March Madness Betting for Dummies and Novice Bettors
For a few weeks a year, everyone’s eyes turn to the courts to cheer on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament in March – the most well-known basketball tournament in the world. And because of that, it has also become one of the top sports bets to try today.
For the 2019 championship, the American Gambling Association (AGA) estimated that Americans spent 8.5 billion on sports bets. Not only that, but about one in five adults ended up placing a bet. Most of that money comes from betting on brackets, with 40 million people betting a sum of $4.6 billion in hopes that one of their 149 million brackets would be correct.
Keep in mind that not all this betting was legal. The AGA estimated that 2.4 million people made an illegal bet with a bookie, while a further 5.2 million bet online through an offshore site. It would make sense with an estimated 10 billion being wagered over the next three weeks, that as a bettor it is important to have a basic sense of how it works and what certain terminology means. If you are new to sports betting and want to learn more, this article will be great for you.
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Betting Factor: When deciding to wager on the game, it is important to understand how your money will be paid out. Let’s look at an example… a game with a lot of buzz around it, is the Oral Roberts versus Duke matchup in the East Region. Not only is this a 5 seed vs a 12 seed, but many experts are predicting a Oral Roberts upset. Oral Roberts comes in as +240 underdogs, meaning that a $100 bet would pay you an additional $240 if Oral Roberts were to win. So, in total you would walk away with $100 (initial bet) + $240 (moneyline payout). Duke is -300 favorites, meaning a $100 bet would pay an additional $33 if Duke were to win.
ATS or against the spread is a very common bet that takes place throughout March Madness and many sports beyond basketball. Betting “against the spread” (ATS) just means you're betting on the point spread in a particular matchup as opposed to the moneyline, or some other type of wager. In a spread bet, the odds are usually set at -110 on both sides, depending on the sportsbook and state. That means whether you bet New Mexico State +6.5 or Connecticut -6.5, you'll win the same amount of money if you win the bet. The (+) means that New Mexico has to stay within 6.5 points of Connecticut and the (–) means Connecticut has to win by a minimum amount of 6.5 points.
The over/under, or “total,” is the second most popular bet on the board for sports events behind the point spread. Usually the over/under refers to the total points scored in a game. The concept is simple: Will the game's total points go over the posted total, or stay under?
In gambling, a "proposition bet" is a bet made regarding the occurrence or non-occurrence during a game of an event not directly affecting the game's outcome. Many gamblers may have a difficult time choosing who might win or what the final score may be but have confidence that specific occurrences will happen throughout the game or tournament by either as a team stat or individual. An example would be if a team will score over 98.5 points in the first round of play. A team scoring over 98.5 points will not affect the outcome of the game, but there may be a specific matchup that you believe has the chance to be high scoring and fast paced but are unsure of the outcome. A prop bet is great to use in that scenario. Another prop bet could include if a certain player will score over or under a specific number of points. For example, Lebron James over 28.5 or under 28.5.
A ’futures bet’ is a wager on an event, series or an award that will finish in the future. This is different than a wager on the outcome of a single game, but almost as popular. The result of a futures bet is for an event or season that is completed in the future, not the day the wager is placed. Futures bets are very popular in March Madness as not only a lot of money can be made predicting who will make the Final Four or win the National Championship, but a lot of bragging rights can be had by picking potential winners or upsets. Futures bet in March could include: Who will win the National Championship? How many No. 1 seeds will reach the Final Four? What lowest seed will advance furthest in the tournament?
Knowing you have options: When wagering money on sports, the most common way to do so is online. The great thing about gambling online is that you can withdraw from a bet or add more money at any time. As you start to get more of an understanding as to how two teams’ match up while watching the game, that could give you the ability to gain more confidence in placing a bet. The lines of every bet will be constantly changing from the time tip off happens, but it gives many gamblers a chance at better value.
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