March Madness Betting

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March Madness Odds Tracker

Following four (or five for UCLA) exhilarating rounds of NCAA tournament action, the Final Four has been set, with the semi-finals taking place on Saturday, April 3. We’ll get the pleasure of watching Houston take on Baylor and UCLA face Gonzaga for the right to play in the national championship game on Monday. 

The single-elimination bracket format often yields a plethora of twists and turns throughout the event, and this year’s iteration didn’t disappoint. Notching two overtime victories, UCLA is just the fifth No. 11 seed ever to make it this far in the tournament and just the second First Four team to do so, with the other example set by VCU in 2011. Let’s take a deeper look into each surviving squad’s March Madness lines to get you ready for the semi-final tilts. 

March Madness Betting Preview: The Current Favourites 

Gonzaga Bulldogs –200 Odds to Win March Madness  

Wearing the favourites hat all season long hasn’t seemed to bother the Gonzaga Bulldogs. They’ve looked just as comfortable in big tournament moments on the hardwood as when they were competing in their West Coast Conference backyard. 

Some experts hypothesized that USC’s size on defense, courtesy of the Mobley brothers, may have given the Zags trouble in the Elite 8, but Drew Timme didn’t shy away from that challenge. The Texan sophomore was nothing short of outstanding, especially early on in the game, taking his funky big man moves right to the heart of the Trojans’ defensive strength, and finishing with 23 hard-earned points. 

The 85-66 dominant victory over USC proved that 30-0 Gonzaga can morph its game into different styles depending on what’s needed to overcome the opponent. Gonzaga will face UCLA as 14-point favourites in the Final Four, with a –1100 moneyline, which are mind blowing March Madness odds at this stage of the tournament. 


Baylor Bears +275 Odds to Win March Madness  

Baylor’s wins haven’t been as dominant as Gonzaga’s, with their Elite 8 victory against Arkansas ending in an 81-72 affair, but the team will gladly take it to reach their first Final Four since 1950. The Bears bested the Razorbacks in almost every category, with their efficient three-point shooting percentage of 53.3% making the greatest difference. 

Scott Drew’s squad heads into Final Four action as a 5-point favourite (–225 moneyline) over Houston, a team that’s had some close calls as they advanced through the bracket. The excellent guard trio of Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, and Davion Mitchell has remained Baylor’s competitive advantage in the tournament and the biggest reason for their second favourite spot on the board at +275 Madness betting odds, which is up from +600 prior to tournament tipoff. 

March Madness Betting Preview: The Current Contender

Houston Cougars +750 Odds to Win March Madness  

Vastly improving their title chances from +1800 before the tournament began to +750 March Madness betting odds following the conclusion of the Elite 8, the Cougars have had their share of ups and downs during their run. Barely overcoming Rutgers in the second round and Oregon State in the Elite 8 by three- and six-point differentials respectively, Houston is 2-2 ATS heading into Final Four play against Baylor as a 5-point underdog. Houston’s strength lies in their stingy defense, which ranks second in the country, allowing just 57.6 points per game this season. It’ll be interesting to see if that effectiveness will translate into impeding Baylor’s explosive guards.  

March Madness Betting Preview: The Current Cinderella

UCLA Bruins +2000 Odds to Win March Madness  

It may seem downright bizarre to categorize the Bruins as a Cinderella story seeing as how they lead all other teams with eleven all-time national championships, but UCLA has had to overcome underdog odds in all but one of their five tournament matchups leading into Final Four play, including wins against second-seeded Alabama and No. 1 Michigan. That being said, going up against the best overall team this season in Gonzaga as 14-point underdogs presents a completely different challenge. 

The biggest question facing the Bruins in the Final Four is whether they’ll have enough offensive firepower to keep up with the likes of Drew Timme, Corey Kispert, and Jalen Suggs. UCLA’s odds to win March Madness are pegged at +2000, which is a massive improvement from +15000 prior to their First Four contest. 

*Odds as of April 1, 2021



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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.


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