5 Best Free March Madness Bracket Contests For 2023

Written By Staff on January 5, 2023
Free Bracket Contest

The 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, or March Madness, began on Tuesday, March 15 with the First Four and then in earnest on March 17 with the 64-team playoff. Along with March Madness come myriad contests, as bracket-mania sweeps the nation.

Which March Madness bracket contests should you enter in order to win big prizes? We at the TheLines have circled a few great options for you.

Free Pick’Em Contests! Compete for prizes every day by entering our free betting games. NFL, NBA, college basketball and more!

BetMGM March Madness Special Offer! Bet $10 on a moneyline and win $200 if either team makes a 3-pointer!

TheLines’ March Madness Contest

This year for the first time, TheLines will host our very own March Madness contest. It’s a little different than your standard “fill in the blank and lock it in” format that requires picking every game in advance and freezes picks at the tip of the first game.

Instead, TheLines will provide an eight-pick “betting card” and contestants pick winners against the spread each day of the tournament.

Players who accumulate the most points in the following sections of the tournament will win their shares of up to $5,800 in prizes:

  • First and second rounds (March 17-20)
  • Sweet 16 and Elite Eight (March 24-27)
  • Final Four (April 2)
  • Championship (April 4)

Learn all about TheLines‘ contest here.

BetMGM $10 Million Bracket Challenge

BetMGM is introducing a $10 million free-to-play challenge.

“Our team created fun and interactive content to enhance the tournament experience for our players online and in-person regardless of whether or not their bracket has busted,” said BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt.

BetMGM mobile users can win $10 million by predicting the perfect bracket for March Madness. The free-to-play contest is available in the mobile app to complete their entries. If no one guesses a perfect bracket, the player that accumulates the most points throughout the tournament will be rewarded with the $100,000 guaranteed prize.

BetMGM uses a doubling system for their points, starting at one point for the first round and progressing to 32 for the championship. No other prizes will be awarded besides the top prize, so you’ll have to play for the win. Only one entry per BetMGM account is allowed.

Plus, new customers to BetMGM receive a $1,000 risk-free bet for March Matchups, or you can choose the bet $10, win $200 option in the banner above. 

March Madness Betting Analysis

DraftKings Free March Mania Survivor Pool

DraftKings is once again running its free March Mania Survivor Pool, with the winner set to receive $30,000!

The way this survivor pool works is that you pick one team each day to win during the NCAA tournament (except for the Elite 8 round where you’ll pick one team across all four games).

If your pick wins, you advance. And you can only pick each team once per entry – much like your standard NFL Survivor Pool. Prizes will be paid out among the longest surviving entries.

Get started at DraftKings Sportsbook ahead of March Madness and sign up by going here.

DraftKings Free $60K Bracket Battle

DraftKings has brought back it Bracket Battle game, this time bumping the prize from $50K to $60K.

Bracket Battle is a pretty standard bracket picking contest. The scoring doubles for each round as follows:

  • First Round: 10 points
  • Second Round: 20 points
  • Sweet 16: 40 points
  • Elite 8: 80 points
  • Final Four: 160 points
  • National Championship: 320 points

Sign up and enter the bracket battle at DraftKings here.

Contestants can only make one entry. Be aware that individuals in jurisdictions that bar betting on in-state college teams won’t be able to pick such teams in the game.

DraftKings has flattened out this year’s payouts to the following format:

  • 1st: $2,500
  • 2nd-3rd: $1,000
  • 4th-6th: $500
  • 7th-16th: $250
  • 17th-46th: $100
  • 47th-146th: $50
  • 147th-646th: $25
  • 647th-2,396th: $10
  • 2,397th-5,096th: $5

ESPN Tournament Challenge

ESPN unsurprisingly has its own tournament challenge, and this year it has $100,000 in prize money.

The ESPN contest has a bit of a different structure. While the scoring is basically the same as Yahoo’s (see below), the grand prize winner comes from a random drawing. The entrants who score the most points in each round of the tournament get a ticket into that drawing.

At the end of March Madness, ESPN draws the winner from the pool of top scorers.

Here is how ESPN scores its rounds for correct picks in the tournament challenge.

  • First Round: 10 points
  • Second Round: 20 points
  • Sweet 16: 40 points
  • Elite 8: 80 points
  • Final Four: 160 points
  • National Championship: 320 points

Honorable mentions

Capital One/NCAA.com Bracket Challenge: Fill out up to 10 unique brackets, picking winners of every game. Capital One, the NCAA’s official partner, will also run a game called “Starting Lineup” allowing players to “pick teams and trade them throughout the tournament as their values change every round.” Check these games out here.

Yahoo Fantasy $25K Tourney Pick ‘Em: The Yahoo Fantasy $25K Tourney Pick ‘Em is also one of the top annual offers for the Big Dance. Pick the winners of each NCAA tournament game once the brackets are set.

Players will be awarded points by correctly picking game winners. Yahoo uses a standard doubling system for their scoring.

The person who accumulates the most points will win the contest’s Grand Prize: $25,000 plus an MGM Resort vacation package in Las Vegas valued at $10,000.

Be sure you are aware that Yahoo has a free contest known as the “basic” one that allows 10 entries. Only one of those entries may qualify for the $25K Tourney Pick’em as this has a limit of one per Yahoo account.

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