March Madness Betting

March Madness Betting 2021

For one month every year, the sports world dives into a state of madness. March Madness to be precise.

What exactly does “March Madness” entail?

Only the craziest single-game elimination tournament in all of sports.  A 68-team tournament packed with a frenetic 67 games played over a 19-day period, culminating in the Final Four which is often held in early April.

The annual college basketball foray is sports betting’s most anticipated multi-day event.

Below you will find key details about the NCAA Tournament to help you during the month-long festival.

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How Does the NCAA March Madness Tournament Work?

Unlike college football, which is cut down to just 130 teams over 10 conferences, college basketball features a whopping 350 schools spread out over 32 conferences.

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Oregon

To determine the national champion in college basketball, the 68 best teams in the country are split off based on regions of 16-teams and rankings of those 16 teams in each respective region.

To get to a field of 68, the NCAA awards automatic entries into the NCAA Tournament to the 32 schools that win their respective conference’s postseason tournament. From there the NCAA, through a 10-member selection committee, awards the remaining 36 slots into the tournament with “at-large” teams. These are the 36 best teams in the country who did not win their conference’s postseason tournament.

Of those 36 at-large teams, the four schools that were the last ones to get into the tournament are split into two separate matchups. The weakest of the four automatic bid earning teams will also be broken off into two separate matchups of their own.

This eight-team group will play on the Tuesday or Wednesday leading into the first main weekend of the tournament, with the winners of each game advancing to the games set to occur that first Thursday or Friday of the tournament.

Typically, the eight-team group will feature:

  • Two 16-seed vs. 16-seed matchups (winners move on to face the #1 seed in that respective region)
  • Two matchups pitting either two 11-seed’s playing each other or two 12-seed’s playing each other (winners move on to face the #4 or #5 seed in that respective region)

So, within the first 72 hours of knowing the field of 68, we will eventually know the field of 64.

From here, the tournament is extremely straightforward with the winners of each game moving on to the next round of the tournament, and the losers getting to go back to campus to dream about next season or their future plans after college.

Seeding the Teams in the March Madness Tournament

As touched upon earlier, the NCAA Tournament will be narrowed from 68 teams to 64 by the time the first game of the tournament tips on Thursday, March 19.

On the Sunday before the NCAA Tournament begins, the field of 68 teams will be announced to the world by an ageless Greg Gumbel, somewhere in a comfortable CBS studio.

From here, we will know what each team is ranked in their respective region, and what matchups will occur as a result.

Every region has 16 teams, ranked in order from 1-16 based on a number of factors such as:

  • Game results
  • Strength of schedule
  • Quality of wins/losses
  • Did they win their conference?
  • Did they win their conference and conference tournament?
  • Margin of victory over other NCAA Tournament teams

There are other factors at play, as is the case with anything involving human beings making decisions, but these are the primary ones that are used to determine the tournament field and subsequently determine what teams will be seeded to determine the matchups of the field.

Your standard seeding and bracket when the first full weekend of the tournament begins will look like so:

#1 vs. #16
#8 vs. #9

#5 vs. #12
#4 vs. #13

#6 vs. #11
#3 vs. #14

#7 vs. #10
#2 vs. #15

From here, the winners of each individual matchup will meet in the following round.

The tournament continues until 64 teams have been reduced to 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, and finally, the National Champion.

March Madness 2021 Betting Strategies

When handicapping matchups in the NCAA Tournament, a number of things can be researched to determine what side you wish to back.

Historical against the spread data for each team in the tournament will be readily available, and there is a lot of information one can mine from said data, but other factors to consider when handicapping your March Madness games include, but are not limited to:

  • Injuries
  • How a team played down the stretch
  • A team’s defensive proficiency (defense wins championships after all!)
  • Examining tournament specific historical trends (how one seed fares against another, how mid-majors do as a certain seed, etc.)
  • Fading the betting public (Contrarian system)

There are a ton of different ways to approach betting on March Madness or trying to win your office pool!  We suggest a nice sampling of all of the above, as there is great information to use when applying any of the above to your handicapping.

March Madness 2021 Schedule & Locations

This season, the 2021 NCAA Tournament gets things going on March 16, 2021, with the beginning of the First Four. At around Midnight ET on March 18, 2021, we should have the 68-team field trimmed down to a nice division friendly 64-team field.

Here’s how the entirety of the schedule looks as of 11/28/2020:

Selection Sunday: March 14th, 2021
First Four: March 16th to 17th, 2021
First Round: March 18th to 19th, 2021
Second Round: March 20th to 21st, 2021
Sweet Sixteen: March 25th to 26th, 2021
Elite Eight: March 27th to 28th, 2021
Final Four: April 3rd, 2021
National Championship Game: April 5th, 2021

At OddsUSA, we will cover all 67-games of the NCAA Tournament to help make your 2021 NCAA Tournament a profitable and fun experience. Stay with us during the entire tournament for all the latest news, stats, and trends to monitor.