March Madness is one of the biggest betting events of the year and it has never been easier to place a wager at one of New Jersey’s many online sportsbooks.
March Madness betting brings an unrivaled level of excitement and money as the best young basketball stars in the country face off in a 64-team (68 if you count the play-in games) tournament to crown the NCAA’s top team. While many people enter brackets into office pools or online tournaments, the odds of hitting a perfect bracket are about 1 in 2.4 trillion so you are likely better off betting on individual games.
Betting on March Madness odds is easy once you get the hang of it. Here is a quick rundown of how to read NCAA basketball odds and the types of bets you can place.
March Madness Odds
Basketball betting is like football betting. Each game has a favorite, an underdog, and a spread. A spread is the margin of victory that the favorite (the team denoted with a minus sign) must win by for your bet to win. This is used to entice bets on underdogs (the team denoted with a plus sign), particularly in heavily lopsided matchups. For example:
Duke -6 (-110)
Michigan State +6 (-110)
In this case, Duke is a 6-point favorite, which means they must win by at least 7 points for your bet to win. A 6-point win would be a draw or “push,” so you would get your money back, while a 5-point win or lower would be a loss. On the other hand, Michigan State can lose by up to 5 points and you would still win your bet.
The -110 denotes the ratio between your bet and the payout. You would have to bet $110 on either team to win $100. Nearly all bets come with a “vig,” which is the percentage the sportsbook takes for facilitating the bet, which is where that other $10 goes.
In cases of more even matchups, you can bet using the moneyline. This shows the ratio between your wager and the potential payout. For example:
North Carolina -150
Ohio State +140
In this case, North Carolina is a significant favorite so you would have to wager $150 to win $100. Ohio State is a sizeable underdog, so a $100 bet would win you $140 if they Buckeyes pull it off.
How to Bet on March Madness
Once you get the hang of the two main types of bets, you can start playing with other bet types.
Over/under betting allows you to wager on whether the final combined point total between the two teams will be higher or lower than the total projected by oddsmakers.
You can also wager on a wide variety of prop bets, like whether a certain player will score over or under 30 points or what the score will be at halftime.
You don’t have to wait until March to bet on March Madness. Futures bets allow you to predict the tournament winner as soon as the previous season ends.