We’re not here to tell you what to do; we’re here to give some suggestions on how to be an independent thinker when trying to figure out the good bets for March Madness. Try to avoid the hype and go with your instinct.
And while you’re trying to build that perfect bracket, get in on BetMGM’s $2 Million Bracket Challenge.
Here we go:
This whole NCAA tournament will be played in Indiana this year thanks to COVID-19. In typical tournaments, games are usually played on neutral courts anyway, but fan followings for some of the stronger programs could still make it feel like one team had home-court advantage. This year, because of attendance restrictions (25%), that advantage may not factor in much. So just consider this to be a competition with nowhere near the usual noise advantages and disadvantages.
So when looking at the latest March Madness odds, that’s one thing to consider this year.
How long has it been since a particular program has been in the NCAA Tournament? If they lost last year, was it a nail-biter? A true heartbreaker? Is the team full of seniors who have played together for years, and this is the pinnacle of their careers? Or is it full of one-and-done talents who will bolt for the NBA Draft immediately following their team’s exit?
There are so many factors to consider when deciding the motivation factor of a March Madness entrant. How bad do these guys want this? Tournament experience is another factor, too.
This is clearly a subjective question but it’s worth considering when taking a hard look at the March Madness betting lines.
Picking upsets is one of the most fun things to do when it comes to March Madness. The truth is, they happen every single tournament. And who are we kidding? In some years, it happens more frequently than others.
But don’t go too crazy with the upset picks. Sure, those No. 5-vs.-No. 12 games are sexy targets for the upset picks. So are the 4-vs.-13 and 6-vs.-11 games. And let’s face it, when you get to the 7-vs.-10 games and obviously the 8-vs.-9s, they really aren’t massive upset picks anyway.
So, a couple lines of advice with your March Madness bracket betting: Don’t go blindly with all high seeds, because ultimately there isn’t a ton separating some of these teams. If you fill out a bracket with every higher seed beating every lower seed, you won’t win the bracket contest. But keep the upset picks somewhat conservative.
Choose your battles wisely here. Look for trends like highly-seeded teams who have played poorly down the stretch or unfortunately have suffered a key injury. Or look for lower-seeded teams with all-senior starting lineups who have overachieved.
Don’t be a lemming, folks. You’re going to hear a lot of talking heads out there gush about one team being the reincarnation of the 1960s-70s UCLA teams. Or maybe everybody will hop on one underdog’s bandwagon and try to convince you that Cinderella took her dance lessons from its coach.
Don’t listen to the noise and fall down that wormhole.
Also, we know you’re a graduate and big fan of Tech U, but if you want to nail your March Madness betting strategy, be realistic. Is your darling 18-12 Tech U. team really going to make it to the NCAA Final Four when it couldn’t even get to the semifinals of its conference tournament? Probably not. We know it’s fun to bet on the alma mater, but consider how wise it is.
In general, try to follow logic, not emotion. Save the emotion for when you beat your best buddies in the bracket contest, and you can rub it in their faces the next time you hang out.
Come up with your own strategy and ride that out through all of the fun you’re about to experience in the next three weeks. That’s why this is considered one of the greatest sporting events in the world.
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Brian McLaughlin is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of BMac and Herd’s FCS Podcast. He has written for The Sporting News, headed up the PARADE Magazine High School All American teams, covered FCS college football for HERO Sports ... and two NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournaments (2009 and 2010). Follow BMac on Twitter @BrianMacWriter.