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March Madness Odds and Betting

In March, sports fans eagerly welcome the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, a thrilling multi-week showdown between college basketball’s best teams. After rounds of play at regional sites throughout the country, four teams emerge and face off in the Final Four for the chance to be crowned champion.

Spectating is only half the fun of March Madness. As soon as the NCAA releases the tournament bracket on Selection Sunday, enthusiastic fans hit DraftKings' sports betting platform.

Check out our handy tips on how to bet on basketball, and guidance below on the more popular betting formats—all to prepare you for meeting the excitement of March Madness head-on.

NCAA Basketball Rivalries

College athletics are highly competitive. Players are driven to win. Emotions often run high, and the action heats up when long-time rivals go head-to-head.

Some college basketball teams are so close geographically that each strives to be the best in the state: Duke/North Carolina, Kansas/Kansas State, Michigan/Michigan State.

Others have such distinguished programs that they continually compete to prove they're the best in the nation, and are well-accustomed to having a target on their backs.

Whatever the reason, NCAA basketball has its own fair share of rivalries—which adds intense anticipation and impacts the odds for March Madness basketball betting.

Types of March Madness bets

There are a variety of opportunities for wagering on college basketball odds—from a straight bet on who will win, to a wager on the final score. For standard bets on March Madness odds, you'll see odds displayed similar to this.

TeamSpreadMoneylineOver/Under Totals
Duke+2.5+120136.5 O
Virginia Tech-2.5-140136.5 U


The spread indicates the point difference between the winning team and the losing team. When betting on the favored team, they need to win by more than the spread total for the bet to pay out. When betting on the underdog, they only need to lose by the spread total or less for a bet to pay out.

For example, Virginia Tech is favored to win a game against Duke by 2.5 points. This means if Virginia Tech wins by 3 or more points, a bet on them is a winner. However, if you bet on Duke, and they lose by 2 points or less—or win by any amount—the bet pays out.


Moneylines are bets based around $100 amounts that allow you to bet on a straight win or lose outcome, with the better odds indicating the favored team. Moneyline odds to win a March Madness matchup—or any other NCAA basketball game—will be presented with a plus or a minus sign. Negative odds indicate how much you have to bet to receive a $100 payout. A plus sign shows how much a $100 bet will pay.


Over/under bets are often also referred to as "totals". This betting format enables you to bet whether the total number of points between both teams at the end of the game will be more or less than the total posted amount.

In a Duke vs. Virginia Tech matchup, the total may be 136.5. This means a bet for the under pays out if the combined scores total 136 points or less at the end of the game. If you bet on the over, a combined final score of 137 or more wins the bet. Most over/under bets pay out at -110, winning $100 for every $110 stake.

Player props

Player props are side bets on certain player actions throughout a game. You can bet on a number of different outcomes—including how three-pointers, steals, or assists by a player during any given game.

Most platforms allow for a variety of side bets, such as team props on how many total points a team will score throughout a game, or game props on which team will be the first to reach 10 points.

Parlay bets

Parlay bets are an exciting option for betting on NCAA tournament odds. A parlay is a series of bets on a single ticket. They can include standard wagers—such as moneylines or spreads—as well as prop bets, and can include more than one game per day. For example, one ticket can include a bet on Virginia Tech to beat the spread against Duke, a prop bet on Duke to score the first 10 points of the game, and a bet on an entirely different matchup on that day (for example, Kentucky vs. Ohio State)—all parlayed into a single wager. Parlays typically offer a substantial payout. However, in order to win the parlay bet, you have to win all of the individual bets.

Qualifying Events Odds

Odds fluctuate as teams progress through the tournament, based on a number of factors—team performance being among the most heavily weighted. As teams make it through subsequent rounds, the odds for each game tend to narrow. They've all proven their competence and ability to win, and the chances of a lopsided matchup get smaller. Teams that entered March Madness as underdogs could play exceptionally through the first two rounds and become favored in the Elite Eight.

College Basketball Teams

NCAA Division I