March Madness is one of the most highly anticipated sporting events in the United States. The excitement of the NCAA basketball tournament is unparalleled as a multi-week event.
The other factor that fuels fan interest is the growing ability to legally bet on the games along with proposition bets. Las Vegas sports books are packed with bettors hoping for big payoffs on various games they choose to bet. And the growth of online betting and spread of legalized betting has created huge betting interest in the tournament.
So, if you’re one of the March Madness fans who also likes to bet on the games, here are some things to keep in mind as you are making betting decisions.
- Research the teams and their players: Before placing your bets, do your research on the teams and their players. Look at their past performances, their strengths, and weaknesses, as well as any injuries or suspensions that may affect their play.
- Look for value bets: Instead of always betting on the favorite team to win, look for value bets that have better odds but still have a good chance of winning.
- Follow the money: Pay attention to the betting trends and line movements. If the majority of the bets are going in one direction, it could be a sign to follow the money and bet on that team.
- Bet with your head, not your heart: It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of March Madness and bet on your favorite team, but try to be objective and make informed decisions based on the data.
- Manage your bankroll: Set a budget for how much you’re willing to bet and stick to it. Don’t chase losses by making bigger bets and risking more money.
- Consider prop bets: In addition to traditional bets, consider prop bets that offer unique ways to bet on the game, such as the total number of points scored or the player who will score the first basket.
Therefore, the overall key to successful March Madness betting is to do your research, manage your bankroll, and make informed decisions based on the data.
How Often Does the Favorite Win Their First Games in March Madness?
The “favorite” in the first game of March Madness can be subjective, as there are usually multiple games happening simultaneously and the favored team may differ depending on the betting lines and the opinions of experts and analysts. However, historically speaking, higher-seeded teams tend to be favored over lower-seeded teams in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
According to NCAA.com, from 1985 to 2019, No. 1 seeds won their first round game 100% of the time, while No. 2 seeds won 94% of their first round games. No. 3 seeds won 79% of their first round games, and No. 4 seeds won 69% of their first round games. The win percentages drop off as the seeds get lower, with No. 5 seeds winning 64% of their first round games, No. 6 seeds winning 59% of their first round games, and so on.
It’s worth noting, however, that upsets do happen and lower-seeded teams can and do pull off wins against higher-seeded teams in the first round of March Madness. So while higher-seeded teams may be considered the favorites, there is always a chance for surprises and unexpected outcomes.
Should I Consider Parlay Bets?
Parlay bets for March Madness can be a tempting option as they offer the potential for a large payout with a relatively small bet. However, they can also be a risky approach to betting as they require multiple selections to be correct in order to win.
While parlay bets can offer the potential for a high payout, they also carry a higher degree of risk than traditional single bets. If just one selection in the parlay is incorrect, the entire bet is lost. This can make it difficult to consistently make a profit with parlay bets, especially when betting on a large number of selections.
For this reason, it’s generally recommended to use parlay bets in moderation and only when you have a high degree of confidence in each selection. It can also be helpful to consider using parlay bets in combination with other betting strategies, such as researching the teams and managing your bankroll effectively.
Ultimately, the decision to use parlay bets for March Madness will depend on your personal betting style and risk tolerance. If you’re comfortable with the increased risk and potential for a high payout, then parlay bets may be worth considering. However, if you prefer a more conservative approach to betting, then sticking with traditional single bets may be a better option.
How Do Two Team Parlays Work?
In a two-team betting parlay, a bettor is required to pick the winners of two games or events. The two selections are combined into one single bet, with the odds of each selection multiplied together to determine the overall payout of the bet.
For example, let’s say a bettor wants to place a two-team parlay bet on the outcomes of two basketball games. The first game has the Los Angeles Lakers playing against the Brooklyn Nets, and the second game has the Golden State Warriors playing against the Houston Rockets.
If the bettor picks UCLA and North Carolina, for example, to win their respective games, their two selections are combined into one single bet. If both selections are correct, the bettor wins the parlay bet. However, if either selection is incorrect, the entire parlay bet is lost.
The payout for a two-team parlay bet depends on the odds of each selection. The odds of each selection are multiplied together to determine the overall payout of the bet. For example, if the Lakers have odds of -200 (meaning a $200 bet wins $100) and the Warriors have odds of -150 (meaning a $150 bet wins $100), the parlay bet would have odds of -300 (meaning a $300 bet wins $100).
It’s important to note that parlays can offer a higher potential payout than individual bets, but they also have a higher risk since all selections must be correct in order to win the bet.
Can I Bet the Over/Under and the Spread or Money Line on the Same Game in a 2 team Parlay?
Yes, you can bet on both the spread or money line and the over/under of the same game in a two-team parlay. Betting the spread, money line and the over/under are common types of bets for a single game and can be combined to create a parlay bet.
For example, let’s say you want to place a two-team parlay bet in a game between Iowa State and Kentucky. You could bet on Iowa State to cover the 3 point spread, and also bet on the total points scored in the game to be over 88 points. If both of these bets are correct, you win the parlay bet. However, if either bet is incorrect, the entire parlay bet is lost.
It’s important to note that the odds for each individual bet in the parlay are multiplied together to determine the overall payout of the parlay bet. So if the odds for the Cyclones to cover the spread are -110 and the odds for the over/under to be over 88 points are -120, the parlay bet would have odds of -264 (meaning a $264 bet would win $100 if both bets are correct).
What Is the Best Bet During March Madness?
There really is no “best bet” on March Madness as the tournament is unpredictable and upsets happen frequently. But, there are some strategies that may increase your chances of making a successful bet:
- Do your research: Look at the teams’ records, stats, and performances throughout the season to help you make informed decisions.
- Pay attention to seeding: While upsets can and do happen, higher-seeded teams generally have a better chance of winning their games.
- Consider the point spread: The point spread is a way to level the playing field and make the bet more competitive. Look at the point spread for each game and consider how the teams match up against each other.
- Look for value bets: Look for games where the point spread or the odds may be skewed in favor of one team over another. Sometimes, the underdog can be a good value bet.
- Consider betting on the tournament winner: Betting on the winner of the entire tournament can be a good way to increase your chances of making a profit, as the odds may be higher than individual game bets.
There is no surefire way to win a bet on March Madness since the tournament is known for its upsets and surprises. And it’s important to gamble responsibly and only bet what you can afford to lose. Too many bettors get carried away and lose far more than they intended or can afford to lose.
Common Mistakes Bettors Make When Betting on College Basketball
- Overvaluing rankings: Many people make the mistake of placing too much emphasis on rankings when betting on college basketball. While rankings can be a useful tool for evaluating teams, they should not be the sole factor in your decision-making process.
- Focusing too much on offense: Another common mistake is placing too much emphasis on a team’s offensive performance. While scoring is important, defense and rebounding are also critical components of a winning team.
- Ignoring home court advantage: Home court advantage can be a significant factor in college basketball games. Teams tend to play better at home, and the crowd can provide an extra boost of energy and motivation.
- Not doing enough research: Successful sports bettors do their homework. They research teams, players, and coaches, and they stay up to date on the latest news and developments in the sport.
- Chasing losses: Finally, it is important to avoid the temptation to chase losses. This means that you should not increase your bets in an attempt to recoup losses from previous bets. Stick to your betting strategy and don’t let emotions cloud your judgment.
Some Possible Strategies for Betting on March Madness
There are several strategies that can be effective when betting on March Madness:
- Focus on underdogs: March Madness is known for its upsets, so betting on underdogs can be a smart strategy. Look for teams with strong defensive play, as well as those that have played well down the stretch of the season.
- Look at historical trends: Certain trends tend to hold true in the NCAA Tournament, such as the prevalence of upsets in the early rounds. Look at historical data to identify these trends and use them to inform your betting decisions.
- Consider the strength of the conference: The conference that a team comes from can be a good indicator of how well they will perform in the tournament. Teams from strong conferences are often battle-tested and have faced tougher competition throughout the season.
- Pay attention to injuries: Injuries can be a major factor in March Madness. Make sure to stay up-to-date on the health status of key players, as even a minor injury can significantly impact a team’s chances of winning.
- Bet within your means: As with all sports betting, it is important to bet within your means and to never risk more than you can afford to lose. Stick to a budget and a betting strategy, and don’t let the excitement of the tournament cloud your judgment.