Learning to take advantage of March Madness will go a long way in enhancing your betting skills and growing your bankroll. March Madness is one of the most thrilling times for sports bettors. 

It feels more like the Super Bowl, but instead of having just one game to bet on, you have access to 68 Division 1 men’s college teams waiting to create history on the NCAA basketball space. 

With a plethora of play-in games that include the First four, the Elite Eight, the Sweet 16, and the Championship game, you are set to become the betting guru that you have always envied. 

The Art of Reading March Madness Odds

To get it right when betting on March Madness, you need to first learn how to read and understand the odds. When you visit any reputable March madness betting site, you will find the college basketball odds listed as follows:

  • Kentucky +195
  • North Carolina -233

While these are American odds, you can also convert them into decimals or fractions if you so prefer. European players are more accustomed to odds displayed in decimals. Those from the U.K are mostly used to odds in fractions. 

You can always change how the odds are displayed using the tools provided by your bookmakers. Please make sure that you are using a comfortable and easy-to-understand odds format. 

March Madness Favorites Vs. Underdogs

I should mention that the odds discussed above are more relevant in a conventional moneyline bet. You will only have to pick a winning team straight up to execute this type of bet.

At -233, North Carolina Tar Heels are the favorite, and you can tell that from the minus sign (-). The Kentucky Wildcats are the underdogs at +195. The favorites are always distinguishable from the underdogs using the plus or minus sign. Faves will always have a minus sign, and the Dogs will always have their plus sign. 

If you resolve to bet on UNC and stake $100, you will get a payout of $142.92. This means that your stake comes back, plus winnings of $42.92. Staking the same $100 on Kentucky as an upset has the potential of giving you $295 – your $100 stake returns with a winning of $195. 

If you are having a hard time doing the math, you can always try out an odds calculator. A standard odds calculator will show you your potential win based on the odds offered and the amount wagered. 

Again, you do not have to wager $100. You have the freedom to wager any amount as supported by your bankroll. 

Betting Options on March Madness Games

Now that you understand moneylines and how to read March Madness odds, let’s move to some of the best and most lucrative ways to place wagers. 

With seven rounds and a total of 68 teams, there are thousands of winning opportunities, provided that you understand how to bet on the NCAA Tournament. 

Point Spread: Choose A Team to Cover

Unlike the straight up bet discussed earlier, where you just pick one team over the other, a point spread bet allows you a chance to predict and stake on how much a team will win or lose by.

Before matchups are done, the underdog is always given an advantage and the favorite a disadvantage to create a fair betting field. The point spread odds will be displayed as follows;

  • Villanova -9.5
  • Marquette +9.9

The Wildcats must win by 10 points or more to cover the spread. On the other hand, the Golden Eagles must win the game outright or lose by nine points to cover the spread. 

Totals: Combined Score Bets

All basketball games are high-scoring affairs, be it at the collegiate or NBA level. Totals bets are also known as OVER/UNDER bets. They offer an opportunity to wager on the combined score of a specific game. 

When teams duel, you are looking at their collective scores in the range of over 100 points. Totals betting odds will look like this:

UCLA Vs St. Bonaventure 

OVER 120


As a punter, your job is to predict whether the pool score will be greater or less than the bookmaker’s number, 120. If you feel that the collective score will be more than 120, you bet OVER. If you think the score will be less than 120, you bet UNDER. 

March Madness Futures 

Futures bets are defined as wagers made months or weeks ahead of the actual event. Under this category, you can bet on the team that you believe will win the NCAA championship. You will find the futures betting odds for every team displayed on your preferred sportsbook. 

Parlays: Bets Bundling 

Parlays are typically multiple bets issued on one bet slip. For example, you could take Virginia ATS, Gonzaga SU, and OVER for Syracuse vs. Marquette. In addition, you can choose to top up with bets from other sports, such as an Asian handicap soccer bet or an NHL puckline. 

When making parlay bets, it is advisable that you use an odds calculator to get your math right. With multiple bets on one slip, it is easy to make mistakes. Avoid such errors by utilizing an odds calc. 

Props: Spice Up Your Bets

Props are just a short format of “proposition.” These are bets that you make on the occurrence or non-occurrence of a specific team or player milestones that might not directly correlate with the game’s outcome. 

These bets include:

  • Player A will make x assists
  • Player B will play for y minutes
  • The game will spill into overtime
  • Player C will score more points than player D
  • Team E will make the most three-point field goals. 

Live Bets: Betting as the Game Unfolds

You can also augment the March Madness thrill with live bets. A lot happens between the kickoff and the final whistle, presenting numerous betting opportunities. The pros have mastered the art of live betting, taking advantage of the quarterly live odds.

Live betting offers you the opportunity to capitalize on new spreads, totals, and moneylines. Some sportsbooks will also provide live odds for props. However, you will need to take speedy action when live betting because the opportunities pop up and disappear in seconds.