March Madness Betting Guide for 2023

March Madness is the climax of the NCAA college basketball season with just about every online sportsbooks offering wagering, making it difficult to select a quality online sportsbook.

See the table below of independently verified March Madness betting sites impartially reviewed by experts to ensure the safest – and -- most enjoyable sports betting experience imaginable.

Top March Madness Betting Sites

Betting Site
Bonus
Review
Bet Now
888sport
888Sport
Risk Free First Bet up to $500

Sugarhouse Sports Review Bonus
SugarHouse
100% Up to $250

FanDuel Sportsbook Review
FanDuel
Get A $1000 Risk Free Bet

Borgata Online Sportsbook Review Logo
Borgata
Bet $20, Win $100 in Free Bets

BetMGM Sports Review
BetMGM
Risk Free First Bet Up To $1000

Unibet Sportsbook
Unibet
$500 Risk-Free Bet

Bet365
Bet365
Bet $1, Get $200 in Free Bets

We put all betting sites through a set of stringent sportsbooks reviews to ensure they pass the test. To check the range of selection criteria, please see our overall sportsbook review page and click on “review” to see our reviews for all licensed legal betting sites in the U.S.

Other than the Super Bowl, no other U.S. sports event or tournament attracts as much attention or betting action as the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. While the Super Bowl is the most-bet single-day event, March Madness a.k.a. the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, is the biggest event.

Bettors are given almost unlimited options for betting choice in College Hoops biggest annual event. It’s hard enough to pick which teams will qualify for the Final Four to play for the national championship, let alone deciding which NCAA March Madness betting sites to use, or determining online sportsbooks with the best college basketball betting Markets.

That’s where we can help, we’re sports betting enthusiasts ourselves. Allow us to teach you the tricks-of-the-trade.

What is March Madness?

The NCAA Selection Committee chooses the 68-best men’s college basketball teams to participate in March Madness. NCAA March Madness Futures Odds are locked in place and play begins.

Four teams are eliminated in the First Round (known as the First Four), leaving 64 teams then split into four regions of 16 teams each. Each team is then seeded 1 through 16 in their regional bracket.

Based on regular season results, the strongest teams rank #1 in their regional bracket and so on. Losers are then knocked out in progressive rounds leaving a Round of 32, the Sweet 16, the Elite 8, the Final Four and then, the final to decide the NCAA National College Basketball champion.

Given the unpredictable knockout March Madness format, long odds can be secured and plenty of money can be made by taking out March Madness Winner Odds before the tournament begins, particularly if you’re savvy enough to back March Madness Underdogs.

How to bet on March Madness

With each passing year, March Madness betting gets bigger and better. The number of bonuses and promotions from an ever-increasing selection of March Madness betting sites and betting apps pitched exclusively at the event also grows exponentially.

This year it will be bigger than ever after the March Madness cancellation last year, so there’s now even more choice than what the betting industry experts thought possible, let alone the novices.

let’s examine some critical factors that will go a long way to ensuring you wind up with a quality sportsbook offering convenient payment methods, an intuitive site user experience with customer service at its heart, and of course, the best NCAA March Madness Odds.

1. Join more than one of the recommended online sportsbooks above. Making better choices and casting the net wider over the range of sportsbook choice will ensure you ALWAYS get the best odds available and help you develop into an experienced and incisive sports bettor.

2. From your chosen NCAA March Madness sites, navigate to the ‘Basketball betting’ section or it may be named ‘NCAAB’, ‘NCAA basketball’ or ‘college basketball’ section and check for the specific NCAA Men’s basketball championship (March Madness) betting odds and markets.

3. Select the type of bet you wish place (bet types will be discussed/explained later in this guide);

  • Match Betting (moneyline, point-spreads etc.)
  • Futures Betting (Overall winner etc.)
  • Parlay Betting
  • March Madness Prop Bets; and much more.
  • Compare and contrast the odds from the different the different sites. If you need assistance understanding March Madness betting odds and their value, please feel free to use our odds guide.

4. Set your preferred betting amount, it should be something that you can’t afford to lose. The best way to avoid problem gambling is to consider your March Madness Betting as an entertainment expense; not as an additional income stream.

5. After registering at a selection of March Madness betting sites, and selecting a bet type and budget, you’ll need to deposit money to your online sportsbook accounts to place your wagers with. In most cases, this will qualify you for a Welcome Bonus (usually a first deposit match or risk-free first bet). Make sure to read the terms and conditions of the offer. Once signed up, the sooner you can get your wager placed and lock in the best possible betting odds the more opportunity to win yourself a few extra bucks.

6. Early bets will generally have the best betting odds and lines and make you more money in the long run. The early bird almost always catches the best college basketball betting deals.

Popular Types of March Madness Bets

Sports betting beginners and even more experienced bettors can easily become confused by the seemingly endless choice of bet types offered by NCAA March Madness sites.

Let’s break it down; popular bet types and what to avoid as a beginner;

  • Money line – A simple win bet on any single March Madness game at set odds on your chosen winning team.
  • Points Spread – Fans love March Madness Points Spread betting because they create interest on both sides. For example, if you are betting on Gonzaga vs Baylor this may involve giving the ‘Zags a head start (+4.5) or handicapping the Baylor Bears (-4.5). Your team may lose the game, but if they finish inside the spread, you still win your bet!
  • Total points (Over/Under) – Place your bets on the combined point totals of the March Madness teams competing in a single game to be ‘under or over’ the points total offered by the sportsbook. For example, betting on Villanova combining with Illinois to score over or under a collective 141 points.
  • Prop Bets – The number of possible March Madness prop bets are too numerous to mention. They can vary from the number of points, assists or rebounds for a specific player, the first points scored by any player or team in a match, through to even obscure wagers on half-time/full-time scores.
  • Futures Betting – This is a very popular bet type on the overall National Championship Winner, which teams make it through to the Final Four or even winners of the NCAAB Freshman of the Year or John R. Wooden Award for outstanding NCAAB player of the year.
  • In-play Live Betting – Place live wagers on March Madness games at changing betting lines/odds in real time. Odds are almost always reset at halftime in March Madness matches.

Betting options beginners should avoid (or check for special promotions only)

Parlay Wagers – Parlay Bets are usually best avoided by rookie bettors, however, there is good news that many March Madness betting sites are beginning to offer promotions to lessen the risk for beginners to try parlays to educate and gain further experience.

Parlay wagers are an accumulated number of wagers (each bet is referred to as a ‘leg’) taken over a selection of March Madness matches. With each win in the parlay bet, the odds accumulate with each successful winning leg. However, if only one leg of your parlay wager loses, your entire parlay bet stake is usually lost.

Lessen your Parlay Betting Risk – If you are a beginner and you would like to give parlay betting a shot, many of the best and recommended online sportsbooks now offer permanent ‘win your Parlay wager, if you lose only 1 leg’ or ‘Parlay Insurance’ promotions, which cuts your risk and helps you gain invaluable experience while giving you more winning opportunities to boot.

Live Betting

If you are a fan of NCAA Basketball and in-play live betting, there is no better time of the year for you than March Madness!

March Madness live betting allows you to place your wager as the action plays out on the court, with online sportsbook odds updating on-the-fly in real time as the game unravels.

Done right, live betting is more exciting than pre-game betting, and most, if not all the same markets are available. What’s more, many sportsbooks combine a ‘cash out’ option when live betting to opt out of your wager if it looks like losing at any point of the match.

Using in-play live betting and cash-out together can help maximize your wins and minimize your losses, and of course to keep in touch with the betting action anytime-anywhere, mobile live betting is featured by most of the quality March Madness betting sites in New Jersey.

Who is the favorite to win March Madness in 2023?

Wondering who will cut down the nets in Houston in 2023? Let’s check out some of the leading contenders and their March Madness odds (all odds current at the time of writing and subject to change) to win this year’s national college basketball championship, the culmination of March Madness.

North Carolina

Odds to win March Madness
DraftKings +900
FanDuel +100

After reaching the NCAA Championship game in 2022, the Tar Heels return four starters to Coach Hubert Davis’ squad including ACC Player of the Year Armando Bacot. The Tar Heels are one of the most experienced teams in the nation and picked up a big transfer from Northwestern in Pete Nance.

Kentucky

Odds to win March Madness
DraftKings +900
FanDuel +1200 

Kentucky hasn’t been to the Final Four since 2015, and that’s a long time in the Bluegrass state. The Wildcats are led by senior forward Oscar Tshiebwe who was the 2022 National Player of the Year and led the nation in rebounding. As always, the Wildcats brought in a super freshman class, led by guard Cason Wallace.

Houston

Odds to win March Madness
DraftKings +900
FanDuel +850

The Cougars have become big-time contenders nationally, reaching the Final Four in 2021 and the Elite Eight in 2022. This year they welcome back starters Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark who missed most of 2022 with injuries, and hey, March Madness ends just a few miles away from Houston’s campus. If they can get there, it will be a heck of a homecourt advantage.

Gonzaga

Odds to win March Madness
DraftKings +900
FanDuel +850

It’s Drew Timme time out on the West Coast for the Zags. After a shocking loss in the Sweet 16 last year, Gonzaga brings back multiple starters seeking the school’s first March Madness title. Timme is a 6-foot-10 forward with a soft touch around the basket. He averaged 18.4 points last year and should be the focal point of the Zags offense.

Baylor

Odds to win March Madness
DraftKings +1200
FanDuel +1200

The Bears still have a few pieces from their 2021 title-winning team, including senior guard Adam Flagler, who led Baylor in scoring last year with 13.8 points a game. The Bears play fantastic defense and should get a boost from incoming freshman guard Keyonte George.

Kansas

Odds to win March Madness
DraftKings +1300
FanDuel +1500

The defending champs finished last season 34-6 but lost a lot of production to graduation and the NBA Draft. So, who takes over for the Jayhawks? Look for Coach Bill Self to rely on junior Jalen Wilson down low and point guard Dajuan Harris Jr. to run the offense.

NCAA Basketball Men’s Championship betting bonuses and promotions

Be sure to stay on the look-out for March Madness betting bonuses and promotions.

All the best March Madness betting will offer some a specific promotion on games throughout the tournament.

Make sure you open an account with the sportsbooks to ensure you have access to all available promotions. Most bonuses and promotions cannot be seen unless you are a signed-up, logged-in member.

Tips and strategist for March Madness betting 

Think about whether you want to play it game-by-game, round-by-round or pick a few teams to ride all the way to the Final Four. March Madness provides lots of options for bettors.

  • Sometimes the best way to earn a win is to bet on an underdog team to get through to a round they are not expected to, such as Oklahoma State to make it to the Final Four for example.
  • March Madness always includes at least one Cinderella team, so keep your eyes open for a team from a small conference that has big players and a big heart.
  • Whatever you do, keep your personal bias out of your March Madness betting decisions. That is the sure-fire way to throw your money away.
  • If you are taking out a Futures Wager on who will win March Madness, the sooner you bet before the tournament begins or runs too deep will ensure you receive the best odds possible.
  • When betting over/under or totals betting pay attention to teams with incredible defenses or offenses. For example, betting the over on the #1 offensive team in country is a very sound wager.

March Madness Fast Facts

Most March Madness Titles

  • UCLA – 11
  • Kentucky – 8
  • North Carolina – 6
  • Duke – 5
  • Indiana – 5
  • Connecticut – 4
  • Kansas -4

Lowest Seeds & Biggest Point Spreads to win March Madness

  • In 1985, eighth-seeded Villanova took down Georgetown in the NCAA Championship game, playing a nearly perfect second half.
  • In 1999, Duke was 9.5-point favorites over Connecticut, but the Huskies won the title 77-74.

Lowest seed match-up in NCAA Basketball Championship Game

  • The Cinderella Final Four was in 2014 when No. 7 seed Connecticut took on eight seed Kentucky. The Huskies won the title and are the first seven seed to win the NCAA title.
  • All Four No. 1 seeds making it to Final Four
  • It has only happened once, in 2008 when Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA and Memphis each reached the Final Four.

Last time a Final Four did NOT feature a No. 1 seed

  • 2011 when the Final Four featured No. 3 seed Connecticut, No. 4 seed Kentucky, No. 8 seed Butler and No. 11 seed Virginia Commonwealth.

Last time #1 seeds met in NCAA Basketball Championship Game

  • It has happened nine times, most recently in 2021 when No. 1 seed Baylor defeated No. 1 seed Gonzaga, 86-70 for the NCAA title. 

Largest margin of victory in a Championship Game

  • The Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV blew out Duke 103-73 in the 1990 Championship game. The 30 points is the largest margin for any team in the final.
  • The second-largest margin was in 1968 when UCLA defeated North Carolina 78-55.

Future March Madness Locations

  • 2023 – April 1 & 3 Houston (NRG Stadium)
  • 2024 – Phoenix (State Farm Stadium)
  • 2025 – San Antonio (Alamodome)
  • 2026 – Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium)