March Madness is the most exciting sports tournament in the United States, pitting 64 of the nation’s best schools in a two-week single-elimination tournament to crown the NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions.
March Madness betting has exploded in New Jersey since online sports wagers were legalized and you can now place a bet on (almost) any college basketball game at one of the many online sportsbooks that have launched in the state. Anyone over 21 who is physically present in New Jersey can place a bet, except on games that involve New Jersey college teams or college games that are played in New Jersey. All other matchups are fair game.
If you want to bet on March Madness but aren’t sure how to start, here is a quick primer on March Madness odds, how to place a bet, and the types of wagers you can place.
March Madness Odds
Basketball odds are similar to football odds and are generally based on a point spread, which is intended to even up matchups between favorites and underdogs. The point spread is the margin of victory the favorite must win by in order to win the bet. Here is an example of a March Madness point spread:
Texas Tech -3 (-110)
Virginia +3.5 (-110)
This means Texas Tech must win by more than 3 points in order to win the bet while a 3-point win would be a push or draw and anything less would be a loss. Virginia on the other hand is the underdog, so they “get” an extra 3.5 points. That means they can lose by up to 3 points and still win the bet. The -110 denotes the vig, which is the fee that that sportsbook takes in order to facilitate the bet. If you bet $110, you win $100 and the sportsbook pockets the difference.
You can also bet on the moneyline, which is simply the ratio between your bet and the payout. Here is an example of how that looks:
Michigan State +150
Duke is the favorite, so the payout is reduced. You would have to bet $175 to win $100. Michigan State is less likely to win so the payout is higher. You would have to bet $100 to win $150.
How to Bet on March Madness
You can place a bet on any March Madness game (as long as they don’t involve New Jersey teams or arenas) at any online sportsbok in the state. You can also place a number of other bets, aside from just wagering on the game winner.
Point total betting allows you to wager on whether the final combined point total will be “over” or “under” the projected point total set by the oddsmakers.
Prop bets allow you to bet on countless in-game events, like what the score will be at the half or if an individual player will score 30+ points.
You don’t have to wait until March to get started on March Madness betting. You can place futures bets as soon as the previous season ends, allowing you to wager on who will win the tournament months in advance.