola-Maryland 19:00 Colgate Raiders
Mississippi State 19:00 Alabama
Maine Black Bears 19:00 New Hampshire
Stony Brook 19:00 Vermont Catamounts
Florida State 19:30 Wake Forest
Longwood Lancers 19:30 Charleston Southern
SLL 19:30 Sam Houston State
TCI 19:30 Stephen F. Austin
Wofford Terriers 19:30 Samford Bulldogs
Nicholls State 20:00 Lamar Cardinals
George Washington 20:00 St. Louis Billikens
Nebraska Omaha 20:00 North Dakota
Kansas Jayhawks 20:00 Iowa State Cyclones
Northwestern State 20:00 Incarnate Word
IPFW Mastodons 20:00 Western Illinois
McNeese State 20:00 Abilene Christian
UCF 20:00 SMM
Central Arkansas 20:00 New Orleans
Seton Hall Pirates 20:30 Xavier Musketeers
San Diego State 21:00 Wyoming Cowboys
Duke Blue Devils 21:00 Georgia Tech
Tulane Green Wave 21:00 Connecticut Huskies
UNLV Rebels 21:00 Boise State Broncos
South Dakota State 21:00 Denver Pioneers
Illinois 21:00 Wisconsin Badgers
Vanderbilt 21:00 Auburn Tigers
Oklahoma Sooners 21:00 Texas Longhorns
Arkansas Razorbacks 21:00 LSU Tigers
Long Beach State 22:00 Northridge Matadors
Nevada Wolf Pack 22:00 San Jose State
Santa Barbara 22:00 Cal Poly Mustangs
CBL 22:00 CSB
Thursday 09 January
Drexel Dragons 18:00 Towson Tigers
Louisiana Tech 19:00 Texas-San Antonio
Delaware 19:00 James Madison Dukes
North Alabama Lions 19:00 Liberty Flames
Louisiana-Monroe 19:00 Georgia Southern
New Jersey Tech 19:00 Jacksonville
UL Lafayette 19:00 Georgia State
Little Rock 19:00 Troy Trojans
Purdue Boilermakers 19:00 Michigan Wolverines
Detroit Titans 19:00 Cleveland State
UNC-Wilmington 19:00 William & Mary
St. Peter's 19:00 Siena Saints
Charleston Cougars 19:00 Elon Phoenix
Oakland 19:00 Youngstown State
Florida Gulf Coast 19:00 North Florida
Wagner Seahawks 19:00 St. Francis (Pa.)
MSV 19:00 Columbia Lions
Memphis Tigers 19:00 Wichita State
SIU-Edwardsville 19:00 Morehead State
Austin Peay 19:00 Tennessee Tech
Sacred Heart 19:00 Fairleigh Dickinson
CBD 19:00 LIU-Brooklyn
St. Francis (N.Y.) 19:00 Robert Morris
Eastern Illinois 19:30 Eastern Kentucky
Kennesaw State Owls 19:30 Lipscomb Bison
Marshall 19:30 Middle Tennessee
Coastal Carolina 20:00 TSM
Western Kentucky 20:00 UAB Blazers
Arkansas State 20:00 South Alabama
Florida Atlantic 20:00 Rice Owls
North Dakota State 20:00 Oral Roberts
Hofstra Pride 20:00 Northeastern
FGP 20:00 North Texas
Appalachian State 20:00 Texas-Arlington
Belmont Bruins 20:15 SMS
Tennessee State 20:30 UT Martin
Southern Miss 21:00 UTEP Miners
Minnesota 21:00 Michigan State
Southern Utah 21:00 Idaho State Bengals
Northern Colorado 21:00 Weber State
Chicago State 21:00 New Mexico State
Murray State Racers 21:00 Jacksonville State
Arizona Wildcats 21:00 Oregon Ducks
Washington Huskies 21:00 Stanford Cardinal
Montana Grizzlies 21:05 Eastern Washington
Montana State 21:30 Idaho Vandals
Hawaii Warriors 22:00 Cal State Fullerton
Gonzaga Bulldogs 22:00 San Diego Torreros
CAL 22:00 UC Davis
Northern Arizona 22:05 Sacramento State
Washington State 22:30 California
Santa Clara Broncos 23:00 San Francisco Dons
Arizona State 23:00 Oregon State
Brigham Young 23:00 St. Mary´s Gaels
Friday 10 January
Pennsylvania 17:00 Princeton Tigers
Canisius 19:00 Monmouth Hawks
Iona Gaels 19:00 Rider Broncs
Maryland Terrapins 19:00 Iowa Hawkeyes
Buffalo Bulls 19:00 Miami Redhawks
Northern Kentucky 19:00 Illinois-Chicago
Wright State 19:00 IUPUI Jaguars
Manhattan Jaspers 19:00 Fairfield Stags
Niagara 19:00 Quinnipiac Bobcats
Ball State 21:00 Akron Zips
Butler Bulldogs 21:00 Providence Friars
Saturday 11 January
Ohio State Buckeyes 12:00 Indiana Hoosiers
DePaul Blue Demons 12:00 St. John's
Georgetown Hoyas 12:00 Villanova Wildcats
Cincinnati Bearcats 12:00 UCF
Alabama 12:00 Kentucky Wildcats
Tulane Green Wave 12:00 Temple Owls
Rutgers 12:00 Illinois
Massachusetts 12:30 Dayton Flyers
Vermont Catamounts 13:00 UMBC Retrievers
Baylor Bears 13:00 Kansas Jayhawks
Army Black Knights 13:00 Boston Uni. Terries
Bowling Green 13:00 Ohio Bobcats
Wagner Seahawks 13:00 Robert Morris
South Carolina 13:00 Tennessee
Lefayette Leopards 13:00 Loyola-Maryland
Creighton Bluejays 14:00 Xavier Musketeers
Detroit Titans 14:00 Youngstown State
Holy Cross 14:00 Bucknell Bison
Campbell 14:00 Radford Highlanders
Samford Bulldogs 14:00 Chattanooga Mocs
Oklahoma State 14:00 TCU Horned Frogs
Fordham Rams 14:00 St. Bonaventure
Louisville 14:00 Notre Dame
Illinois State 14:00 Indiana State
Rhode Island Rams 14:00 VCU
Delaware 14:00 Towson Tigers
Louisiana-Monroe 14:00 Georgia State
N.C. State Wolfpack 14:00 Virginia Tech
SMM 14:00 East Carolina
George Mason 14:00 La Salle Explorers
NCC 14:00 Delaware State
Charleston Cougars 14:00 William & Mary
Wisconsin Badgers 14:15 Penn State
St. Joseph´s Hawks 14:30 Davidson Wildcats
Maine Black Bears 15:00 Albany Great Danes
Coastal Carolina 15:00 Texas-Arlington
Denver Pioneers 15:00 Western Illinois
FGP 15:00 Rice Owls
Eastern Illinois 15:00 Morehead State
Oakland 15:00 Cleveland State
Marshall 15:00 UAB Blazers
Central Michigan 15:30 Kent State
Texas A&M Aggies 15:30 Vanderbilt
Florida Atlantic 16:00 North Texas
Marquette 16:00 Seton Hall Pirates
Norfolk State 16:00 Howard Bison
Southern Miss 16:00 Texas-San Antonio
Evansville 16:00 Loyola-Chicago
North Carolina A&T 16:00 MSH
Drexel Dragons 16:00 James Madison Dukes
Florida Gulf Coast 16:00 Stetson Hatters
SIU-Edwardsville 16:00 Eastern Kentucky
Old Dominion 16:00 Charlotte 49ers
Colgate Raiders 16:00 Navy Midshipmen
Drake Bulldogs 16:00 Valparaiso
Coppin State Eagles 16:00 Bethune-Cookman
Gonzaga Bulldogs 16:00 Loyola Marymount
Duquesne Dukes 16:00 George Washington
Mount St. Mary's 16:00 Bryant Bulldogs
Norther Iowa 16:00 Missouri State
UNC-Wilmington 16:00 Elon Phoenix
Sam Houston State 16:00 Central Arkansas
High Point Panthers 16:00 Presbyterian
Morgan State Bears 16:00 Florida A&M
Syracuse Orange 16:00 Virginia Cavaliers
Houston Cougars 16:00 Tulsa
VMI Keydets 16:00 E. Tennessee State
UL Lafayette 16:00 Georgia Southern
TCI 16:30 Abilene Christian
Eastern Michigan 16:30 Northern Illinois
Clemson Tigers 16:30 N.C. Tar Heels
Fairleigh Dickinson 16:30 LIU-Brooklyn
Northwestern State 16:30 McNeese State
Nebraska Omaha 16:30 South Dakota
Nebraska 16:30 Northwestern
Colorado State Rams 17:00 San Jose State
Appalachian State 17:00 TSM
North Alabama Lions 17:00 Lipscomb Bison
New Jersey Tech 17:00 North Florida
Mercer Bears 17:00 Western Carolina
Austin Peay 17:00 Jacksonville State
Tennessee State 17:00 SMS
Nicholls State 17:00 SLL
Jacksonville 17:00 Liberty Flames
Belmont Bruins 17:00 UT Martin
Troy Trojans 17:00 Arkansas State
New Orleans 17:15 Incarnate Word
Binghamton Bearcats 17:30 UMass Lowell
UNC-Asheville 17:30 Charleston Southern
South Alabama 17:30 Little Rock
Georgia Tech 18:00 Boston College
Georgia Bulldogs 18:00 Auburn Tigers
Western Kentucky 18:00 Middle Tennessee
UMKC Kangaroos 18:00 New Mexico State
Arkansas Razorbacks 18:00 Mississippi Rebels
Texas Tech 18:00 West Virginia
MIS 18:00 Alabama State
Idaho State Bengals 18:00 Northern Arizona
Air Force Falcons 18:00 New Mexico Lobos
Longwood Lancers 18:00 Hampton Pirates
Washington State 18:00 Stanford Cardinal
St. Louis Billikens 18:00 Richmond Spiders
Jackson State 18:30 Alcorn State Braves
Grambling Tigers 18:30 Southern Jaguars
American Eagles 19:00 Lehigh
South Dakota State 19:00 IPFW Mastodons
New Hampshire 19:00 Stony Brook
Western Michigan 19:00 Toledo Rockets
TCB 19:00 Wofford Terriers
San Francisco Dons 19:00 Pacific Tigers
Gardner-Webb 19:00 Winthrop Eagles
NC-Greensboro 19:00 Furman Paladins
Wisconsin-Milwaukee 19:00 Green Bay
St. Francis (N.Y.) 19:00 St. Francis (Pa.)
UNLV Rebels 19:00 Wyoming Cowboys
Arkansas-Pine Bluff 19:00 Alabama A&M
Cal State Fullerton 20:00 CAL
Oklahoma Sooners 20:00 Iowa State Cyclones
Southern Illinois 20:00 Bradley Braves
Portland State 20:00 Montana State
Santa Clara Broncos 20:00 St. Mary´s Gaels
Mississippi State 20:00 LSU Tigers
Nevada Wolf Pack 20:00 Utah State Aggies
CBL 20:00 Grand Canyon
Washington Huskies 20:00 California
Wake Forest 20:00 Duke Blue Devils
Lamar Cardinals 20:00 Houston Baptist
Kansas State 20:00 Texas Longhorns
North Dakota 20:00 Oral Roberts
Florida Gators 20:30 Missouri Tigers
Prairie View A&M 20:30 Texas Southern
Murray State Racers 20:30 Tennessee Tech
Louisiana Tech 21:00 UTEP Miners
Portland Pilots 21:00 Brigham Young
Long Beach State 22:00 Santa Barbara
Northridge Matadors 22:00 Cal Poly Mustangs
Pepperdine Waves 22:00 San Diego Torreros
Boise State Broncos 22:00 San Diego State
Southern California 22:00 UCLA Bruins
Utah Valley 22:00 Seattle Redhawks
Hawaii Warriors 22:00 UC Irvine
Weber State 22:05 Sacramento State
Arizona State 22:30 Oregon Ducks
Sunday 12 January
Michigan State 12:00 Purdue Boilermakers
Wichita State 12:00 Connecticut Huskies
Niagara 13:00 Iona Gaels
Michigan Wolverines 13:00 Minnesota
Canisius 13:00 St. Peter's
Rider Broncs 14:00 Marist Red Foxes
JOH 14:00 Yale Bulldogs
Siena Saints 14:00 Manhattan Jaspers
Monmouth Hawks 14:00 Quinnipiac Bobcats
Northern Kentucky 14:00 IUPUI Jaguars
Memphis Tigers 16:00 South Florida Bulls
Wright State 16:12 Illinois-Chicago
Utah Utes 18:00 Colorado Buffaloes
Pittsburgh Panthers 18:00 Miami Hurricanes
Arizona Wildcats 22:00 Oregon State

How To Win Your March Madness Bets

Ranking as a winner during March Madness isn’t just about the bets you make. Oftentimes it’s about the bets you dont’ make. We offer you some general rules below, each of which will help put you in the best possible position to succeed when hitting up your favorite sportsbooks.

Resist Urge to Bet on Heavy Underdogs in the First Round

Yes, choosing underdogs is an important part of successful March Madness betting. But do yourself a favor and don’t get carried away.

You won’t see a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1 seed in the first round. Ditto goes for a No. 15 seed against a No. 2 seed. The same logic can be applied to No. 3 seeds facing No. 14 seeds. And so on and so forth.

While these upsets have happened in the past, you don’t want to start the tournament off by heavily investing in the rare exceptions. If you have extensively watched a No. 15 seed throughout the regular season and know the No. 2 seed it’s matched up with isn’t anything special, then you’re free to submit a wager. And if you’re betting a negligible amount you plan on losing—that you maybe specifically set away for these long-shot moneylines—this is fine, too.

But you don’t want to use early-round underdogs as your primary options. That might change should they survive into the Sweet 16 or beyond. Right now, you’re better off sticking with what you know from the regular season, in addition to what you know about the rarity behind such drastic first-round upsets.

Likewise, Don’t Get Seduced by Betting Chalk

Rolling with the top-seeded teams in every matchup isn’t just a proclivity of uninformed bettors. Wise sports gamblers get caught up in the regular-season hype that fuels a No. 1 seed team as well.

This isn’t always detrimental. After all, seven of the last NCAA championships entered the March Madness bracket as a top-seeded squad.

But there are four top-seeded squads, so your odds of picking the right one are 25 percent—and that’s assuming a No. 1 seed is even destined to be champion.

Going chalk also implies that all four No. 1 seeds reach the Final Four. And that almost never happens, which ensures your bracket and/or betting strategy is doomed to bust.

Nothing changes when specifically looking at the National Championship tilt. You’re seldom dealing with two No. 1 seeds. It’s happened twice over the last 10 years, and only three times over the last two decades.

Rather than banking on first-place teams to get the job done, either before or during the tournament, consider researching some light underdogs that fall between fifth and ninth place inside their resepctive brackets. Investing in chalk outcomes might get you past the first round—plus the second round if you’re lucky—but you won’t survive the month if you get seduced by the cursory appeal of betting on the top-most seeds.

Favor March Madness Results

Regular-season performances matter when betting during March Madness. They’re your sole means of gambling in the first round, and they remain super valuable when placing wagers once the field is winnowed down to 32 teams.

But you have to weight what happens through those first two rounds more than anything once you get to the Sweet 16.

If Team A played Team B in the regular season, then yes, that’s a past result you can place stock in during the Sweet 16. But teams get hot when they’re tasked with winning only six straight games. Chances are most brackets will be busted by the time the Sweet 16 rolls around, and you’ll need to take surprise teams seriously, judging them not on how they fared during the regular season, but based off what they’ve done since beginning college basketball’s big dance.