When it comes to sports betting in North America, two events really stand out each year. The first is the Super Bowl, which takes place each February. And, then, the second is NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, which is also affectionately known as March Madness or The Big Dance.
One of the reasons March Madness is so revered is that the tournament’s 68-team, single-elimination format allows for a form of making predictions known as bracketology (or bracket betting).
College basketball bracket betting is very popular because it can be very lucrative. It also requires a strong combination of luck and skill. Although there is something like a 9.2 quintillion chance of you predicting the perfect bracket, a lot of betting options exist, so there is always a line that may seem favorable to you.
If you would like to find out more about college basketball bracketology, make sure to stick around. Below we have a look at all you need to know about March Madness betting games, including:
- How the NCAA tournament works,
- How basketball brackets work,
- and, how to bet on basketball brackets.
We also list a load of great sites that let you bet on tournament brackets for March Madness and a load of other sporting events. So, you can really begin placing sports bets as soon as you feel ready at top online gambling sites!
- Bet on March Madness Here
- How Does the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament Work?
- What is NCAA Bracketology?
- NCAAB Bracket Betting Tournaments and Contests
- March Madness Bracketology Tips
- Online Bracket Betting – FAQs
Before we get into how you can win March Madness bets at online sportsbooks, let us first explain how the famous college sporting event works.
So, as mentioned above, the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament is a single-elimination tournament featuring 68 teams that takes place over roughly a month. The teams featured in the tournament are determined as follows:
- 32 teams earn entry through winning conference tournaments
- 36 teams earn entry through approval by a selection committee
All teams are seeded by the NCAA selection committee according to their region: East, South, West, and Midwest. Although there are 17 teams per region, there are only 16 seeds. Although this may seem confusing, the eight lowest-ranked teams all carry the same seed.
Before the official tournament starts, the eight lowest-ranked teams play each other in a round known as the First Four. Each team plays two games, and the victors of this round proceed to the actual tournament, which then carries a 64-team structure.
The First Four round is not actually part of the tournament structure, which also may seem a little weird to people just starting to learn about the event. But organizers believe that it would only confuse fans if it were.
The actual tournament structure works as follows:
- First Weekend – two rounds are played throughout the weekend. Round of 64 and then the Round of 32. The winners of the Round of 64 proceed to the Round of 32. Then, the winners of the Round of 32 move to the second weekend.
- Second Weekend – another two rounds are played for the second weekend: the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. The winners of the Sweet 16 round proceed to the Elite 8. The winners of the Elite 8 round proceed to the third weekend.
- Third Weekend – the final two rounds of the tournament are played: the Final Four and Championship Game. The two winners from the Final Four round proceed to the Championship game. The winner of the Championship game is the overall victor of the tournament.
Bracketology is a form of betting where you attempt to predict which teams will proceed in a single-elimination tournament by picking the winner for each round. Online sportsbooks actually offer bracket bets for a variety of different sports, but by far, NCAAB bracketology is the most popular option available.
Once the 16 teams in each region have been seeded, you can start making your initial bets by picking the winner of each game. You continue doing this each of the individual games featured in a round until you the tournament has got its winner.
If this seems a bit confusing, let us explain it with a solid example:
In this hypothetical example using teams from the South region, you need to predict who will win between North Carolina and Kansas as well as Auburn and Duke correctly in the Final Four Round. Then, in the next round, you need to predict who will win between Kansas and Duke.
Quite simply, this is all that bracket betting is: predicting the winners in each and every game and in every round.
There has never been a verified case of somebody predicting each and every bracket in the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament perfectly. This is unsurprising as there is 9.2 quintillion chance of anyone ever doing so.
As such, most sportsbooks create tournaments with entry fees where the person who is able to predict the most correct brackets wins a prize. Usually, the prize contains a cash sum and some other prize.
Some tournaments use scoring systems that allow you to earn more points other than just by correctly predicting brackets. Depending on the site, you can play against your friends or join a big prize pool to earn more lucrative prizes.
Often, sportsbooks aren’t even the only organizations running NCAAB bracket betting contests. Many sports news organizations like ESPN and CBS do so too.
Looking to be the first recorded person to jot down a perfect bracket? Well, here are some tips to help you make better bets.
- The first seed almost always makes it to the Final Four. With a few exceptions, the first seed pretty much always makes it to this round.
- According to recent history, most winners are usually seeded between first and third. In the last 15 years, only one team from outside of the top three has been lucky enough to win the Championship.
- Don’t bet on Cinderella stories. While low-seeded teams have progressed to the Final Four before, stats show that these scenarios are highly unlikely. In fact, teams with double-digit seeds have a 2% chance of making it to the later stages of the tournament if numbers are to be believed.
Bracketology refers to the act of correctly predicting the outcomes of each round of matches in the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament.
In a tournament featuring brackets, several rounds are played with teams being eliminated in each round until there is a winner. A bracket is a single matchup between two teams that have qualified for that round.
So, for example, West Virginia vs Villanova is a single bracket. When one of these teams win, they proceed to the next bracket.
In terms of an NCAAB bracket, you start by filling out the 64 seeded teams. Then, when matches are played, and victors are decided, you fill the next stage of the tournament bracket with the winners of the round.
So, for example, the winners of the Round of 64 are entered into the Round of 32 slots.
Nobody has ever gotten the perfect bracket. In fact, billionaire businessman Warren Buffet actually had a $1 billion prize available for the first person to record a perfect bracket. He has since rescinded the offer, though.
If you place a bet on a March Madness bracketology game, you are gambling. If you fill out a form with a group of friends for the purposes of fun, it isn’t gambling. As soon as you wager money, you are gambling.
This is a bit of a subjective question as a lot of pundits have been relatively successful over the years. However, common consensus suggests that Joe Lunardi or Gary Parrish may be the best bracketologists.
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