The Field

Creating a March Madness Betting Strategy

Win big this March Madness by coming up with an effective strategy. Learn more about creating a successful betting strategy.

February 21, 2023

NCAA March Madness is here again and you know what that means? It’s finally time to pick a better bracket than Mary from accounting, who seems to win the office pool every year (and she doesn’t even like college basketball).

Luckily, at Tipico we’re here to help — it’s time to develop your NCAA March Madness betting strategy.

In this guide, we’ll give you betting tips to help you fill out a winning March Madness bracket. Plus, we’ll look beyond the brackets to show you how you can win by diversifying your bets. (Mary from accounting doesn’t stand a chance.) Let’s dive in!

General Bracket Tips

So are you looking for tips on how to bet on March Madness? The best place to start is by looking at the entire conference tournament: the bracket. First things first, you’re not going to pick a perfect March Madness bracket. Sure, that’s the dream, but it’s unlikely and shouldn’t discourage you from creating the best bracket you can. After all, you don’t have to be perfect to win, you just have to be better than everyone else.

Some tips while filling out your March Madness game bracket:

Utilize recency bias – You may think the best way to evaluate something isn’t by looking at what just occurred but rather what has occurred over a long period of time. That isn’t the case in a college basketball tournament. Recent form matters more than a team’s season-long record. That’s why you should ride teams that are playing well now.

Build your narrative – When you’re filling out a NCAA tournament bracket, you’re creating a story of what you think will happen. Keep following your story. If you think an underdog will move on, don’t necessarily dismiss them in the next round. Instead, consider the matchup they’ll have during the March Madness game. Assess each conference tournament game as you build your bracket’s narrative.

Do some research – 68 teams compete in the NCAA tournament. It would be silly to think you can be an expert on all of them. However, you can do a bit of research. Learn about each NCAA basketball team, their tendencies, and how matchups are likely to go. Don’t get so bogged down in stats that you don’t listen to your gut, but find enough information that your gut instincts have some basis in fact.

Have fun – Watching your NCAA basketball bracket bust can be frustrating, but it happens to everyone. The unpredictability is what makes this tournament great. So have fun with your sports betting bracket. And remember, to maximize your sports betting returns, you need to move beyond the national championship game bracket anyway.

Other Ways To Bet

Even if you’re not an avid sport bettor, you should absolutely fill out a NCAA tournament bracket. It’s a fun way to become involved in every national championship game in the tournament, and commiserating over broken brackets is a time-honored communal tradition. However, if you want to start making some money, you should look beyond brackets. Some of the other bets available to you this March include:

Moneyline – A bet on who will win an individual game. Payouts are affected based on which team is favored.

Point spread – A bet on who will win an individual game, but the favorite has to win by a certain amount of points to win the March Madness bet.

Over/Under – A bet on the final score of a game. A figure is given for the combined score of the two teams playing and you can bet whether the actual final score will be over or under that number.

Futures – Bets on team performance before the tournament starts. For example, you can bet on a team winning the tournament, getting to the final four, etc. The earlier you make your March Madness bet, the more favorable the payout will likely be if you’re right.

Props – Bets relating to the events of a game. For instance, you can bet on a certain player getting 8 or more rebounds. You can also bet on certain outcomes in the game, like whether it will go into overtime.

Getting A Gameplan Together

Making a variety of bet types is a good way to diversify your output and minimize your losses. Below are some things to consider:

Watch the lines – Lines move based on how people bet. And a lot of people bet on March Madness. If a line moves a lot initially it may just mean one team is popular with the public so the line will shift toward the other team. If a line shifts closer to game time, it’s an indication that people who bet for a living see something they like, and you might want to follow.

Let history be your guide – Only twice has a 16 seed beat a 1 seed. The tournament has been won 23 of the last 36 times by a 1 seed. Crazy things happen, but maybe not as often as you might think.


Upsets have value – That said, 14 seeds win over 3 seeds 15% of the time. And there’s a lot of value to be had in big upsets. You don’t have to bet a lot to win a lot, so sprinkling smaller amounts on your upset picks can be big.

Take each game separately – In a one-game elimination tournament, a lot comes down to matchups. Don’t become over reliant on stats and trends. Any team can lose if they find themself in a bad matchup.

Find Your Bet At Tipico

You can be sure Mary from accounting’s bracket is ready. Is yours? By following these tips, you can ensure your bragging rights. And, by heading to Tipico’s March Madness betting lines hub, you can place all your bets and implement your full March Madness betting strategy. Because bragging rights feel great, but a full wallet feels even better.

Tipico staff contributions