March Madness 2023 – How to Bet on the Men’s NCAA Tournament

Dalen cuffESPN5 minute read

Bet 101: It’s College Hoops Tournament Time!

Dalen Cuff details key sports betting requirements ahead of the 2023 college basketball tournaments.

The best time of the year is back! With gambling legalized nationwide, even more people can get in on the action from the comfort of their homes. College sports have changed a lot in recent years, but looking at data from the past 5-10 years, which sums up the one-and-done era, the numbers are eerily similar. As you lean into the bracket, here are some tips on how to bet on the tournament.

Rhythm, props and futures

Now that we’ve come to the NCAA Tournament, those lines are the tightest you’ll find in college play all year. Be selective and choose your places, especially in the early rounds. One area where I have seen value in the past is in player prop betting. Most college games do not offer player prop bets, but many other providers do offer them in tournament games. I don’t feel these numbers are as accurate as the spread, but some advantages can be offered by betting the props against the tight lines. Futures contracts always add to the fun. Now, let’s dive into the numbers there, over the last 10 tournaments:

60% of the Final Four places were occupied by teams from the first two starting lines. So if you’re playing futures, the safest money is on the two seeds…the good one(s) is the hardest part.

live action

Over the past 10 years, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the first round are 38-42 (47.5%) ATS. So just because they’re a high seed doesn’t mean they pay you ATS. A good tactic for playing the big boys in the first round is to play them live. Often you can see the top seeds slowly coming out of the gate, you can gauge how the game is going and it can close a rather larger double-digit gap by a few points. And since their performance is below 50%, the live line will give you a small advantage.

Disruptions are a must

The 11-14 seeds are 52-108 (32.5%) over the last 10 years, but ATS they are 43-34-1 (53.7%). When evaluating which double digit seeds to choose, research their timeline and history. First of all in their schedule, have they played any major high-level competitions and how did they fare? If they won games or were competitive, that’s telling. Also, if a team has guys who have been in the tournament before and have been successful, those teams are even more likely to be stage-scary and able to perform. Two teams that meet those criteria in the tournament are Oral Roberts who still has several guys who beat Ohio State as the 15 seed two years ago and Max Abmas, a top 10 scorer in the nation. The other matching team is Drake.

And double-digit seeds aren’t always one-and-done, so a double-digit seed in a forward game to reach the Sweet Sixteen is a good play. qualified for the Sweet Sixteen (12 teams over the past five years). The last tournament didn’t have at least a double-digit seed in the Sweet 16 was 2007. The 12 seeds get a lot of love historically, but no surprise the 11 seeds, many of which are teams high majors that had average regular seasons. , are most likely to show up at the Sweet 16:

  • 11 seeds: 12 times

  • 12 seeds: 3 times

  • 13 seeds: 2 times

  • 14 seeds: 0 times

Blue Bloods reign again?

Last year we had a blue-blooded Final Four with No. 2 seeded Duke, No. 8 seeded North Carolina, No. 2 seeded Villanova and No. 2 seeded Kansas. No. 1, in New Orleans. Despite what seemed like a wide open field last year, these traditional powerhouses sailed into the gauntlet. This year it looks even more open and Blue Bloods like Duke, Kentucky and Indiana in particular have high caps but have been inconsistent throughout the year. Be aware that in future games, but also ATS, you are paying a premium with the line because the public has the perception that these teams should win and that is built into the line.

Big 12 Three Peat?

The Big 12 won the last two titles with Kansas last year and Baylor the year before (also putting Texas Tech in the 2019 finals). No team has repeated since Florida in 2006 and 2007. I think the Jayhawks could do it, but betting they’ll do something only a handful of teams have done in the past 40 years isn’t likely. That said, the Big 12 is by far the best conference in the nation this year and they’ve been rated as such by KenPom four of the last five years. More importantly, the ATS in the tournament was also strong during that streak 53-30 (63.9%), just behind the Pac12 at 32-18 (64%) but with 33 more games. I think that trend will continue this year and the Big 12 will flex their power, especially in the early rounds.

Just a few tips, but they call it March Madness for a reason… good luck.

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