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March Madness Betting: LSU, Syracuse Drawing The Most Interest In Round 1

Sean Chaffin March 21, 2019
March Madness Round 1

The 64 teams are set, the madness kicks off on Thursday, and for the first time many Americans will be making legal wagers in their home states. With Round 1 games set for Thursday and Friday, plenty of fans will not only fill out those brackets this year but also have some action on the weekend’s matchups.

The American Gaming Association recently released a study estimating that Americans will gamble $8.5 billion this year on March Madness with 18 million wagering $3.9 billion at a sportsbook, online, with a bookie, or with a friend. Of that total, 4.1 million bettors are expected to wager legally at a book or online.

So which teams are drawing the most interest among those betting legally? Here’s a look at some of the legal online books and where the money is headed.

Tigers, Orange popular at DraftKings

Surprisingly, the most money (and total number of tickets) at DraftKings Sportsbook isn’t going to one of the No. 1 seeds but instead to LSU. The Tigers are ranked No. 12 in the AP poll, but bettors seem to be giving them the upperhand in a matchup with Yale in Round 1.

Here’s a look at the top teams in Round 1 players are wagering on:

RankBets By MoneyBets By Tickets
3VirginiaMichigan State
4Murray StateFlorida State

When it comes to futures betting for this year’s champion, plenty of money is going to traditional powers Duke and North Carolina, both No. 1 seeds and ranked first and third in the AP poll. Here a look at those top teams wagered for the title:

RankBets By MoneyBets By Tickets
2North CarolinaNorth Carolina
3VirginiaMichigan State
5Michigan StateGonzaga

Those looking for some prop bet action may be enticed by several interesting Zion Williamson prop bets. Hopefully his Nikes hold up for those betting on Williamson, and here’s a look at couple of those:

  • Whether he connects on two or more 3-pointers in any game
  • Whether or not he will score 20-plus points in every game

Get $20 Of Free Play at DraftKings!

Duke futures still king

Duke is also the favorite to win it all at the FanDuel Sportsbook with 23 percent of all futures wagers going to the Blue Devils. The largest futures wager so far has been $25,000 on Virginia at +750.

Here’s a look at the top three championship futures bets overall:

  • Duke – 23 percent
  • Virginia – 17 percent
  • Gonzaga – 13 percent

Not surprisingly, Duke is the favorite to win the tournament. Tennessee was ranked No. 1 for much of the season and may offer some nice value at +1600 as well as No. 7-ranked Kentucky at +1700 and No. 8-ranked Michigan at +1700. Here’s a look at futures betting for some of the favorites:

  • Duke (+220)
  • Gonzaga (+600)
  • Virginia (+850)
  • North Carolina (+950)
  • Michigan State (+1400)
  • Tennessee (+1600)
  • Kentucky (+1700)
  • Michigan (+2200)
  • Texas Tech (+3300)

If you’re into trends

For those ready to make those basketball wagers on SugarHouse, the site provided some stats on the most widely bet teams bet throughout the year, and their performances against the spread. Here’s a look at those:

  • (1) Duke: 17-15
  • (2)Michigan: 17-14
  • (2) Tennessee: 15-14-1
  • (6) Villanova: 20-12
  • (1) North Carolina: 20-9-3

Those numbers might be helpful for betting this weekend’s action. It might also be helpful to know the teams that performed poorly against the spread throughout the season. Here’s a look at some of those heading into Round 1:

  • (15) Montana: 12-18
  • (11) Ohio State: 13-19
  • (10) Iowa: 13-19

Finally, Pennsylvanians Can Take In A Vegas-Like March Madness Betting Experience

Marco Cerino March 20, 2019

For the first time ever, basketball fans in Pennsylvania can (legally) bet on the NCAA Basketball Tournament in their own back yard. SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia is one of the many venues across the state taking March Madness bets this month and has some exciting offers to fans who want to catch the action and take some action as well.

The Delaware Avenue entertainment destination has interesting plans for the Big Dance. And fans don’t even have to bet in the sportsbook or write up paper slips.

For “March Mania”, players can dine and drink at Fishtown Hops, with some excellent specials starting with the First Four games Tuesday and Wednesday nights. The big sportsbook also has seating available but that’s going to be at a premium, which can also mean some unique experiences.

Business has been good since the first book in Philadelphia opened in December. “It’s a consistent stream of people,” said Evan Davis, Vice President and General Counsel at SugarHouse. “You really see people coming in, planning ahead, making wagers for even later that day or later in the week. It’s really amazing how consistent interest has been in the three months since we opened.”

ALSO READ: Guide To March Madness Viewing Parties In Pennsylvania

Pints and Picks at Fishtown Hops

The consistent business has seen SugarHouse invest more in their digital kiosks. Davis noted the casino is now up to 18 self-serve digital screens to make bets.

“Now from what I’m seeing, I think people like the convenience of it,” Davis said of the kiosks. SugarHouse assisted players with explanative literature and offered “ambassadors” to help players acclimate to the machines.

Most of those are focused around the book, which helps keep the traffic moving and players satisfied. For the tournament, a couple will be moved to the biergarten Fishtown Hops. This will allow bettors to enjoy the games like they would at a sports bar and make selections without missing much action.

Food specials will be available throughout the day, from breakfast sandwiches in the morning, to chicken cheesesteaks, wings, and nachos to power through the late games. Thursday afternoon will bring extra excitement with giveaways as the tournament starts.

Plenty of cold beer on tap, including $3 Miller Lite pints and a wide selection of local craft brews. Evan’s recommendation for the bar? Salmon BLT sandwich. Yeah, Fishtown is sure changing.

Legal Sports Betting Now Available In New Jersey

What about mobile betting?

When East Coast states legalized sports betting, part of the idea was to infuse new money and interest into the flailing horse racing industry. NJ has the cash part but the rapid adoption of online betting has seen more people staying on their porches and not heading to the paddock.

Pennsylvania has tried to avoid that option. Operators want to draw patrons to live action and keep them there. While SugarHouse doesn’t have a race track like rivals Parx and Hollywood Gaming, they still have slots and table gaming.

If you want to watch tournament games at the book, it won’t be free. In lieu of charging admission (like a club or track), fans can get a club chair for a minimum bet or secure a table if they spend $50 in food and beverage per person over a four-hour span.

SugarHouse makes it easy for fans to get food and drinks delivered to tables via mobile ordering. Between beer towers and burgers, your normal tourney crew can easily meet the spending threshold. Prices are similar to downtown venues and certainly less at the arenas.

Mobile betting is now available on premises through the Bet Builder options. Players can use their SugarHouse app or go to the site, make selections, and that will create a QR code a teller can scan to print out a bet slip.

“It takes a matter of seconds rather than a matter of minutes at the window,” Davis said of the Bet Builder. He also noted it’s a great option for those who want to make in-game bets, where prices can change in seconds.

Wagers made through the Bet Builder through Sunday, March 24th are eligible for SugarHouse’s March Mania Contest. Winners get to attend the Final Four in Minneapolis, including round-trip airfare, hotel accomodations, souvenirs, and VIP Lounge access during the events.

Lead image courtesy of Jess Welman/PlayPennsylvania

Billions Will Be Wagered On March Madness This Year — But How Much Legally?

Chops March 19, 2019
Bet On March Madness

Not burying the headline on this one as the numbers are eye-popping.

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), $8.5 billion will be wagered on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this year in the U.S. An estimated 47 million Americans will place those bets.

The AGA survey, conducted by Morning Consult, breaks down the numbers further:

  • There will be 149 million March Madness brackets filled out this year
  • A total of $4.6 billion will be wagered on those brackets by 40 million people
  • Approximately 18 million people will wager $3.9 billion at a sportsbook, online, with a bookie or with a friend

In total, 1-in-5 adult Americans will bet in some form during March Madness.

How much in legal wagers?

Here at TheLines.com, our analysts estimate a total of $400 million legal bets will be placed in the US, both online and at brick-and-mortar casinos. That total includes $300 million in Nevada and $75 million in New Jersey.

According to lead analyst Dustin Gouker:

“In Nevada, the NCAA Tournament trails only the Super Bowl in popularity for sports bettors and actually generates more bets because of the number of games. New Jersey, which is the second-largest legal sports betting market, is not as event-driven as the Silver State. But the overall handle should propel the state into a record month for handle.”

This is the first March Madness where legal sports betting will be allowed outside of Nevada. Sportsbooks in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Delaware, West Virginia, Rhode Island are taking bets, which helps push betting numbers to record totals.

For more on March Madness betting estimates, check out this article at Legal Sports Report.

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Laying The Chalk: Here’s What An Oddsmaker’s March Madness Bracket Would Look Like

Juan Carlos Blanco March 19, 2019
March Madness Bracket Odds

With Selection Sunday now in the books, we’re just a day away from First Four play kicking off March Madness season, that annual celebratory period replete with significant diminished workplace productivity, plenty of friendly rivalry and no shortage of imbibing.

Yes, beginning late Sunday night, “bracketology” underwent its annual elevation to official springtime religion for millions of sports fans across the globe.

While brackets are furiously completed in conventional fashion over the early part of this week, TheLines wanted to change up the paradigm just a tad. We completed a bracket of our own, but took a slightly different approach.

For the purposes of this article, we utilized sportsbooks as our exclusive guide for navigating the 68-team tournament. In other words, we went with the assumption that the oddsmakers have each of the first-round matchups pegged correctly in terms of the spread/straight-up winners. All favored teams automatically advance to the second round.

Then, we continue determining winners in each matchup in subsequent rounds based on each team’s futures odds as currently set on DraftKings Sportsbook. We used FanDuel Sportsbook odds as a tiebreaker wherever needed.


Point spreads

The point spread for each favored first-round team appears in parenthesis next to that team on the bracket with a “-” preceding it.

Moving on to the second round and beyond, futures odds appear in parenthesis next to each team with a “+” preceding it.

Point spreads represent the oddsmakers’ prediction on the projected margin of victory for the favored team.

Bettors placing a point-spread bet on the favorite need that team to win by more than the predicted margin of victory to cash in. If the favored team wins by less than that amount or loses outright, the bettor fails to cash.

Bettors placing a point-spread bet on the underdog need that team to lose by less than the projected margin of victory for the favorite or win the game outright to cash in.

Futures odds

Futures odds represent the oddsmakers’ prediction on the team’s chances of winning the entire tournament. The smaller the number listed as the team futures odds, the greater the chance of that team winning the entire tournament.

Fittingly, Duke has the smallest futures odds at +220. Gonzaga checks in second at +575, Virginia is listed at +650 and North Carolina has +750 odds. Each of those teams opens March Madness seeded at the top of each of their respective regional brackets.

As per our approach to this bracket, they would also ultimately make up our Final Four.

The number constituting a team’s futures odds represents the amount a bettor stands to win on a standard wager of $100 if that team ultimately is crowned national champion.

ALSO READ: NCAA Tournament Odds: Round Of 64 Spreads, Totals And Moneylines For Every Game

Where are oddsmakers and the selection committee diverging?

One major takeaway from this sports betting-centered approach to filling out a bracket is unearthing potential sleepers along the way.

A rather revealing practice involves comparing how oddsmakers view a team as compared to how the selection committee slotted them within their regional bracket to open March Madness. In the cases we’re about to cite, there appear to be extenuating circumstances regarding the sportsbooks’ optimism with respect to each team, which we’ve noted in each instance.

Keep the following four teams in mind when attempting to prognosticate this year’s tournament:

Virginia Tech (+3000) ranked No. 4 in East Region below No. 3 LSU (+5000)

  • Four-year starting guard Justin Roberts (13.7 PPG, 5.2 APG) returns from a 12-game absence to give the Hokies an all-around boost.

Villanova (+3300) ranked No. 6 in South Region below No. 4 Kansas State (+6000) and No. 5 Wisconsin (+7000)

  • Fresh off an unprecedented third straight Big East Tournament title and a 25-9 regular season record,the Wildcats seem somewhat undervalued by the selection committee as they begin their national title defense.

Iowa State (+4000) ranked No. 6 in Midwest Region below No. 4 Kansas (+6000) and same odds as No. 3 Houston and No. 5 Auburn.

  • Cyclones strive to maintain late-season momentum that ultimately netted them improbable Big 12 crown.

Louisville (+8000) ranked No. 7 in East Region below No. 5 Mississippi State (+10000) and No. 6 Maryland (+15000)

  • Following a one-year tournament hiatus, Cardinals look to make noise under first-year coach Chris Mack after 20-13 regular season.

The Final Four and their journey

Duke (+220):

  • 1st round: Defeats No. 16 NC Central/N. Dakota State
  • 2nd round: Defeats No. 8 VCU
  • Sweet Sixteen: Defeats No. 4 Virginia Tech
  • Elite Eight: Defeats No. 2 Michigan State
  • Final Four: Defeats No. 1 Gonzaga
  • Wins Championship over No. 1 Virginia

Virginia (+650):

  • 1st round: Defeats No. 16 Gardner-Webb
  • 2nd round: Defeats No. 8 Ole Miss
  • Sweet Sixteen: Defeats No. 4 Kansas State
  • Elite Eight: Defeats No. 2 Tennessee
  • Final Four: Defeats No. 1 North Carolina
  • Loses Championship to No. 1 Duke

Gonzaga (+575):

  • 1st round: Defeats No. 16 Farleigh-Dickinson/Prairie View A&M
  • 2nd round: Defeats No. 8 Syracuse
  • Sweet Sixteen: Defeats No. 4 Florida State
  • Elite Eight: Defeats No. 2 Michigan
  • Final Four: Loses to No. 1 Duke

North Carolina (+750):

  • 1st round: Defeats No. 16 Iona
  • 2nd round: Defeats No. 8 Utah State
  • Sweet Sixteen: Defeats No. 5 Auburn
  • Elite Eight: Defeats No. 2 Kentucky
  • Final Four: Loses to No. 1 Virginia

ALSO READ: The Five Best (Free) March Madness Bracket Contests You Can’t Miss In 2019

The Five Best (Free) March Madness Bracket Contests You Can’t Miss In 2019

Bart Shirley March 18, 2019
Free Bracket Contest

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

FanDuel Sportsbook recently claimed the top revenue spot for online sportsbooks in New Jersey. For March Madness, the site is apparently feeling generous.

FanDuel Bracket Madness will award $250,000 to players who score the highest in the site’s bracket competition. The top bracket will win a smooth $100,000.

Best of all, this contest is both completely free to enter and open to residents in all 50 states. In order to play, one must simply register for a free FanDuel account. Then, make sure to fill out a bracket before tip-off on March 21.

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 and compete for their share of $64,000.

Additionally, players in DraftKings’ home state of New Jersey will have an additional opportunity to win big money. For a $20 bet, Garden Staters have the opportunity to play for a separate $100,000 prize pool.

Register at DraftKings to get into the action. There’s literally no reason not to try it.

Get $20 Of Free Play at DraftKings!

Yahoo! – Best Bracket Millionaire

Yahoo! Sports is offering 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.

Fox Sports – Cousin Sal Bets the House Bracket Challenge

Fox Sports is offering the most gimmicky of free bracket challenges available. The grand prize for this contest is a $4.5 million house in Manhattan Beach, CA.

Purportedly, the house belongs to Fox Sports personality Cousin Sal. He is “giving away his house” to any player who manages to guess the tournament 100 percent accurately.

A winning player can also choose to receive a $1 million lump sum check. We suppose that option is for players who desire more liquidity in their free March Madness bracket contests.

Considering that a perfect bracket has literally never happened, Sal is probably safe in his house. Instead, the top scoring bracket will receive a comparably paltry $10,000 for their troubles.

$10,000 is still a pretty good deal for guessing the outcome of basketball games. It isn’t a mansion, though.

ESPN – Tournament Challenge

ESPN, the top sports media outlet, unsurprisingly has its own tournament challenge. In fact, the “worldwide leader” will award a respectable $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 will be a five-night trip for two to the Maui Jim Invitational basketball tournament next year. The prize also includes $10,000 in Amazon gift cards.

The prize winner will come from a random drawing of the top bracketmakers in the contest. ESPN will select from the top 1 percent of returns to generate a winner.

Additionally, 60 randomly-drawn players in the top 3 groups will win ESPN+ subscriptions. The company will grant them a year of access, valued at $60.

Honorable Mention – Caesars March Pick’em Challenge

Caesars Casino is also offering an excellent prize giveaway for March Madness. Unfortunately, the March Pick’em Challenge is only available in New Jersey, so it bears only an honorable mention.

Nevertheless, those who are in or near the Garden State can compete for more than $50,000 in cash and prizes. In fact, everyone who fills out a bracket on the Caesars will win a free $20 sports bet.

As with other bracket contests, players will accrue points based upon their correct selections in their brackets. Caesars will award prizes using a simple leaderboard.

The first place finisher will win an outstanding prize – a $250 sports bet every week for an entire year! Second place will receive a similar deal, only for $100 per week. The third-place finisher gets a Las Vegas vacation.

Other prizes include smaller, single free bets and stays at Caesars Atlantic City. Overall, this contest is one of the most generous and appealing of them all.

It’s just a shame that it’s only for folks in New Jersey.

The bottom line is that there is a ton of free money floating around this week. Make sure to take a shot at grabbing some of it.

FanDuel Sportsbook’s March Madness Betting Bonanza Tips Off This Week

Juan Carlos Blanco March 18, 2019
FanDuel Bracket

Last Updated: March 21, 2019

It’s as much a rite of spring as melting snow, blooming flowers and daylight savings time: money changing hands — sometimes in considerably large quantities — on March Madness games.

For decades, that’s happened most commonly via office/friends and family bracket pools. Perhaps less mainstream — but still alive and kicking — is the underground betting market consisting of the friendly neighborhood bookie or the offshore, unregulated sportsbook.

The annual tournament’s do-or-die format and springtime setting make it a sports betting version of Mardi Gras. There are multiple days of thrills, risks, close calls, adult beverages and an overall cascade of highs and lows.

In fact, the only missing piece might be the beads. Well that, and their uniquely creative solicitation methods.

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FanDuel Sportsbook offering free-to-play bracket contest

Nik Bonaddio, chief product officer for FanDuel, had confirmed in a February interview on TheLines Podcast that the operator would run a free March Madness bracket contest, similar to what it did for last year on its daily fantasy sports (DFS) site.

Following Selection Sunday, that $250,000 single-entry Bracket Madness Contest is now available on the mobile version of the sportsbook. The good news — besides the fact there’s no cost to enter — is that participants don’t need a perfect bracket in order to cash in. Plus, anyone in the US with a FanDuel account can play for no cost!

Rather, simple participation gives each contestant a chance. Participants earn points for every March Madness game they peg correctly. The top scorer at the end of the tournament wins a $100,000 grand prize. In all, the top 1,000 scores finish in the money. Those qualifying for 2nd-5th place take home five-figure sums between $10,000 and $25,000.

“We think it’s a great opportunity to expose the sportsbook to people who may be reticent to dive right in,” said Bonaddio. “I think March Madness is a good entry point.”

ALSO READ: The Five Best (Free) March Madness Bracket Contests You Can’t Miss In 2019

More than just brackets in FD’s March Madness offerings

Notably, Bracket Madness is far from the only way FD Sportsbook is commemorating the craziness that’s about to ensue on the hardwood for the remainder of the month.

To begin with, FD is offering two rewarding promotions for its Garden State customers:

    • Bandwagon Bonus: Place any NCAA championship future, get a $5 bonus for every game your team wins along the way.
    • Conference Tournaments: Bet at least $10 on each of 5 or more conference tournament games and we will give you $10 in FanDuel Sportsbook site credit.

The operator is also rolling out a free daily contest — Props Pick ‘Em. Participants will compete for a $10,000 daily jackpot. FD will roll out specific props each day beginning with the kickoff of the First Four on Tuesday, March 19 and contestants will make their selections accordingly. Moreover, the jackpot will roll over to the following day on nights when no one is able to claim it.

Back in February, Bonaddio had hinted that FanDuel would be “leaning in pretty hard” with respect to the variety of kinds of props offered, evoking the operator’s Super Bowl offerings as a good reference point.

The comparison to sports betting’s unofficial one-day national holiday is fitting. After all, an estimated $10 billion was already being bet on March Madness annually before legalized sportsbooks outside of Nevada were nothing more than a pipe dream.

Therefore, FD is ready to capitalize on the most fertile of wagering markets for the first time.

Unprecedented March Madness betting landscape in PASPA-less environment

What’s often been a true statement over the last few months on the sports calendar applies to March Madness as well: The betting environment surrounding this year’s 68-team, single-elimination extravaganza that ultimately decides the NCAA’s Division 1 men’s basketball national champion is going to be different.

Thanks to last May’s Supreme Court decision eradicating the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), all manner of legalized March Madness wagering is available for the first time this year to those in the following states (in addition to Nevada):

As has been the case for major events that have transpired since non-Nevada legalized wagering began unfolding this past summer, the availability of legalized betting should increase overall interest exponentially.

The Zion Effect: Duke Heaviest NCAA Favorite Since 2014-15 Kentucky

Chops March 18, 2019
March Madness favorite

Unless you went to Duke, you likely hate Duke.

But even if you hate Duke, which you likely do, you like betting Duke. Especially this year.

Duke heaviest bet this season

According to David Purdum at ESPN, more money was bet on Duke at US sportsbooks to win the NCAA national title than any other team this year. As the clear front-runner (+220 odds at FanDuel Sportsbook NJ), Duke is the heaviest NCAA March Madness favorite since the 2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats team (near even money). That team, which featured future #1 draft pick Karl-Anthony Towns, lost in the semifinals to Frank Kaminsky’s Wisconsin team. Wisconsin lost to Duke in the finals.

This year’s Duke team is led by mortal lock #1 NBA draft pick Zion Williamson. Combine Duke’s national brand with their ACC tournament win and public interest in legit superstar Williamson, it’d actually be a shock if the Blue Devils were not the most heavily bet team in this year’s field.

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More March Madness data from FanDuel Sportsbook

So far, the most popular futures wagers at the FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey are (by bet):

  • Duke (23% of the futures wagers)
  • Virginia (17% of future wagers)
  • Gonzaga (13% of futures wagers)

Given Virginia’s epic meltdown as a #1 seed last year to #16 UMBC (and what it cost and/or won bettors), seeing them receiving the second most in wagers is a surprise.

If you’re looking for some intel in filling out your brackets, consider the following from FanDuel:

  • 59% of customers have Duke winning it all in their free bracket contest
  • North Carolina is second at 14% of entries
  • 22% of entries have all the #1 seeds in the Final Four

2019 March Madness title odds

North Carolina+700+1000+750
Michigan State+1200+1500+1600
Texas Tech+2500+2000+2200
Virginia Tech+3000+3000+6000
Florida State+4000+4000+3300
Iowa State+4000+6000+3300
Kansas State+6000+3300+6600
Mississippi St. +10000+6500+12000

ALSO READ: NCAA Tournament Odds: Round Of 64 Spreads, Totals And Moneylines For Every Game

NCAA Tournament Odds: Round Of 64 Spreads, Totals And Moneylines For Every Game

Brett Collson March 17, 2019
March Madness Odds

March Madness has arrived.

The 2019 NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed on Sunday, and sportsbooks around the country quickly began posting betting odds for every opening round game. The NCAA Tournament tips off Tuesday, March 19 with four tournament play-in games. The Round of 64 begins on Thursday, March 21.

DraftKings Sportsbook was among the first to start posting March Madness odds in New Jersey, so we’ll use the DraftKings lines for the purpose of this article. Below you’ll find current spreads, totals, and moneylines for every game in the opening round of the tournament. (This page will be updated as lines are adjusted all week).

Our #1 Sportsbook Choice.

The First Four (play-in games)

#16 NC Central vs. #16 N. Dakota St. (East Region)N. Dakota St. -5134.5N. Dakota St. -225
NC Central +185
#11 Belmont vs. #11 Temple (East Region)Belmont -3.5155Belmont -167
Temple +143
#16 Prairie View vs. #16 Fairleigh Dickinson (West Region)
#11 Arizona State vs. #11 St. John's (West Region)Arizona St. -1152.5St. John's -105
Arizona St. -114

East Region

#1 Duke vs. #16 NC Central/N. Dakota St.
#8 VCU vs. #9 UCFVCU -1127VCU -114
UCF -104
#4 Virginia Tech vs. #13 St. LouisVirginia Tech -9.5125.5Virginia Tech -530
St. Louis +410
#5 Mississippi St. vs. #12 LibertyMiss. St. -7.5136.5Miss. St. -345
Liberty +280
#2 Michigan St. vs. #15 BradleyMichigan St. -18133.5Michigan St. -2500
Bradley +1300
#7 Louisville vs. #10 MinnesotaLouisville -5136Louisville -225
Minnesota +185
#3 LSU vs. #14 YaleLSU -7.5160.5LSU -335
Yale +275
#6 Maryland vs. #11 Belmont/Temple

ALSO READ: Who are the betting favorites to win the 2019 NCAA Tournament?

West Region

#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Prairie View/FDU
#8 Syracuse vs. #9 BaylorSyracuse -1.5132.5Syracuse -124
Baylor +104
#4 Florida State vs. #13 VermontFlorida St. -10.5133.5Florida St. -625
Vermont +475
#5 Marquette vs. #12 Murray StateMarquette -4149.5Marquette -186
Murray St. +155
#2 Michigan vs. #15 MontanaMichigan -16131Michigan -1667
Montana +1050
#7 Nevada vs. #10 FloridaNevada -2133Nevada -134
Florida +112
#3 Texas Tech vs. #14 N. KentuckyTexas Tech -14137Texas Tech -1250
N. Kentucky +800
#6 Buffalo vs. #11 Arizona St./St. John's

South Region

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Gardner-WebbVirginia -23.5130.5Virginia -10000
Gardner-Webb +2800
#8 Ole Miss vs. #9 OklahomaOle Miss -1.5141.5Ole Miss -124
Oklahoma +104
#4 Kansas State vs. #13 UC-IrvineKansas St. -5.5119.5Kansas St. -250
UC-Irvine +205
#5 Wisconsin vs. #12 OregonWisconsin -1118Wisconsin -114
Oregon -105
#2 Tennessee vs. #15 ColgateTennessee -18151Tennessee -2000
Colgate +1200
#7 Cincinnati vs. #10 IowaCincinnati -3.5139Cincinnati -167
Iowa +143
#3 Purdue vs. #14 Old DominionPurdue -12128.5Purdue -835
ODU +600
#6 Villanova vs. #11 St. Mary'sVillanova -6130Villanova -265
St. Mary's +220

Midwest Region

#1 North Carolina vs #16 IonaNorth Carolina -24167North Carolina-10000
Iona +2500
#8 Utah State vs. #9 WashingtonUtah State -2.5135.5Utah State -143
Washington +120
#4 Kansas vs. #13 NortheasternKansas -8145Kansas -375
Northeastern +300
#5 Auburn vs. #12 New Mexico St.Auburn -7142.5Auburn -315
NMSU +255
#2 Kentucky vs. #15 Abilene ChristianKentucky -22132Kentucky -5000
Abilene Christian +1800
#7 Wofford vs. #10 Seton Hall
#3 Houston vs. #14 Georgia StateHouston -11.5142Houston -770
Georgia State +550
#6 Iowa State vs. #11 Ohio StateIowa St. -6140.5Iowa St. -265
Ohio St. +215

ALSO READ: The History Of The 8 vs. 9 Matchup

DraftKings Sportsbook Offers Brackets Contest For New Jersey And Beyond

Bart Shirley March 12, 2019
Draftkings brackets contest

Last Updated: March 21, 2019

Filling out a March Madness bracket has become an American tradition. Since sports betting is an American thing now, too, it’s fitting that DraftKings Sportsbook has released its Brackets product.

Brackets will allow DraftKings customers to fill out their selections directly on the sportsbook app. Players can join public or private contests to pit their prognostication skills against others.

These contests are not necessarily a quest for bragging rights either. DraftKings is hosting a free nationwide contest that will award $64,000 in cash prizes.

New Jersey residents will have an additional option on top of that. For a $20 buy-in, Garden Staters can play Brackets for a $100,000 prize pool.

“As American sports fans during March Madness, we are all playing bracket contests with our friends, family and co-workers,” said DraftKings Chief Revenue Officer Matt Kalish, in a statement.

“By launching Brackets on DraftKings Sportsbook, we are bringing the number one-way fans engage with March Madness to the biggest stage—DraftKings’ industry-leading fantasy sports and sportsbook apps.”

Players across the country can access and fill out their brackets through iOS or Android devices. Bracket access is also available at sportsbook.draftkings.com.

ALSO READ: The Five Best (Free) March Madness Bracket Contests You Can’t Miss In 2019

Partial bracket play will keep fans interested

One problem that bracket contests face is the conundrum of upsets. The NCAA Basketball Tournament has become almost synonymous with the underdog victory.

Unfortunately, these kinds of victories can and do wreak havoc upon predictions. A first-round loss from a player’s Final Four can kill their chances of any type of success.

The 2018 NCAA tournament had a perfect example of this kind of outcome. The University of Maryland – Baltimore County’s historic win as a 16-seed over the University of Virginia doomed thousands of prognostications across the country.

Many fans will simply throw up their hands when their initial predictions go down in flames. However, DraftKings has come up with a solution that will hopefully keep customers logged in.

Instead of one single tournament, DraftKings will host smaller contests after the tournament has already begun. Players will be able to fill out new brackets for both the Round of 32 and the Sweet 16.

In its press release, DraftKings also alluded that more contests for sports bettors and basketball fans are to come. So, all may not be lost if Cinderella comes knocking.

Get $20 Of Free Play at DraftKings!

What are the smart selections for March Madness?

Of course, the difficulty is knowing when and where an underdog will rise.

The tournament’s single-elimination format means that there are no second chances, and a flat performance from a great team can be deadly.

Nevertheless, DraftKings Sportsbook in NJ has published odds for teams it expects to go far in the tournament.

Here are some of DraftKings’ frontrunners (with odds in parenthesis) as of March 12:

To reach the Final Four

  • Duke (-200)
  • Gonzaga (-118)
  • Virginia (+100)
  • Kentucky (+200)
  • Michigan State (+200)
  • North Carolina (+200)
  • Tennessee (+200)

To win the NCAA Championship

  • Duke (+250)
  • Gonzaga (+550)
  • Virginia (+600)
  • Kentucky (+1200)
  • Michigan State (+1200)
  • North Carolina (+1200)
  • Tennessee (+1200)

However, these seven selections can only get players so far. In order to pick the winners, one must study each matchup intensely and make the smart statistical selection.

Or, one can simply choose their favorite mascot or school colors of each game. That works, too. Sometimes.

Huge College Hoops Parlay Hits At BetStars Ahead Of March Madness

Sean Chaffin February 13, 2019
BetStars Parlay

The NFL season may be over, but bettors have a lot to look forward to with March Madness right around the corner. One New Jersey bettor put his college basketball prognostication to good use over the weekend, turning a $100 wager into a win of almost $45,000.

The bettor made the 10-team NCAA basketball parlay on BetStars – all moneyline action with accumulated odds of 445.8 to 1. The exact payout was $44,584.12 — not a bad day at the “office.”

The parlay legs included wagers on the following teams:

  • Cincinnati  (against Memphis)
  • Houston  (against Central Florida)
  • Oral Roberts (against Denver)
  • Old Dominion (against UAB)
  • Iowa (against Indiana)
  • Hawaii (against Long Beach State)
  • San Diego (against Loyola Marymount)
  • Washington (against Arizona)
  • Wofford (against East Tennessee State)
  • Nebraska of Omaha (against South Dakota)

Roller coaster

Getting to the finish line had plenty of ups and downs for this winner. Cincinnati trailed by six at the half, but came back to win by 5. Houston and Oral Roberts both won easily also. Old Dominion was outscored by 16 in the second half, but still won by 11 against UAB. Iowa topped Indiana by 5, Hawaii beat Long Beach State by 7, and the Huskies cruised over Arizona.

San Diego proved to be a close one and provided some sweat. The Toreros trailed Loyola Marymount by 2 at the half, but were able to turn things around and squeak out a 2-point victory.

Two games must have been particularly worrisome but swung the right way in the end. Nebraska of Omaha faced off against South Dakota in a major scoring fest. After 40 minutes of play, the game was tied at 87-87. The Mavericks outscored the Coyotes in overtime, however, to keep the parlay alive with a 107-102 victory.

The Wofford-East Tennessee State matchup also proved tough, but no double-digit parlay would be complete without some nervousness. The Terriers battled to a 64-64 tie against the Buccaneers but trailed late in the overtime period. Senior Fletcher Magee, however, nailed a 3-pointer as he was fouled with 31 seconds remaining in overtime. The free throw gave the Terriers a 75-73 and they held on for a 78-76 win.

The victory gave Wofford its 20th win and one New Jersey bettor a huge return on investment.

Looking ahead

With Selection Sunday set for March 17 and the first play-in games getting underway March 19-20 in Dayton, Ohio, bettors may be looking for some futures wagering as the tournament approaches.

As of Feb. 13, Tennessee was the top-ranked team in the nation with a 22-1 record. Duke followed the Vols at 22-2, followed by Gonzaga, Virginia, and Kentucky. Last year’s champion Villanova sat at No. 13 with a record of 19-5.

Here’s a look at current odds from the BetStars NJ on some of the favorites to win the title.

  • Duke: +175
  • Gonzaga: +850
  • Michigan: +1200
  • Virginia: +1300
  • Kentucky: +1400
  • Tennessee: +1600
  • Nevada: +1600
  • North Carolina: +1700
  • Kansas: +1700
  • Michigan State: +1800

View updated futures odds at the best New Jersey Sportsbooks here.

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