NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament 2016 Betting Preview: March Madness Begins


NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament 2016 Betting Preview: March Madness Begins

Midway through March annually marks the beginning of college basketball hysteria in the States, better known as March Madness. This year the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, the center of the hysteria, kicks off Tuesday and runs till the 4th of April.

The NCAA Tournament has long been a major event not only among basketball fans but gambling enthusiasts as well due to it's unpredictable yet potentially lucrative nature. According to the American Gaming Association, it's projected Americans alone will legally wager $9.2 billion on the tournament this year, an astronomical feat considering sports betting is only legal in a few of the 50 states.

The following betting preview should help punters not as familiar with the anarchy of March Madness as they look to join in the volatile yet exciting NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament market.

Tournament Format

The tournament features 68 US Division I collegiate (amateur) basketball teams participating in a single-elimination tournament to decide the National Champion. The amount of teams and match ups make for a tough betting market to crack but also provide opportunity for the most shrewd of punters to take home massive winnings.

The teams are ranked and divided into four regions (South, West, Midwest, East) based on their regular and post- season performances leading up to the tournament selection. The tournament was increased to 68 teams a few years ago and to account, two play-in games were added to decide the 63rd and 64th teams to enter the four region bracket. The four regions are then ranked 1 through 16 with four teams receiving the #1 seed rank and so on.

Like the EPL's FA Cup, the tournament format affords teams from small universities, known as mid-majors, the opportunity to earn a bid and compete with the premier teams of college basketball. These match-ups of powerhouse teams vs mid-majors have always baffled bookies as the odds will always favor the bigger squad yet each year the tournament features at least one, if not a few, unthinkable upsets by overwhelming underdogs, known as 'Cinderellas'. It's vital for punters to highly consider upsets when betting on this tournament.

South Region: #1 Seed - Kansas Jayhawks

The Jayhawks earned the number one overall seed in the tournament after a stellar 2015-2016 performance. After winning both the B12 regular season and tournament, Kansas is poised to bring home the University's 4th title but has the likes of a #2 ranked Villanova and rival #11 Wichita State waiting in the winds. Kansas wouldn't see either team till a little later in the bracket but will probably need to go through one to win the region.

888 Sports doesn't have the most generous odds on Kansas to win the region, so if you're looking for a little more favourable odds take a look at a #3 Miami (littered with veteran talent and an experienced coach) offered at 9/1 or #4 Maryland which, like Miami, has the tools to succeed in the tournament after spending part of the year ranked #1 in the country. 888 Sports offers 10/1 odds on Maryland to win the South Region.

West Region: #1 Seed - Oregon Ducks

The biggest surprise of the tournament selection was the #1 seed given to the Oregon Ducks, the first time the school has ever received the coveted tournament ranking. The team did win the PAC 12 regular season and tournament titles but was considered by many experts to be more suited as a #2 or even #3 seed based on their on-court performances. Regardless, the Ducks sit atop a loaded West Region that features a Buddy Hield-led #2 Oklahoma squad as well as SEC Champs #3 Texas A&M and an always competitive #4 Duke team.

The surprise #1 ranking for the Ducks hasn't swayed bookies as most still favor Oklahoma to win the region. It's recommended punters check out some lower ranked yet still talented teams in the region like a surprisingly talented, A-10 Champion #11 Saint Joseph's Hawks offered at 26/1.

East Region: #1 Seed - North Carolina Tarheels

The deepest region in the tournament, the East Region features two perennial basketball schools in North Carolina and Kentucky as well as two extremely talented 2015-16 teams in West Virginia and Xavier. Brackets like this year's East Region are what make this tournament so interesting. The unbelievable match ups expected to emerge from this region will bring not only incredible basketball but an unpredictable betting market.

With so many talented teams in the one region it's safe to pick one of the higher ranked teams as their odds aren't as low as if they were to be in a less competitive region. Xavier, who spent most the year in contention for a #1 seed slipped a bit at the end of the season pushing them down to a #4 ranking but this doesn't mean the team doesn't have #1-2 seed talent. 888 Sports offers the Musketeers at 17/2 to win the region.

Midwest Region: #1 Seed - Virginia Cavaliers

The Midwest Region, like the West, features a #1 seed not favoured by the bookies. The Virginia Cavaliers failed to win the ACC title yet received the #3 overall tournament ranking due to an undeniable record against some of the top teams throughout the regular season. Unfortunately, those wins in the regular season didn't mean much in the conference tournament which has bookies nervous. Most punters will find #2 ranked Michigan State are favoured to win the region after an incredible 2015-2016 season only derailed by injury to their star player early on.

The West Region seems to be the weakest in terms of overall talent. The top 4 seeds struggle to stand up to the other brackets' top 4 yet this region features a team some consider the most realistic 'Cinderella' to reach the Final Four in Gonzaga. The #11 ranked Gonzaga team competed all year and is no stranger to the tournament the last few decades. 888 Sports offers 15/1 odds on the mid-major reaching the Final Four, the same odds as the #4 Iowa State squad.

Recommended Betting Sites

Terms and Conditions apply for all bonuses. Must be +18 to participate.

Betting Strategy Articles

Finding Value Bets Following World Cup Group Announcements
Finding Value Bets Following World Cup Group Announcements

The World Cup draws ever closer and the groups have now been announced. If you're planning on taking a punt on some of the games, finding value bets is – quite literally – your best bet, so here's som ... Read More

Bookmakers Shift Trump’s Odds in Favor of Finishing Term
Bookmakers Shift Trump’s Odds in Favor of Finishing Term

Many bookmakers offered generous prices on Trump finishing his first year's term but his first year in the White House has seen his odds fall. The movement has raised the question of whether the Presi ... Read More

Hamilton’s Title Hunt Makes Abu Dhabi Betting Interesting
Hamilton’s Title Hunt Makes Abu Dhabi Betting Interesting

The Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi has seemingly favoured betting on a select group of F1 drivers. As the teams head to the Persian Gulf for the race on 26 September 2017, let's take a look at the Fo ... Read More

Betting the Davis Cup Final Could Mean Backing an Underdog
Betting the Davis Cup Final Could Mean Backing an Underdog

After battling away for the best part of 2017, the Davis Cup finalists, France and Germany, are now just one victory away from securing the famous tennis trophy for their country but the bookmakers ha ... Read More

Why You Should Be Wagering the ATP World Tour Finals 2017
Why You Should Be Wagering the ATP World Tour Finals 2017

The 2017 ATP World Tour Finals are shaping up to be an intriguing week of tennis, with several new faces and a new sponsor to spice things up. Time to take a look at the runners and riders and see whe ... Read More

Hamilton Securing Title Means Betting Value in Brazil 2017
Hamilton Securing Title Means Betting Value in Brazil 2017

The penultimate race of the Formula One season takes place this weekend. The drivers’ championship may be over but there's still plenty of interest in the Brazilian Grand Prix, and time to place your ... Read More

Betting Navigation


Sign up for the free Newsletter to stay on top of all the best bonuses!
We will never share or misuse your personal information. Privacy Policy

Latest Betting Strategy


Country Guide

DISCLAIMER: Online Wagering is illegal in some Jurisdictions. It is your responsibility to check your local regulations before playing online. GDC Trading Ltd takes no responsibility for your actions.
© 2011-2017 GDC Trading Limited. All Rights Reserved. is a registered trademark of GDC Trading Limited.
Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy