Strategies and Tactics for Betting on March Madness in 2024 and Beyond

March Madness is a major event for bettors looking to capitalize on the rush. With a wealth of data and trends available, making informed bets can greatly increase your chances of success.

Understanding Betting Trends

One of the first steps in formulating a betting strategy is to look at historical trends. For example, since 2005, favorites have been a reliable bet on the first Thursday of the tournament, with a 53.2% success rate against the spread (ATS). A $100 bettor following this trend since 2016 would have seen a profit of $997.

No. 11 seeds have also proven to be a strong bet against No. 6 seeds since 2014, covering the spread 60% of the time. In fact, half of those No. 11 seeds went on to win outright. This highlights the potential value in betting on lower-seeded teams, especially in specific matchups.

Big 12 teams have shown strength in the first round, with a 64.1% ATS win rate since 2017. This indicates that teams from this conference might be undervalued by the market in early tournament games.

Moreover, No. 1 seeds have historically been a safe bet to win the NCAA title, securing the championship 59% of the time since 1979. This suggests a trend towards top-seeded teams maintaining their dominance throughout the tournament.

Team Performance Insights

When considering over/under bets, it's helpful to know that the average final score in March Madness championship games from 1995-2019 has exceeded 131.5 points 60% of the time. This could guide your betting strategy in predicting total points in the final game.

The record for the highest single team score in a championship game stands at 98 points by UCLA in 1965, a testament to the unpredictable nature of the tournament's finale.

Additionally, the average total rebounds in a final game is around 70, providing a benchmark for prop bets related to team performances and individual player statistics.

Public Bracket Trends

Nearly half of U.S. adults engage in the tradition of filling out a bracket for March Madness, with the odds of a perfect bracket astronomically high at 1 in 9.2 quintillion for random guesses. However, using analytics to predict games can improve those odds to 1 in 120.2 billion, showcasing the power of data in making informed choices.

Odds and Betting Handles

As of March 19th, 2024, UConn leads as the favorite to win the tournament at +425 odds across most sportsbooks. Other top contenders include Houston, Purdue, Arizona, and North Carolina. Interestingly, in the 2023 tournament, while favorites won 44 out of 66 games straight up, they only covered the spread 50.8% of the time, highlighting the competitive balance of March Madness.

Speaking of North Carolina, they're positioned as a strong contender with +1300 odds. For those in North Carolina looking to get in on the action, North Carolina sportsbooks offer a range of betting options for the tournament.

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams talks with guard Andrew Platek (3) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. Florida State defeated North Carolina 65-59. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

Making Smart Bets

Armed with these insights, your strategy for betting on March Madness can become more nuanced and informed. Whether it's identifying undervalued teams based on seeding trends, considering over/under bets with historical scoring averages, or leveraging analytics for bracket predictions, the data points to several tactics for making smart bets.

Final Thoughts

Remember, no betting strategy guarantees success, but by understanding and applying these trends and statistics, you can improve your chances of making profitable decisions. As always, bet responsibly and enjoy the high of March Madness.


What is March Madness?

March Madness is a single-elimination college basketball tournament that takes place every year in March and April. It features 68 teams from Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), competing for the national championship.

How do I participate in March Madness betting?

You can participate in March Madness betting by placing bets on the tournament through a sportsbook or online betting platform.

What are some tips for making successful March Madness bets?

Some tips for making successful March Madness bets include studying historical trends and team performance insights, considering over/under bets with historical scoring averages, and leveraging analytics for bracket predictions.

What are the odds of filling out a perfect bracket?

The odds of filling out a perfect bracket through random guessing are 1 in 9.2 quintillion. However, using analytics to predict games can improve those odds to 1 in 120.2 billion.

How can I bet responsibly on March Madness?

You can bet responsibly on March Madness by setting a budget for your bets, avoiding chasing losses, and taking breaks from betting if necessary. Additionally, it's important to recognize when gambling is no longer enjoyable or begins to negatively impact your life, and seek help if needed.