NCAA March Madness Betting Guide

College basketball, and for that matter, college basketball betting, is a pretty big deal all year long. However, it never gets any bigger than it does during March Madness.

One of the most exciting times in all of sports, the annual NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament provides thousands of college basketball betting options over multiple weeks. With Florida sports betting, all those March Madness bets will now be available in the Sunshine State.

This means March Madness bracket contests at legal online sportsbooks plus betting on individual tournament games. You can also use sportsbook odds to help you make your bracket picks. To help you prepare, here’s our complete guide to March Madness betting.

March Madness betting odds 

Whether you’re looking for NCAA Tournament futures all year round, or game lines once the March Madness field is set and the tournament begins, you’ll find them in our March Madness odds feed below.

March Madness line movement 

NCAA Tournament futures and game lines are not set in stone. Sportsbooks will move these lines if new information about teams or games emerges, including injuries to key players. Sportsbooks will also move a line if the betting is too heavy on one side. A sportsbook’s goal is to draw an equal amount of betting to each side. That way, it can profit off the vig (the sportsbook’s cut for taking the action) without sweating the actual result.

If betting patterns force a sportsbook to move a line, only that sportsbook makes the change. That’s how a sportsbook that starts out with the same lines as other books can end up with different numbers. It’s also one of the reasons you should shop around for the best March Madness betting lines. Just look around at a variety of sportsbooks, or use the feed above. Finding a better line won’t help you win your bet, but it could make your wins more profitable.

Why bet on March Madness?

One of the main attractions to betting on March Madness is the variety of options. There are free March Madness bracket contests, paid bracket contests, futures bets and more than 60 individual games to bet on, if you wish. No matter how you do it, March Madness is always one of the most fun and exciting events to bet on in all of sport.

Guide to betting on March Madness 

Options for betting on March Madness include futures and individual game bets. Here’s a quick look at what you can bet on:

Point spreads

Individual game lines where you pick one team over another in a tournament game with a sportsbook’s betting spread factored into the final score. You lock in your bet at the currently posted odds, which are normally negative on both sides, to factor in a small vig (around 10%) for the sportsbook.


Bet on a team to win an upcoming game. You lock in your bet at the current odds and, if you win, receive payment based on those odds no matter how much they might change ahead of tipoff. The odds numbers will be negative for favorites and positive for underdogs.


Bet on the total combined score for both teams. The sportsbook will set a line before the game, and you can bet whether the actual total score will be over or under that line. As with point spreads, both sides will generally have slightly negative odds, usually around -110.


Place a long-term bet, such as betting on a team to win the whole tournament before it starts, or even before the college basketball season starts. College basketball betting futures like that will be available most of the year, but the odds fluctuate based on a team’s perceived chances of winning. You lock in your bet at the current odds when you place your bet. The odds will likely be bigger for true contenders the earlier you get a bet down and can drop substantially with the Final Four and title game in sight. Futures may also include round-by-round options to bet on a team to make the second round, the Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four, or championship game.

Live betting

Place bets on a game that’s in progress at odds that are constantly changing with the action on the court. Many of the bets that you could place before the game started will be available here, as well, with updated odds and lines. Live betting, sometimes referred to as micro betting, is generally easiest using an online sportsbook or app.

You can also usually stack up multiple bets onto one ticket—called a “parlay”—with tougher odds but much higher payouts. All of your picks on a parlay ticket have to come through for the parlay to pay out.

March Madness betting tips 

Success in March Madness betting tends to follow diversification. In other words, don’t put all your money down on one team in one game. Filling out a single bracket, or picking one team to win it all in the futures market, doesn’t normally lead to success.

However, entering more than one bracket in several contests or placing a number of small individual game bets might. Diversifying your betting gives you more chances to win, and while you won’t likely win all your bets, winning some of them can leave you with a profit. Other than that, consider these betting tips for March Madness:

  • Pick a No. 1 seed to win it all: Bet early enough on at least one of the four No. 1 seeds in the futures market, and you’ll get decent odds. No. 1 seeds have won the tournament 62% of the time.
  • Find a first round upset: Just remember that the lower-seeded teams almost always get out in the first round. A No. 1 has lost a first-round game just once in NCAA Tournament history, but once you get to the No. 12 vs. No. 5 matchup, you’ll find a greater potential for upsets.
  • Search for Cinderella: In 2021, UCLA became only the second First Four team in NCAA Tournament history to make the Final Four and just the fifth First Four team to advance to the Sweet 16. Every year, some team seems to play a similar Cinderella role, and identifying that team can pay off.
  • Don’t bet ’em all: No. 1 seeds may have won 62% of previous titles, but they can’t all win. That’s why betting on all four No. 1 seeds is a bad idea. The odds just don’t add up. Bet on all four No. 1’s, and you still could lose all four bets. Plus, you might even take a loss if one wins. Bet more than one team to win, and you could still make a profit if the one with the lowest odds pays enough to cover your bets. That just isn’t normally the case with all four No. 1 seeds.
  • Everybody loves the underdog: Identifying upsets can pay off big, yes, but be careful about firing away on too many. Be selective instead, by looking carefully at long shots and understanding that most don’t have a realistic chance.

Advantages of March Madness betting online

There are a number of perks that come with betting on March Madness online. These start with the convenience of being able to bet wherever you are inside the state, whether in your own home or your favorite place to watch a game. They continue with the ease of using online sportsbooks where you don’t have to use sportsbook jargon at a betting window to get a bet down. Plus, you can play around with bet amounts and combinations all you like.

These perks also extend to being able to get bets down fast enough to place live bets during games. Add in the fact that you can shop around for sports lines in minutes, not hours, without having to go anywhere, and it’s easy to appreciate some of the main advantages to betting on March Madness online.

How to sign up and bet at a FL online sportsbook

Creating an account at a legal Florida online sportsbook generally takes just a few minutes. You can begin by heading to the sportsbook’s website and clicking on the sign-up or registration button. You can also download the app to your phone or tablet and click the button there. Then, follow these steps:

1. Register for an account

Fill out the registration form with your info, including your name, email address and the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you have a sportsbook bonus code, enter it when the sportsbook prompts you to.

2. Deposit into your account

Fund your account using any of the available deposit methods. These will almost always include credit and debit cards, online bank transfers and online third-party payment processors like PayPal.

3. Browse March Madness markets and bet

Browse through the available March Madness bets. Click on any bet, and a bet slip will appear. Fill in an amount to bet and you’ll see the potential payouts. You can also add and remove bets, and turn multiple bets into a parlay. Once you settle on a bet or bets you want to place, click the “Place Bet” button at the bottom of the slip to go ahead. If you received bonus bets or bonus money for signing up, you can generally use them to place a bet here.

Bracket contests: Free vs. paid 

Bracket contests are a popular feature of March Madness. You fill out a 63-game bracket, picking a winner for every game, and enter it into some kind of free or paid-entry contest at the office, with friends, at a local bar or over the internet. Popular free March Madness bracket contests have long included the Yahoo Fantasy $50K Tourney Pick ’Em contest, the ESPN Tournament Challenge and the NCAA’s own Capital One/ Bracket Challenge.

Over the past few years, sportsbook market leaders have also added free contests. These include the $50K Bracket Battle and $1 million March Mania Survivor Pool at DraftKings online sportsbook. Plus, BetMGM Sportsbook’s free March Madness contest offered a cool $2 million for a perfect bracket and $100,000 for the top bracket in 2021. Every single year, these contests draw hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of entries, making your chances of winning pretty slim.

However, legal online sportsbooks also offer paid-entry March Madness bracket contests, which tend to draw fewer entries than the free ones. Fewer entries means a better chance to win. While there’s no reason not to enter a free contest, the free March Madness contests are really just a shot in the dark.

Florida teams in March Madness

University of Florida

The Florida Gators posted back-to-back NCAA Tournament wins in 2006 and 2007. The Gators have appeared in 22 NCAA Tournaments overall, reaching the Final Four five times. They have appeared in the past four tournaments, but have gone no further than the second round since an Elite Eight appearance in 2017.

To see more on the Gators, visit our dedicated Florida Gators odds page.

Florida State

The Florida State Seminoles have appeared in 18 NCAA Tournaments. They’ve been to the Sweet 16 seven times, the Elite Eight three times, and the Final Four and championship game once. The title game appearance came in 1972, when the Seminole lost to UCLA.

To see more on the Seminoles, visit our dedicated Florida Seminoles odds page.

Florida Gulf Coast

The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles have appeared in the NCAA Tournament just three times. However, the 2013 appearance was a memorable one, with the No. 15 Eagles beating No. 2 Georgetown in the first round, becoming only the seventh 15th seed to beat a No. 2. Then, the Eagles beat No. 7 seeded San Diego State in the second round to become the first 15th seed to advance to the Sweet 16 in NCAA history.

University of Miami

The Miami Hurricanes have been to the NCAA Tournament 10 times, with an overall record of 8-10. They made the Sweet 16 3 times, but have fallen short of the Elite Eight and Final Four. Most recently, they lost to Loyola 62-64 in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

To see more on the Hurricanes, visit our dedicated Miami Hurricanes odds page.