Written by:Darren Cooper|✅Fact Checked by: Michael Savio

March Madness is the culmination of the men’s college basketball season and one of the biggest sporting events in America. A total of 68 teams participate in this single-elimination tournament. 32 qualify automatically by winning their conference championship, with the rest being picked by a committee on Selection Sunday.

Last year's March Madness was one of the most exciting yet, with UConn winning the title over San Diego State. The tournament was filled with thrilling upsets and a Final Four that included the ninth-seeded Florida Atlantic Owls.

USALegalBetting is here to give you baseline-to-baseline coverage of March Madness betting.

This is your March Madness betting guide, where we present the top March Madness betting websites and apps with the best bonuses and promotions, easy payment options, and odds.

We will also dive into the popular March Madness betting markets, betting strategies, and tips, and demonstrate how to bet on March Madness brackets.

Hopefully, this guide will help give your college basketball betting strategy a boost.

Top Basketball Betting Sites


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March Madness 2024 Futures Odds

We’ve given you the background and basics, now let’s look at the favorites to win March Madness according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

North Carolina+1300
Iowa State+2000

March Madness 2024 Info

Here’s everything you need to know about 2024 March Madness, including when it starts, where the tournament is being played, where it finishes, and the team with the most titles: 

Tournament Dates: March 19 to April 8

Locations: First Four (Dayton, Ohio).

First & Second Rounds: (Brooklyn, NY; Charlotte, NC; Indianapolis, IN; Omaha, NE; Pittsburgh, PA; Salt Lake City, UT; Spokane, WA; Memphis, TN)

Sweet Sixteen: (Boston, MA; Dallas, TX; Detroit, MI; Los Angeles, CA)

Where Is The Final Four: State Farm Stadium in Phoenix, AZ on April 6

Where is The Championship Game: State Farm Stadium in Phoenix, AZ on April 8

How Does March Madness Betting Work

Each of our favorite sportsbooks (we’ll get to them in a sec) will start listing moneylines, point spreads and over/under totals as soon as the field and first-round pairings are revealed for each March Madness game. There will be 67 games (counting the First Four) that you can bet on March Madness.

The sportsbooks will also post future bet markets, where you can pick the winner of March Madness before and during the tournament. The sportsbooks will offer a deep well of prop bets on team and individual player performances for the Final Four and NCAA Final.

Since it’s tournament play, there is only one day for teams to rest between the first and second rounds and in between the third round (called the Sweet 16) and fourth round (the Elite Eight). That means NCAA March Madness odds come out quickly, so get your bets in early!

March Madness Betting Odds

These are the type of markets that most basketball betting sites will offer You may want to stick with one of the traditional ones if you’re just starting out, but if you’re an avid fan and know everything about one school or one player, feel free to dig into a prop bet.

Most Popular

The most popular March Madness betting sites feature all the traditional betting markets. We have included some examples below.

The most common bet on March Madness is called the moneyline. This is a straight-up bet on what team you think will win the March Madness game. The March Madness betting sites will analyze the match-ups, the players, the coaches, and the past history between the teams to come up with a favorite (the team expected to win) and the underdog (the team expected to lose).

They will then post odds on those teams winning. If you bet on the moneyline, it means you’re not giving any points via the point spread, you’re just picking what team you think will win. The favorite will have a lower payout than the underdog.

Another way to bet on March Madness is a March Madness point spread. The ‘spread’ is the number of points the sportsbooks feel the favorite will win by. This is done to encourage betting on both sides. The favorite will be listed with a minus (-) sign and then a number, like UCLA – 7, while the underdog will have a plus (+) sign, like Syracuse +7.

This means the March Madness betting sites feel UCLA will beat Syracuse by seven points. If you bet on Syracuse, that means you get seven points added to their final total in the game. To win that bet, you need Syracuse to either win, or lose by less than seven points. Sticking with this example, if you bet on UCLA -7, that means you only win if UCLA wins by more than seven points.

A total, or point total, is another popular way to bet on March Madness. This refers to the total number of points scored in the game, and the bet doesn’t hinge at all on the outcome. Going back to our Syracuse vs. UCLA example, March Madness betting sites can set the total at 135.5 points and give you the option to bet over the total or under.

If you bet the over, you’ll win if the combined point total by both teams is over 135.5 (the half point is added to prevent a push), no matter who wins. If you bet the under, then cheer for both teams to miss shots and play defense. You’ll win your bet if the point total is under 135.5.

Prop bets

Prop bets are March Madness bets that are not connected to the game’s outcome but hinge on a team or player’s performance.

These can be as simple as an over/under total on a player’s number of points, rebounds or assists. You can bet whether you think they will hit for more or less.

There are also prop bets based on a team’s performance, like the total number of rebounds by a team or the total number of three-pointers made.

One of the more popular NCAA Tournament bets is the prop bet for the first basket scorer, in other words, which player will score game's first points (this is like football’s popular first TD scorer bet). You can also predict whether the game will go into overtime.


A futures bet is just what it sounds like, a gamble on the future result and a cool way to bet on March Madness. March Madness betting sites start listing the favorites to win March Madness as soon as the previous season ends, and the odds will fluctuate wildly as the tournament kicks into high gear.

There will also be markets on who will be the March Madness Most Outstanding Player, also known as the Tournament Most Valuable Player

Live Betting

Live betting is the new big thing in sports betting at March Madness betting sites. Players no longer have to place their bets before the game starts….or else.

Each prominent sportsbook will give allow March Madness players to bet on the game even after it’s begun in what is called “Live Betting.” Computer algorithms provide instant odd changes in the point spread or over/under totals allowing players to place a bet well into the contest. 

If you’re watching the first half and sense a blowout coming, maybe you want to take the favorite and give the points, or if you feel that the underdog is missing some shots early and going to rally, live betting gives you the chance to get in the game and bet on March Madness while the game is being played.

March Madness Structure/Brackets

The men’s college basketball season starts each November with approximately 350 teams competing in Division 1 of the NCAA. They start the season with non-conference games against teams from around the country, before moving on to conference play.

This is where the traditional rivalries add a chapter, like Duke-North Carolina, or USC-UCLA, or Michigan-Ohio State.

Winning the regular season conference title is nice, but then it’s tournament season. Every conference has its own conference tournament, with the winner receiving an automatic bid to March Madness.

Eventually, the field of 68 teams is revealed on Selection Sunday (this year it’s March 17), with eight of those teams playing in what is called the “First Four” in Dayton, Ohio.

The winners there move into the bracket of 64 teams, each seeded 1-16 by the NCAA and placed in four different regions throughout the country. The higher the seed, the better the NCAA thinks the team is, but one of the beauties of March Madness is the lower seeds pulling the upsets.

Each region is a mini March Madness tournament of its own, with teams attempting to survive and advance. It’s all win or go home, survive, and advance, as they say. The four Region winners meet up in the Final Four in Phoenix on April 6, and the winners collide for the national title on April 8.

When the final buzzer sounds, confetti shoots in the air, the popular music montage “One Shining Moment” plays showing the tournament highlights, and the winning team gets to cut down the nets as a symbol of their excellence.

Where to Bet on March Madness

Now, let’s talk about the best March Madness betting sites and what each brings to the table.

Bet365 Sportsbook

Bet365 is available in 9 states for betting on March Madness: Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, Louisiana, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Indiana, and Kentucky. New players can choose between a Bet $5, Get $150 in Bonus Bets offer or a $1,000 First Bet Safety Net.

Bet365 has a deep sports betting menu with daily profit boosts connected to local teams and a great Live In-Game tab where you can track every move of the game you’ve wagered on.

BetMGM Sportsbook 

It’s called the King of Sportsbooks for a reason and is one of the top NCAA betting sites. BetMGM, part of the global entertainment company MGM has a brilliant layout and one of the biggest offering of sports to bet on, like cricket, cycling, Formula 1, and lacrosse.

For March Madness, new players can get up to $150 on bonus bets on their first bet if it doesn’t win. BetMGM operates in 23 states, including Illinois, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., and Virginia.

The sportsbook also offers the unique “edit my bet” opportunity where players can add, swap, or remove a selection as part of a parlay and also increase their stake while the game is being played. That’s a move that will make you feel like a King.

FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel has become a major player in the American sports betting market after cutting its teeth as a premier Daily Fantasy Sports hub. It is available in just about every state where March Madness betting sites are legal. FanDuel usually offers some of the industry's most competitive March Madness promotions, making them a popular option for college basketball bettors.

FanDuel is open for business in over a dozen states, including Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. 

Borgata Sportsbook

The Borgata Sportsbook is only legal in New Jersey and has a definite BetMGM look and feel. It has an “easy parlay” button on the top rail, allowing players to combine bets into a simple combo with good odds, and players can watch live games worldwide. We also liked that the Borgata has a section for the women’s NCAA basketball bracket 2023 set up.

The welcome offer gives new players $100 in free bets when they place an initial wager of at least $20. New Jersey players are lucky to have the Borgata as a place to bet on both the NBA and March Madness.

BetRivers Sportsbook

BetRivers was one of the first online sportsbooks to go live in Pennsylvania and is now open for business in 14 states, including Ohio, New York, and Michigan. The sportsbook is a little different than others, with a “Real Winners” tab running down the right side of the screen highlighting the real-time big casino winners.

The sportsbook menu isn’t as deep, but there’s plenty to like with “House Specials” that add value to your profits. For March Madness, BetRivers usually offers parlay insurance, where you place a four+ leg March Madness betting parlay and get your bet back if one leg loses and Connecticut players earn benefits through the iRush Rewards Loyalty Program.  

SI Sportsbook

One of the newest sportsbooks on the market, SI Sportsbook has the branding and backing of the famous magazine Sports Illustrated and is available for play in Colorado, Michigan, and Virginia, with plans to expand further in 2023.

New players can collect $200 in free bets after an initial March Madness wager of $20 with the promo code SI200


DraftKings is one of the best March Madness betting websites, with a great app, mobile site, and desktop interface. This is a sportsbook that started off as a mega Daily Fantasy Sports site, and players will see daily March Madness pools to enter and is now legal in over 25 states.

New customers can get a deposit bonus up to $1,000, and a Bet $5, Get $150 promotion where if you bet on a pre-game moneyline and it loses, you receive the stake back in the form on Bonus Bets.

There are also daily profit boosts on March Madness. DraftKings is a beast. DraftKings is legal in 20 states including Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, and Louisiana. It boasts tons of markets on each March Madness game, bracket contest, and plenty more. 

March Madness Betting Strategies and Tips

We’ve talked some about the who and the how, now let’s pull back the curtain on some of the best ways to approach your bet on March Madness. Here are four key points to consider about when crafting your March Madness betting strategy:

Think Travel

Look around at which teams must make long trips to play their first-round games. An East Coast team playing in a first-round game across the country usually has tired legs because they don’t get much time to rest. If a low seed is playing near their city against a high seed from far away, think an upset is coming. 

Big Is Good, Good Is Better

The question that comes up every year is how the best teams from the smaller conferences match up with the traditional powerhouses. Unless the teams played each other during the season, it can be impossible to tell how well a small school will fare against bigger competition. While it’s tempting to stick with the bigger school when betting on March Madness, don’t be so quick to count out good teams from small conferences as upsets happen every season.

Cinderella is Coming, But Leaving Too

When doing your March Madness bracket betting, it’s always tempting to have a low seed make it all the way to the Final Four. You’ll think you’re so smart because you picked Kennesaw State. The truth is upsets do happen, and teams do go on Cinderella runs….for a while. Eventually, those teams run into bigger, better schools and get beat. 

Traditional Powers Are That For A Reason

You look at the last 10 teams to win March Madness, and many of the names are familiar: Kansas, Arizona, North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, and UConn. There’s a reason these teams are the powerhouses in the sport. They have great coaches and great players. As boring as it sounds, the cream usually rises to the top in March Madness and one of the big conference powers prevails. Remember that when you’re betting on March Madness. 

March Madness: Fast Facts

Who Has the Most March Madness Championships: UCLA has the most March Madness titles with 11, followed by Kentucky (8), North Carolina (6), Duke (5), UConn (5), Indiana (5), Kansas (4), and Villanova (3)

What Was the First Year of March Madness: 1939, won by Oregon, who beat Ohio State in the final.

Most Final Four Appearances: North Carolina has been in the Final Four 21 times, followed by UCLA 18, then Kentucky and Duke with 17 appearances each, and Kansas with 16.

Team With Most Wins in March Madness: Kentucky has the most wins during March Madness with 129. The Wildcats have the most tournament appearances. They have made it 58 times.

Lowest Seed to Reach The Final Four: Five 11-seeds have made it to the Final Four. UCLA was the last team to do it in 2021. Before that, it was Loyola-Chicago in 2018, Virginia Commonwealth in 2011, George Mason in 2006, and LSU in 1986.

Lowest Seed to Win March Madness: In 1985, eighth-seeded Villanova beat Georgetown to win the NCAA title. They are the lowest-seeded team ever to win March Madness.

Has a 16 seed ever beat a No. 1 seed? Only twice. It happened once in 2018 when the University of Maryland-Baltimore County beat top-seeded Virginia 74-54. It happened again in 2023 when Fairleigh Dickinson University knocked off Purdue.

March Madness Betting Conclusion

March Madness provides sports fans and bettors with enough thrills to last a lifetime. With its win-or-go-home style, every game is a great contest where the excitement builds all the way up to the final. Sportsbooks heighten the excitement with great promotions connected to March Madness and offers. You may not get to cut down the nets as the champion does, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a big winner during March Madness! 

March Madness FAQs

Is it Legal to Bet on March Madness Online?

There are over 35 states plus Washington DC where placing a bet on March Madness at a retail site is legal. However, 24 states allow sports betting online. Betting on March Madness in these states is completely legal, provided you do so at one of the licensed and regulated sportsbooks. In most states, the age requirement is 21.

How do you bet on March Madness?

There are multiple ways to bet on March Madness. You can bet in person at a retail casino. You can also use a sportsbook for March Madness online betting, just click on their website or app, create an account, and get started. There’s March Madness bracket gambling, where you fill out a bracket and hope all your picks win. During the college basketball season, you can place a ‘Futures’ bet picking the winner before the tournament field is selected. Once the tournament field is revealed on March 17, you can bet on the outcome of each game. Just download one of our favorite sportsbooks from the App Store or Google Play, create your account, make a deposit, and get started. March Madness awaits!

How many games are there in March Madness?

The total number of games is 67, counting the First Four games that are played in Dayton, Ohio. The winners of those four games are officially entered in the bracket.

How many teams are in March Madness?

There are now officially 68 teams invited to March Madness. The NCAA Tournament field was eight teams when it first started, moved to 16 in 1951, then 32 in 1975, and expanded to 64 teams in 1985. An opening round game was started in 2001 and the First Four was conceived in 2011.

Where can I bet on the brackets?

March Madness betting sites allow you to fill out a bracket before playing the first game. No one, and we mean no one, has ever picked all 67 games correct in March Madness. The odds of doing so are astronomical. Sportsbooks and sports media companies all have contests where fans can fill out brackets, and the person who comes the closest to the actual bracket wins prizes. Of course, you can also join your office pool and fill out a bracket for a small monetary prize. 

How do you bet on the NCAA Tournament?

In a bracket contest, traditionally, players get points for each win they accurately predict during March Madness. The player who accumulates the most points is declared the winner. In case of a tie, players are asked to predict the final score of the championship game.