NCAA Tournament Bracket & March Madness Odds Tips
Selection Sunday is here, and soon March Madness will be heating up as college basketball fans scramble to submit their 2023 NCAA Tournament bracket. The only thing better than filling out a bracket? Betting on March Madness odds.
If you’re a fan of March Madness bracket pools and plan to either bet on the games or use NCAA Tournament odds to help make your picks, this unique page will be a one-stop shop covering everything you need. Even if you aren’t in a state with legal sports betting, you should at least use the first-round betting lines to help pick which teams will advance to the round of 32. More on that in a second.
We’ll start from the top and break down what you need to know about this year’s NCAA Tournament and conclude with some timely March Madness bracket and betting tips.
How Does The 2023 NCAA Tournament Odds Bracket Work?
As you can see, here at Scores And Odds, we will give you a live, updated look at the 2023 NCAA Tournament as soon as the Selection Committee announces the field of 68.
This page will begin by showing you all 32 first-round matchups. You will see which teams are playing against each other along with seeding for all four regions, and each game will be accompanied by it respective spread and point total.
Once a game tips off, each matchup will be updated with live scores and results, and we will rinse and repeat this process all the way to the final Monday of the NCAA Tournament.
Of course, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Sports betting is growing rapidly in the U.S. and many college basketball fans will be betting on NCAA Tournament odds for the very first time this March
If you’re a first-time bettor, then you may still be trying to grasp what some of these terms are and how to read lines. With that in mind, let’s go over how to read March Madness bracket odds so that you know exactly what you’re doing when making your picks, whether at a sportsbook or filling out your tournament bracket.
How To Read March Madness Odds For Beginners
If you’ve previously bet on the NBA or any other sport, then you should know that betting on March Madness, and college basketball more generally, is no different.
Throughout the 2023 NCAA Tournament, which begins with a field of 68 teams announced on Selection Sunday, you’ll be able to bet on a total of 67 college basketball games. In those games, bettors have the opportunity to wager on the moneyline, spread, over/under (or total), as well as a plethora for March Madness props, including unique player props and game props, not to mention updated college basketball futures.
College Basketball Point Spreads
The point spread, which we touch on even more in How To Read Lines, is a handicap made by oddsmakers and sportsbooks to adjust for the talent between two teams. The point spread is by far the most popular way to bet on March Madness at sportsbooks.
Here’s an example of a college basketball point spread:
- Duke Blue Devils -6.5 (-110) vs. Oral Roberts +6.5 (-110).
In this example, if you bet on Duke, they must win by five or more points for you to win your wager. If they win by exactly four points, the bet is graded as push, which means neither you nor the sportsbook loses — you get your money back. And if Duke wins by three points or fewer, or if Virginia wins outright, then bets on the Duke point spread lose.
By betting on the point spread, underdog teams don’t have to win outright in order for your bets to win. They only need to cover the spread. So, returning to the example above, bets on Virginia win so long as Virginia loses by no more than three points. A four-point loss is again graded out as push, while losses of five points or greater also count as lost bets.
Our 2023 NCAA Tournament bracket odds put the spread next to the favorite in each game, while the point total (over/under) will appear beside the underdog. To the left of each team will be their seed. When a favorite covers the spread, the spread will be highlighted orange.
Point Totals, Over/Unders
As mentioned above, the point total will sit next to the underdog. The point total is how many combined points oddsmakers project the two teams to scores. Sports bettors can place wagers over or under this number. So if you see o143 in a game, and you bet over, you need the combined score to be 144 points or more. If it’s 143, the bet is graded as a push and you receive your money back. If the end result is fewer than 143 combined points, you lose your bet.
Keep in mind, point totals vary drastically from one game to the next depending on the matchup and playing styles of two teams. Last year’s national title game had an over/under of 160 points, but other games had lower totals closer to 120.
Points totals won’t necessarily help you compete in a bracket pool, but we will explain how you can take advantage of March Madness betting odds, like the spread and futures prices, to fill out your tournament bracket.
2023 CBB National Championship Odds
Another feature on this page is the showing of live national championship odds. At the top of the bracket, you will find the four teams with the shortest odds to cut down the net at the conclusion of the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
- Houston +600
- Alabama +800
- Kansas +1200
- Purdue +1200
At the bottom of the bracket are four more teams with the next-shortest odds.
- UCLA +1200
- Arizona +1600
- Texas +2000
- Gonzaga +1800
As you’ve probably noticed, futures odds to win the NCAA Tournament are displayed differently than the other betting options (spread and point total) that we’ve discussed.
The odds to the right of each team tell bettors how much a wager will pay in the event the team wins the national championship. If it’s +800, like we see next to Alabama, then the payout will be 8X the initial wager + the amount you risked. So a winning $100 wager on +800 odds would result in $800 profit. Similarly, a $100 wager on +375 odds profits $375. If the bet is a placed at a legal sportsbook, the payout is $475 ($375 profit + $100 bet).
To be clear, these odds show who oddsmakers favor and think have the best chance to win the NCAA Tournament. For your convenience, this odds page also shows you which sportsbook has the best championship odds for each team, so that you can get the best payout available. The odds shopping process is now as quick and painless as possible.
If you want to bet one of these teams to run the table, simply hover your mouse over their odds (e.g., DUKE +1200) and click “BET NOW” to be taken directly to the sportsbook. Doing this will also give you access to a special sign-up bonus, usually in the form of a risk-free bet or deposit match. Utilizing sign-up offers is the perfect way to jumpstart your March Madness betting endeavors if you haven’t already signed up at the referenced sportsbook.
How To Use March Madness Odds To Fill Out Tournament Bracket
Now that we’ve wrapped up the basics, let’s go over how to use these March Madness odds to fill out your 2023 NCAA Tournament bracket. There are actually a couple of ways that include using the spreads and futures odds that you should be aware of if you want an edge against your competition.
Seeding vs. Spread
Each region (North, South, West, East) has 16 teams, seeded 1-16. The first-round matchups are as follows:
- 1 vs. 16
- 2 vs. 15
- 3 vs. 14
- 4 vs. 13
- 5 vs. 12
- 6 vs. 11
- 7 vs. 10
- 8 vs. 9
It probably wasn’t necessary to explain how seeding works but almost 40 million individual Americans partake in filling out over 70 million tournament brackets each year, many of whom are making a tournament bracket for the very first time and only watch college basketball during the postseason. There’s a reason why they call it March Madness!
A common mistake amongst novice college basketball fans is the assumption that the team with the lower seed is automatically the better team and thus the favorite to win the game. Some people will go as far as filling out their tournament bracket by auto-picking the lowest seed in each game.
While it’s generally true that the lower seed is the better team, especially when there’s a wide seeding gap (i.e., 3 vs. 14) things are not always so simple, and you definitely shouldn’t be picking who advances based on seeding alone.
Look at last year’s first-round matchup between the 7-seed Clemson vs. 10-seed Rutgers. Because they were the lower seed, Clemson was the more popular pick to advance in the big bracket pools, like on ESPN. However, according to the odds at sportsbooks, Rutgers was actually favored to win! Oddsmakers favored Rutgers by 2.5 points (RUT -2.5), and the Scarlett Knights went on to win 60-56.
We saw more of this in the second round, which makes sense because the gap between seeds begin to close the further we go into the tournament. 3-seed Kansas matched up against 6-seed USC. Despite the seeding, USC was -1.5 on the betting line. The Trojans went on to cover the spread by winning handily in an 85-51 blowout.
In short, use the spreads rather than seeding to identify who is most likely to advance. This is a bigger advantage when you’re playing in a bracket pool with inexperienced players or people who don’t bet on sports because they will often pick the better seed without looking at the odds.
Additionally, if you’re trying to find spots in the bracket to be contrarian, you can use the spreads to find short underdogs. You don’t necessarily want to pick the favorite in every matchup, but you also don’t want to go out on a limb and pick a double-digit underdog as a key upset. Instead, use the betting lines in this bracket to identify underdogs that have a reasonable chance to upset their opponents. For example, an 11-seed that is only +3 on the spread versus a 6-seed. This may be the ideal spot to pick an upset if you expect the rest of your pool to be overweight on the 6-seed.
Picking An NCAA Tournament Winner
If you want to win your NCAA Tournament bracket pools, you likely need to pick the national championship winner. At first glance you’ll probably turn to this one of the No. 1 seeds to be your winner. Here’s the problem with that: a lot of other people are also picking the betting favorite, or at the very least other No. 1 seeds, to win the tournament in their bracket.
Winning is easier said than done, even for the best teams in the tournament. Think about it, they have to win six straight games against some of the toughest competition they’ve seen all year if they want to be national champions. Once again, they call it March Madness for a reason!
At +600 odds, Houston has an implied probability of 14.3% to win the title game, yet it’s possible that if you’re in a pool of 100 people, as many as a quarter of the pool will pick them as their winner. This is the same team that just lost to Memphis by 10 points.
You don’t necessarily have to pick any of these top teams to win your bracket. Your goal should always be to pick the team that best maximizes your odds of winning the pool you’re filling out a bracket for. Again, this will vary depending on the size of the pool and the experience/sharpness of your competitors. Are you competing against a small group of family and friends, an entire office, or the entire country? The answer will impact what team you should pick to win it all.
Whatever the case, NCAA Tournament odds can still aid your process, helping you find dark horse teams that are undervalued by the rest of your pool.
Good luck with your 2023 NCAA Tournament bracket and make sure to check this page for live updates, scores and odds all the way through the Final Four!