This article was last updated in 2020. Check back for a list of the best free March Madness pools in 2021!
The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, or March Madness, is upon us once again. The annual event also heralds the fact that bracket contests are running all over the place. We’ve combed through them, and found the five best FREE March Madness bracket contests.
FanDuel Sportsbook Bracket Madness
In 2019, FanDuel Sportsbook awarded $250,000 to those who scored the highest in the site’s March Madness bracket competition. The top bracket won a massive prize of $100,000.
This contest was both completely free to enter and open to residents in all 50 states. In order to play, all one had to do was register for a free FanDuel account. Then, make sure to fill out a bracket before tip-off in the first round of the tournament.
We expect another big bracket contest from FanDuel in 2021, so stay tuned.
DraftKings Sportsbook Brackets
DraftKings Sportsbook is one of the top online sportsbooks in the US right now. So, it’s fitting that the site has opened its app to the entire country for March Madness.
Brackets is a free-to-enter March Madness contest that promises big bucks for a group of players. Anyone in the US can join the contest. In 2019, participants compete for their share of $64,000.
Additionally, players in New Jersey had an additional opportunity to win big money. For only $20, Garden Staters had the opportunity to play for a separate $100,000 prize pool.
Register at DraftKings to get into the action in 2021. There’s literally no reason not to try it.
Yahoo Best Bracket Millionaire
Yahoo Sports annually offers one of the simplest and most direct bracket contests available. Like other “mainstream” sites, however, there is less divvying of the prize pool.
As its name implies, Yahoo’s Best Bracket Millionaire contest will award the top bracket a cool million dollars. To that end, there are no catches — the rules even mention a lump-sum check for $1 million.
However, that’s the only prize that Yahoo! is offering to its players. So, to paraphrase Maverick, there’s going to be an awful lot of broken hearts at the end of the contest.
Nevertheless, it’s a free shot at a million bucks, so why not take it? After all, somebody has to win.
ESPN – Tournament Challenge
ESPN unsurprisingly has its own tournament challenge. In 2019, the “worldwide leader” awarded $22,950 in prizes to players in the contest.
However, ESPN is also the most corporate of sports organizations. So, fittingly, its corporate relationships preclude it from the largesse of some of the other contests.
In fact, according to the contest rules, ESPN must award prizes that are both somewhat randomly distributed and are not actually cash. So, the combination of a Hawaii trip and site subscriptions are the basis of the company’s prize pool.
First prize for ESPN’s Tournament Challenge in 2019 was a five-night trip for two to the Maui Jim Invitational basketball tournament in 2020. The prize also included $10,000 in Amazon gift cards.
The prize winner was picked from a random drawing of the top brackets in the contest. ESPN selected from the top 1 percent of returns to generate a winner.
Additionally, 60 randomly-drawn players in the top 3 groups won ESPN+ subscriptions.
What will ESPN offer in its Tournament Challenge in 2021? We’ll update you here as soon as we know.
Caesars March Pick’em Challenge
Caesars Casino offered an excellent prize giveaway for March Madness in 2019. Unfortunately, the March Pick’em Challenge was only available in New Jersey, so it bears only an honorable mention on this list.
Nevertheless, those who are in or near the Garden State could compete for more than $50,000 in cash and prizes. In fact, everyone who filled out a bracket on the Caesars was awarded a free $20 sports bet.
As with other bracket contests, players accrued points based upon their correct selections in their brackets. Caesars awarded prizes using a simple leaderboard.
The first-place finisher won an outstanding prize – a $250 sports bet every week for an entire year! Second place received a similar deal, only for $100 per week. And the third-place finisher got a Las Vegas vacation.
Other prizes included smaller, single free bets and stays at Caesars Atlantic City.