There are 68 available spots in the NCAA Tournament: 32 teams get in by way of winning their respective conference tournaments while the remaining 36 “at-large” teams are chosen by the NCAA selection committee, a 10-person group made up of athletic directors and conference commissioners.
The committee takes into consideration a number of different criteria to determine the best 36 teams that did not win their conference tournament. The committee then seeds the teams 1-68, which makes up the four separate 1-16 regions (plus the four play-in games).
This year, Selection Sunday takes place on March 12 at 6 p.m. ET. The selection show will be aired on CBS with the bracket being revealed to show the 68 teams who qualify for this year’s tournament. Games begin with the First Four on March 14-15. First-round games start on March 16-17, with second-round contests taking place on March 18-19. The Sweet 16 will be held on March 23-24 before the Elite Eight on March 25-26. Houston will host the Final Four on April 1 with the national title game tipping off on April 3.
Duke and Kentucky are the early favorites at +1000, Arkansas, Gonzaga and Kansas at +1200 and North Carolina and UCLA at +1400.
March Madness is one of the most wagered on events of the year. Given the number of games and the unpredictable nature of the tournament, it always draws betting interest. This will be the first March Madness tournament residents in markets such as Ohio and Maryland can place bets online through their mobile devices now that Maryland and Ohio online sportsbook apps will be live by then.
Bettors can expect to wager on point spreads, totals, futures, parlays and even in-game wagering. Expect some point spreads to reach the 30s with favored No. 1 seeds taking on relatively unknown underdogs from smaller conferences. This can also lead to inflated moneyline odds with heavily-favored teams.
Depending on your state, individual player props may also be a wagering option. These can include the Over-Under on an individual's player points or rebounds totals. Some states also have individual props on who will be named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
Futures odds continue to update throughout the tournament, too. Bettors can wager on a team to make the Sweet 16, Final Four, or win the national title. Sportsbooks also give players the option to bet on which conference the national champion will come from.
Sports betting has continued to expand across the country as more states have legalized it in recent years. Some states have opted for an online-only market, such as Wyoming, while others like South Dakota only permit retail sports betting in the city of Deadwood.
When online sports betting in New York officially launched in January 2022, it became the biggest state to have sports wagering. The state has produced higher handle totals in a week than most states do in an entire month.
In addition to the ease and speed that online sports betting provides, it also allows players to shop the best line across multiple sportsbooks, which is critical for profiting long-term in sports betting. For instance, the UCLA Bruins could be favored by -7 at FanDuel, but Caesars Sportsbook could have the Bruins as -6-point favorites. Searching for the best line across all the games is critical for every sports bettor, and a state with multiple online books benefits the bettors.
March Madness is one of the most thrilling events in sports and can be enjoyed further with responsible gaming. A standard bet should be 1% to 2% of your entire bankroll, meaning if you have $1,000 bankroll, a standard wager would be $10 or $20 depending on your unit size. Betting responsibly is key to enjoying March Madness when it comes to betting on all the games.
March Madness starts on March 14-15 with the First Four games and ends on April 3 with the national title contest.
The first round takes place on March 16-17, while the second round is from March 18-19. These games will take place across the country, including in Birmingham, Ala., Des Moines, Iowa, Orlando, Sacramento, Calif., Albany, N.Y., Columbus, Ohio, Denver and Greensboro, N.C.
The Sweet 16 will be played on March 23-24.
Elite Eight games will be held on March 25-26.
The Final Four is taking place at the NRG Stadium in Houston with games tipping off on April 1.
Houston will host the national title game on April 3.
Yes, if you live in one of the states with a form of legalized sports betting.
Early odds have Duke and Kentucky at +1000, Arkansas, Gonzaga and Kansas at +1200 and North Carolina and UCLA at +1400.
"Bryce joined Gambling.com after spending the last nine years covering high school and college sports throughout Michigan. He’s served as the primary Division II beat writer for Grand Valley State and Michigan Tech. Along with his newspaper background, he's worked in marketing and recently co-founded Upbeat — the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s first subscription-based prep sports website. His favorite sports to gamble on are football, basketball, baseball and Formula 1."