The first round of the NCAA tournament begins on Thursday, March 16th. At that point, it is a month-long journey for 64 teams to win and survive to win a National Championship. March Madness competes with the super as one of the best sporting events of the year.
What makes March Madness so different is that instead of watching just one game of excitement, you get to watch 63 games over a month. Each game will leave you on the seat of your couch. Fans will experience some of the most heart-breaking defeats to the most uplifting victories. So, sit back and relax, at least try to while the madness all unfolds.
- First Four: March 14-15.
- First round: March 16-17.
- Second round: March 18-19.
- Sweet 16: March 23-34.
- Elite Eight: March 25-26.
- Final Four: April 1.
- NCAA Championship Game: April 3.
Teams with Difficult Paths
One of the biggest reasons that March Madness has become so popular is the tradition of filling out brackets, trying to fill out the perfect Bracket (almost impossible) and trying to predict who would make it to the Final Four and ultimately wins the National Championship.
The Bracket comprises 64 teams that play in a single-elimination tournament until one team is left standing and crowned Champion.
The Bracket is divided into four regions, with 16 teams in each region. The four teams that win their region are called the Final 4. When filling out your Bracket, it is crucial to try and pick as many final four teams correctly as possible to have a shot at predicting the Champion.
This is where we try to help distinguish who makes it to the Final Four.
Below we break down what teams may have the most challenging path to winning their region.
Kansas draws the #1 seed down in the West region, which most considers the most challenging region in this year’s bracket. Looking at the best March Madness betting sites, Kansas has the 5th highest odds at +1200, which is also the highest out of all the number seeds.
To get to the Final Four, Kansas may have to fight through #8 Arkansas, #4 Uconn, #3 Gonzaga and #2 UCLA. This is all contingent that these higher seeds are winning and advancing. All those teams in the Jayhawks’ path rank higher in adjusted offensive efficiency except for Arkansas.
Texas landed the #2 seed in the Midwest Region. At first glance, it may look like they have a cakewalk to the Elite 8, but I’m not so sure that’s the case.
Texas better not come out too sleepy against their first-round opponent Colgate. Colgate ranks number one in effective field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage. If Texas is not careful, they may find themselves in a dogfight and be on the wrong end of another #2 seed losing in the first round.
If they survive Colgate, they have another offensive powerhouse to deal with in Xavier. Xavier has the 8th-rated offense, 9th-best effective field-goal percentage and the 3rd-best 3-point percentage.
If Texas’ defense can slow those two offenses down, they still have a potential matchup with #1 Houston.
#12 Oral Robert over #5 Duke
Oral Robert was one shot away from reaching the Elite 8 two years ago. Max Abmas led that team to wins against #2 Ohio State and #7 Florida. Bad news for Duke fans because Max Abmas still plays for the Golden Eagles.
Abmas is averaging 22.8 ppg on nearly ten 3-point attempts per game. Oral Roberts ranks 22 in total offense and top 40 in 3P5, 2P% and FT%.
While Duke is great at defending, sometimes their offense goes cold. They rank 196th in 3P% and 114th in 2P%.
#13 Kent State over #4 Indiana
This is more about the matchup than Indiana being a lousy team. Indiana has all the tools to be great and make a run, but this could be a better draw for them.
Mike Woodson’s crew has trouble with opponents with great guard play, precisely what Kent State has in Sincere Carry. Kent ended the regular season as hot as anyone, winning 7 of their last eight games, including Toledo in the season Finale. The Golden Flashes also went on to win the MAC Championship with another impressive win over the Toledo Rockets.
Senior Guard Sincere Carry is good enough to carry Kent State past Indiana and potentially make a run to the Sweet 16.
March Madness Betting Odds
Like any other basketball game, the point spread, Over/Under, and moneyline may be the most common ways to bet on March Madness games.
Betting The Spread
The point is the estimated gap between the two teams on the scoreboard, set by oddsmakers to balance the level of competition before each NCAA tournament game.
Betting The Total
The total or Over/Under is the projected total number of points scored by both teams in their tournament game. Bettors can wager on whether the final score will go Over or Under this total.
Betting The Moneyline
The moneyline is the most straightforward method for betting on March Madness: simply pick which team will win. Each team is assigned a moneyline value based on its implied probability of winning the game outright.
Future bets are any wagers placed on an event that will take place in the future. Championships like the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, or NCAA National Championship are among the most popular future bets.
For March Madness, you can place future bets on who wins The National Championship or on individual teams to make it to the Final Four.
March Madness props can focus on individual teams or player performances.
Other fun props could include bettings on the number of teams from a conference to advance to the Sweet 16 or how many teams with the mascot of an animal make it to the Elite 8.
An increasingly popular prop bet is “First to 15 Points.” The game is in the name: bet on which team will score 15 points first. Bookmakers will set odds for either side in this race to 15 based on their matchup, and bettors get to enjoy a thrilling back-and-forth bet that usually pays out in the first 10 minutes of the game.
As March Madness approaches, don’t feel the need to bet on every game. Please research, pick a select few, and stick to it. You should only risk 3%-5% of your bankroll on each game. Proper bankroll management will help through the highs and lows of betting this tournament.
Remember, March Madness is meant to be fun, have fun with your bets and brackets but remember to research your picks, use proper bankroll management and try to be the lucky one who finds this year’s Cinderella team.