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.
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
100% Welcome Bonus up to £50 Promo Code: TONY5018+ New Players only. For free bet wagering requirements and minimum odds read T&C’s. www.begambleaware.org Terms Apply In order to activate this bonus on the personal TonyBet account, please, enter the bonus code TONY50 when a deposit is made and wager your deposit 10 times on betting markets with odds of at least 1.65 within 30 days. This offer is available to new players who made the first deposit. All players must be 18+ years old and of a required legal age to gamble. Odd/even, no action (bets made on both sides of the same bet), cancelled bets, replicated bets and bets that have had their odds equated to 1 are not included into the bonus wagering.
Bet £10, Get £30 in Free Bets + £10 Casino Bonus
Bet £10 Get £1018+ New Players only. For free bet wagering requirements and minimum odds read T&C’s. www.begambleaware.org Terms Apply 18+. New UK customers only. Min bet £10 to receive £10 Free Bet (placed and settled 35 days from registration). Min odds of 3/5. Free Bet credited at qualifying bet settlement and placed within 35 days. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly, www.begambleaware.org - Full Terms Apply
Get up to £100 in Free Bets + up to 100% in Boosts18+ New Players only. For free bet wagering requirements and minimum odds read T&C’s. www.begambleaware.org Terms Apply 18+, New customers only. Deposit + bet £20-£100. Must Deposit £50 and opt in for marketing preferences for Boosts. Boosts credited 24 hours after deposit. Full T&Cs apply. Begambleware.org
Open Account Offer - Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365
Bet £10, Get £1018+ New Players only. For free bet wagering requirements and minimum odds read T&C’s. www.begambleaware.org Terms Apply 18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit: €10, max €10 bonus, valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement.System bets no eligible. Click to see full T&Cs
EXCLUSIVE: Bet £15, Get £1018+ New Players only. For free bet wagering requirements and minimum odds read T&C’s. www.begambleaware.org Terms Apply 18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit,: £10, max £10 free bet valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. System bets not eligible. Neteller,Skrill and Paypal not eligible. T&Cs apply
Bet £10, Get £10 + 50 Extra Spins18+ New Players only. For free bet wagering requirements and minimum odds read T&C’s. www.begambleaware.org Terms Apply New customer offer; Place first £10 bet on sports with 3 legs at odds of 1.3 or greater per leg; Free Bet and Extra Spins credited after the qualifying bet has settled; Free Multiple Bet must contain 3 legs at odds of 1.3 or greater per leg; Free Bet and Extra Spin stakes not returned; No wagering requirements on winnings; £200 max win; T&C’s apply; 18+
Bet £20, Get £1018+ New Players only. For free bet wagering requirements and minimum odds read T&C’s. www.begambleaware.org Terms Apply 18+ New Customers Only. Minimum Deposit and wagering on sport to activate the Free Bet is £20. Customers who deposit using Neteller, Paysafe, Skrill or Skril 1-Tap will not be eligible for any free bet offer.BeGambleaware.org
Bet £10, Get £20 in Free Bets18+ New Players only. For free bet wagering requirements and minimum odds read T&C’s. www.begambleaware.org Terms Apply Qualifying bet must be min odds of 1/2 and cannot be placed in-play or cashed out. E.g. Place a £10bet at minimum odds of 1/2. When that bet has been settled, you will be given a free £5 fixed odds bet to use that day. New customers only. See full Ts&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware
Stay In The Loop With Free Bets, Insider Tips & More!
Live Betting. Sports Promos. Sent Weekly.