March Madness Betting

March Madness


2020-21 NCAA Basketball Betting Preview

If you’re an active member of society in today’s world, your life has undoubtedly been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that has wreaked havoc on our daily routines. Whether you’re having challenges buying groceries, or you’ve had to make major adjustments at your job, the effect of the coronavirus has been far reaching and consequential. In hard times like these, sports fans tend to seek comfort and refuge in the wonderful space of athletic competition as we huddle around our television sets or attend the contests in person. Witnessing these elite athletes push themselves to the limit can fill our otherwise non-eventful days and bring us closer together as we cheer for (or against) one team or another.

Alas, on Thursday, March 12, that all changed as most major sports leagues, competitions, and events have cancelled or suspended all activities for the foreseeable future. It was a necessary measure by all accounts, but one that leaves a void in those of us who believe this time of year is possibly the most exciting with the amount of sporting options out there, not the least of which is college basketball.

College basketball is king in March. Whether you’re into sports or not, you’ve certainly heard the term March Madness and are likely aware that it refers to possibly the greatest tournament in all sports – the NCAA division I men’s basketball tournament. The single elimination format of the competition lends itself to an incredible amount of drama, intrigue, and heartbreak. Now that the remainder of the 2019-20 college basketball season been cancelled, where do we turn in the absence of our habitual March haven? As we socially distance ourselves from one another, while missing the squeaking noises emitted by the sharp cuts of the shoes on the hardwood, we’re left to simply look forward to the next season with 2021 NCAA basketball odds and that’s exactly what we’re going to do in this installment.

Because the action was cancelled prior to the major conference tournaments, some are wondering what this means for next year’s eligibility. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, among others, has called on the NCAA to give this year’s seniors another chance at postseason play since they weren’t able to properly conclude their college career on one of the brighter stages in sports. There’s a lot of uncertainty in all of sports right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate about next season’s favourites, contenders, and underdogs when it comes to the 2021 odds to win the national championship.


2021 NCAA Basketball Favourites


Virginia Cavaliers +900 Odds to Win March Madness

Ranked 17th in the country at the time of the cancellation, the Hoos were on pace for a solid campaign this season, but certainly not the success to which they’ve grown accustomed over the last few years. Despite finishing on an eight-game winning streak, they were very fortunate to come away with that many victories as seven of the eight were wins by three points or fewer. Two of Virginia’s top four contributors this year are seniors – Mamadi Diakite (13.7 PPG) and Braxton Key (9.9 PPG) – and should they gain an extra year of eligibility and decide to come back, this will be a formidable squad in 2020-21. Even if that doesn’t happen, sophomore Kihei Clark (10.8 PPG) and junior Jay Huff (8.5 PPG on 57.1 FG%) should be able to step up and lead a capable squad next season. While this team continues to dominate defensively, giving up the fewest points in the nation at 52.4 per contest, their offense has once again been anemic at just 57 points per game this season, ranking third to last – 348th out of 350 squads in Division I college basketball. They must do better on offense next season if they’re to have a chance at the championship, which the oddsmakers believe they can accomplish, tagging them as the title co-favourites as of press time at +900 NCAA basketball betting odds.


Gonzaga Bulldogs +900 Odds to Win March Madness

With the nation’s best record of 29-2, the second-ranked ‘Zags were enjoying a phenomenal season thanks in no small part to the efforts of sophomore Filip Petrusev. The Serb was averaging 17.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game on an efficient 56.2% shooting percentage and there’s no reason why he can’t help Gonzaga to another excellent season next year. He won’t be alone, however, as the Bulldogs have inked the country’s eighth-ranked recruiting class according to 247 Sports, including a top-10 recruit in Jalen Suggs from Minneapolis. Mark Few will likely be losing productive seniors (again, pending NCAA’s decision on eligibility) Killian Tillie, Admon Gilder, and Ryal Woolridge, all of whom made double-digit scoring contributions this season, but junior Corey Kispert (13.9 PPG) is expected to be back to help Petrusev carry the load. Gonzaga’s NCAA basketball lines are pegged at +900 as of this writing.


Kansas Jayhawks +1000 Odds to Win March Madness

Ranked first in the nation at the time of the season cancellation, it’s not a stretch to imagine that 28-3 Kansas will once again have a strong team in 2020-21, though a lot will depend on whether sophomore Devon Dotson, who led the team in scoring at 18.1 points per game this season, will be back next year, or opt to declare for the NBA draft. The presence of senior Udoka Azubuike (13.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per game) in the paint has been intimidating for opponents throughout his career, so that’s something coach Bill Self will need to replace next season if seniors aren’t granted extra eligibility. The Jayhawks aren’t too far behind the two co-favourites when it comes to NCAA championship odds at +1000.


2021 NCAA Basketball Contenders


San Diego State Aztecs +2800 Odds to Win March Madness

With just two losses and 30 wins this season, the Aztecs were a surprise breakout team that could be poised for another outstanding campaign next season. Their top two scorers in Malachi Flynn and Matt Mitchell are juniors who are expected to be back for their senior year. That will help improve San Diego State’s case for championship contention at +2800 NCAA odds.


Villanova Wildcats +2800 Odds to Win March Madness

Having been on a wild ride with many ups and downs this season, including a win over top-ranked Kansas on December 21, the 24-7 Wildcats are hoping for another successful year in 2020-21. Villanova is only two years removed from their 2018 national championship season, so coach Jay Wright is no stranger to getting it done during March Madness. It’s very likely that top scorer Saddiq Bey could declare for the 2020 NBA draft, but there’s still plenty of talent elsewhere on this roster, which is why this team has a realistic shot at +2800 title odds.


Michigan Wolverines +3300 Odds to Win March Madness

Despite being unranked as of press time, Michigan (19-12) has a strong history of college basketball success and former NBA star and current head coach Juwan Howard is looking to bring that success back to Ann Arbor. Howard signed the fourth-ranked recruiting class with five commits, including a five-star player in Isaiah Todd and three four-star recruits. Michigan will also bring back this year’s top scorer Isaiah Livers (12.9 PPG), which makes them an intriguing proposition at +3300 college basketball odds.


2021 NCAA Basketball Underdogs


Connecticut Huskies +5000 Odds to Win March Madness

Speaking of rich program traditions, you’d be hard pressed to find many teams with more success than the UConn Huskies when it comes to college basketball. They’ve lifted the championship trophy four times – all within the last 21 years – which is the most in the country during this stretch. They could be worth an underdog shot at +5000 championship odds.


Purdue Boilermakers +5500 Odds to Win March Madness

Despite a pedestrian 16-15 year and finding themselves ranked towards the bottom of the Big Ten conference standings, the 2020-21 Boilermakers could be the San Diego State of this year. Five of their top six scorers from this season are underclassmen, and they’re adding the 22nd-ranked recruiting class, including two four-star recruits next season, so they could be worth your attention at +5500 odds.


Tennessee Volunteers +5500 Odds to Win March Madness

The 17-14 Vols weren’t going far this season, but head coach Rick Barnes is looking at a lot of upside for next year, signing the fifth-ranked class in the nation, including two top-25 five-star recruits in Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson. Look for a young and energetic squad out of Knoxville eager to prove themselves in the upcoming season.



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March Madness Betting Guide

The College Basketball Playoffs, commonly referred to as March Madness, are some of the most exciting playoffs in all of sports due to the unpredictable nature, hype and culture of the tournament. The top 68 teams in the nation earn a coveted spot in the prestigious competition either by winning their conference championship or getting chosen by the selection committee as at-large bids. The eventual winner is decided through a single-elimination bracket format tournament. There are 32 conference champions that receive automatic bids and 36 at-large selections whose participation is determined by the committee. We’ll get you ready for betting on the March Madness odds board by discussing the different bet types available to you to enhance your college basketball betting experience this spring.


March Madness Point Spread Betting

When it comes to the college basketball betting lines, spread betting is the most popular way to get in the action. With spread betting, the team that is favoured to win the game is given a certain number of points that they have to win by to be considered a winning bet. This is called the spread, and the odds of betting on either team using the spread are fairly even.

For example, if Virginia is playing Auburn after both teams have gotten through their first two round matchups, the Sweet 16 spread might be something like this:

Virginia Cavaliers -7.5
Auburn Tigers +7.5

The negative sign means that Virginia is a 7.5-point favourite over Auburn. In order for a Virginia point spread bet to pay out, they would have to cover the spread by winning by 8 or more points. Auburn, on the other hand, would have to win the game or lose by no more than 7 points for a Tigers bet to win. If the NCAA tournament lines have deemed Virginia as a flat 8-point favourite and they win by exactly 8 points, the bet is considered a push and you would get your initial bet returned to you, regardless of which team you wagered on.

You also have the option to “buy points” with March Madness betting. In the above example, if you believe the spread is right where it should be, you can pay a small premium to buy a half-point and have the odds shift from -7.5 to -7 if betting on Virginia, or from +7.5 to +8 if betting on Auburn. The odds might shift from -110 to -120, however, so you would have to pay $120 (instead of $110 if you don’t buy points) to win $100. Buying points increases your chances of getting your money back.

Sometimes, the two teams are so even that the March Madness lines will have no favourite and thus no point spread. This is called a Pick ‘Em game, which essentially results in a moneyline bet due to the lack of a spread.


March Madness Betting the Moneyline

Some bettors enjoy betting the moneyline due to its simplicity. With a moneyline bet, you are betting on one thing only – which team will win the game. Because of a lack of point spread, the odds themselves change to reflect the likelihood of each team winning the tilt. A bet on the underdog pays out more, while a safer bet on the favourite would require a premium. Using the above example and assuming Virginia got through Auburn in the Elite 16 round and are now facing Ohio State, the Elite 8 odds for the moneyline may look like this:


Virginia Cavaliers -265 
Ohio State Buckeyes +225


If you’re betting on Virginia, you have to wager $265 to win $100, as they’re the favourites. Ohio State, on the other hand, will pay out more if the bet is a winner, returning $225 on an initial risk of $100. Moneyline betting is an easy way to get into the action if you’re a beginner, or simply prefer wagering on the game outcome straight up.


March Madness Over Under Betting 

The Over/Under betting (also known as total betting) is another simple form of betting that makes the March Madness experience more enjoyable. You can bet on the total number of points scored in the game or half. For example, if Ohio State pulled off the upset over Virginia and is now facing their Big 10 rival Michigan State, the Final Four odds may have the total set at 159 total points. You can bet the Under and root for a sloppy, turnover-prone game with excellent defence, or the Over and hope for a plethora of made three-pointers with defenders missing most of their assignments. If you enjoy predicting the total number of points scored, this wager is right up your alley.


March Madness Futures Betting 

As opposed to betting on the outcome of a single game, futures betting allows you to bet on a macro level by predicting how a certain team might do during the season, or how far they will go in the playoffs. This includes wagering on NCAA Championship odds. You can bet during the regular season or once the tournament has begun, with the odds constantly updating throughout the season and the playoffs.

For example, if you believe Virginia’s odds to win NCAA Championship provide great value at +2200, you can make that bet and hope for the Cavaliers to bring home the bacon. If you’re a big picture sports fan, you should consider futures betting.


March Madness Prop Bets – What is a Prop Bet?

Prop betting is another exciting way to stay engaged during March Madness that allows you to wager on events that are related to the game(s) but may not necessarily impact the final result. These betting options could be anything from tournament MVP or how many points a certain player will score to more fun and even silly events like whether the total points scored in a game will be an odd or even number.

Continuing with our Ohio State vs. Michigan State example, a prop bet could be the total number of points the Spartans get from their top scorer, Miles Bridges, in their Final Four matchup. The total might be set at 19.5 points, for example, so if you believe he’ll explode in the biggest game of his career, you would take the Over. If you’re a detail-oriented bettor, prop betting might be for you.


March Madness Parlay Bets – What is a Parlay Bet?

Parlay betting is the ability to combine multiple bets into one. This bet results in higher winnings than if the bets were made individually because bet profits are reinvested into the next

Using the Virginia/Ohio State matchup from above, let’s suppose the odds are as follows:

Moneyline Odds:
Virginia Cavaliers -265;
Ohio State Buckeyes +225

Total Points Scored:
Over 132 (-110)
Under 132 (-110)

Let’s say you believe Virginia will win the game, but for them to do this, it has to be a low scoring game. Their offense simply isn’t potent enough to win otherwise. If you wager $50 on each outcome individually ($100 total), you will end up with $164.32: your initial $100 investment and a profit of $64.32. However, if you parlay the two bets together, you’ll have amassed $262.95, which includes a profit of $162.95. Just like the principle of compounding interest/returns, your profits look much better in a parlay bet.

Unsurprisingly, these bets are also riskier, as all of your bets need to win in order for the parlay to be successful. If betting on multiple events is your cup of tea, you should check out parlay betting for higher rewards.

March Madness Teaser Bets – What is a Teaser Bet?

Teaser bets are like buying points and parlay betting rolled into one. You can adjust the odds with a teaser bet in your favour by 4, 4.5, 5, or 6 points when betting on multiple outcomes in the same bet. The higher the teaser amount, the more of a premium you have to pay for the higher probability of winning the wager.

Let’s suppose you’re interested in two Sweet 16 games and the NCAA tournament lines have the following:

Virginia Cavaliers -7.5 (-110)
Auburn Tigers +7.5 (-110)

Villanova Wildcats -5 (-110)
Oklahoma Sooners +5 (-110)

You believe that Virginia’s defence is too much for Auburn and that Villanova’s defence will effectively zero-in on the Sooner scoring machine Trae Young, making him a non-factor in the contest. However, you want to feel a bit more comfortable about making the wager. You can place a 4-point teaser bet on Virginia and Villanova, shifting their odds to -3.5 and -1 respectively. The payout will be even odds, which is less of a return than if you didn’t buy the extra points.

If you enjoy having a bit of a cushion and don’t mind foregoing the higher earnings you could have with a regular parlay bet, you may decide to opt for some teaser action.

March Madness Live Betting

Many of the betting types described above aren’t only available before the game has started – you can place the wagers as the game is going on as well. With live betting, odds shift based on what’s happened in the game so far and if you catch them at the right time, it could yield a hefty payout. For example, if Virginia is down by 12 points to Auburn at halftime but you believe they’re a great second-half team and will make a comeback after the break, you can buy them while their odds are down. Their pre-game odds may have been -330 but are now +145. Live betting is typically available for bets such as spread, moneyline, and points total betting to name a few.

March Madness Betting Tips 

When deciding which teams or outcomes to bet on, it might seem tempting to bet on underdogs and long shots, as the payoff for these wagers is higher. While that’s certainly the case, remember that it’s higher for a reason – these events are less likely to happen than the bets that have a minus sign in front of them. Professional bettors win more frequently betting on the favourites. The profit won’t blow you away, but you might come out with more cash in the end.

Another good guideline to follow is to combine events that are likely to happen, like betting on Virginia coupled with a low points total in the example described earlier. If you can bet on events that have a higher probability of occurring if another event takes place (ex. a star has to score many points for his team to win), it might be a good idea to place a parlay bet on the outcomes.

Bodog offers a wide variety of betting options for this year’s tournament, so make sure you check out all the March Madness lines before deciding on your ultimate betting strategy. There are many fun bets you can make to supplement your college basketball watching experience, so make sure to take advantage of everything our sportsbook has to offer. Happy betting.


*Odds as of March 24, 2019


Bet on NCAA March Madness