March Madness is an incredibly exciting time for college basketball enthusiasts. Now that online gambling is legal in most states, it’s fun to see if you can make a little extra money by testing your predictive skills. Discover what you need to know to get started in college basketball betting, either this year or in the coming seasons.
Understanding Legal Sports Betting
First, you need to find a legal sportsbook, which are the companies licensed in your state to offer betting options. Many popular casinos offer online betting options, including MGM and Caesar’s Palace. However, you may also like popular independent apps and sites, like FanDuel or DraftKings. Before downloading an app to start placing bets, make sure you choose an app licensed in your state. Check out the list provided by Covers.com, which breaks it down by each state. While you’re there, check out all the great information they have to help you make better bets.
Untangling Betting Odds
Odds for any kind of bet has a + or - sign next to it, followed by a number. This indicates how the sportsbook sees the game going, along with the potential payout if you wager correctly. The + sign indicated the underdog, while the - sign indicated the favored team. When you bet on an underdog, the number indicates how much you’ll receive for the payout. The number following the + sign is the percentage of your winnings. So if the team you’re betting on has the odds of +160, you’ll make 160% of your wager. If you bet $100, you’ll get back your original $100 plus and additional $160. On the other hand, if you bet on the favored team, the number following the - sign indicates how much you have to wager to win $100. So if the team has -200 odds of winning, you’ll need to wager $200 to win $100. The more likely the team is to win, the higher this number.
Now comes the fun part of sports betting. There are a host of ways you can bet on the various aspects of March Madness. Check out some of the most popular types of bets, and what they actually mean. Keep in mind that not all sportsbooks will offer every one of these kinds of bets, though most offer at least the first three.
The moneyline is the basic bet of whether a team will win. If the team you bet on wins, you win the payout; otherwise, you lose your wager.
Point Spread Bets
The points spread bet is a bet that a team will win or lose by a certain spread of points. Who wins a point spread bet is a little more interesting than a moneyline bet. If you bet on the winning team in a point spread bet, but they don’t win by at least the spread, then you lose the bet. When betting on the underdog, they can either win the game or simply lose by less than the spread, and you’ll win the bet.
Over/Under bets wager the total number of points scored by both teams combined. The odds for over/under bets is the same regardless of how you bet, and indicates your payout. Most over/under bets will have odds of over 100, meaning your profit will be less than your wager. This may not be the bet to make the most money on a game, but you always have a 50/50 chance of being right.
Parlays allow you to wager multiple games on a single bet with moneyline wagers. This can yield a higher payout than betting on individual games. However, the more games you wager, the more likely you’ll lose the entire wager. To win the parley, you have to win the bet for every game in the parley.
Futures look past individual games, and at the larger outcomes possible. For instance, you can wager that a team will make it to the Final 4 or the championship game, or who will be the tournament MVP. These take longer to play out, but allow you to focus on advances rather than the specifics of how the team gets there.
Proposition bets are alternative bets that can be both immediate or future focused. For instance, for March Madness, some proposition bets include:
- First #1 Seeded Team To Lose
- Will a 12 seed advance past a 5 seed?
- Which bracket region will win the National Championship?
- Which conference will win the National Championship?
First to 15
This is a simple bet on which team will be the first to put 15 points on the board in any individual game. These bets make for exciting and fast-paced betting in March Madness. Online sports betting can be exciting, but can also be very addictive for some personalities. Keep yourself safe, do your research before placing your bets, and limit what you’re willing to lose before you start placing bets. If you find you can’t control yourself, call the National Gambling Hotline at 800-522-4700 for help keeping you and your family safe.