College basketball’s yearly single-elimination tournament – aka March Madness – delivers an adrenaline rush like none other. Sixty-eight teams battle to be the NCAA Tournament champion every year with seemingly impossible twists, turns and surprises along the way.
Keep in mind that due to state regulations you can’t bet on New Jersey teams or games in NJ. But as there are no March Madness regionals in NJ this year you’ll have plenty of available action on the board.
If you’re new to March Madness betting, here’s how to get started. We cover which NJ sportsbooks and apps are the best plus some tips and trends on how to pick your best bets and fill in your brackets.
Best online sportsbooks in NJ for March Madness
Best March Madness betting apps
If you’re using your phone to get in on the March Madness action you’re in great shape with over a dozen sports betting apps to choose from. These are our picks for the Top 3:
DraftKings: This is one of the top apps in the game. DraftKings offers great bonuses around March Madness, including live betting on every game. There’s a vast selection of props and every type of bet you can imagine. You can also play the free $64,000 DraftKings Bracket Challenge and the new $16,000 Second Chance Challenge.
Caesars Sportsbook: Caesars is one of the most prominent betting brands in the world. It usually has sweet incentives around March Madness as well as an array of bracket contests to choose from. You’ll find several lines on every game including point spreads, moneylines, totals and props. Caesars’ live betting product is fantastic, too.
FanDuel: FanDuel is an excellent NCAA Tournament betting option for sports bettors in New Jersey. It offers live betting throughout the tournament along with an immense variety of lines, props and futures. The FanDuel app is slick and easy to navigate for both iOS and Android. Start the download process and claim your bonus via the link below:
Note to New York City residents: You can bet March Madness online or via app in New Jersey too! You can download the app, manage your funds and account and collect your winnings right from NYC.
The only thing you need to do to place bets is actually be within NJ state borders. That means anywhere just across from NYC – a sports bar, a train platform, etc – is free and clear as long as it’s within NJ.
March Madness odds in NJ
Here is a look at current odds at top NJ sportsbooks for who will win the men’s basketball title:
Bet March Madness Online
The best way to bet on March Madness is online. If you’ve only ever bet at a retail sportsbook, you know what it entails: people in line waiting for a cashier to take their bet and hand them a ticket. If you win your bet, you go back to the casino (if you’ve left already), stand in line again and cash in your ticket.
This process is a bit like renting movies from Blockbuster and rewinding the VHS tapes. Betting online is a much more efficient way to bet on March Madness. Just a few reasons:
Convenience: Lines are open 24/7, 365 days a year, which means you can bet at your convenience. Everything happens online, so when you place your bets and they win, money goes right into your account, so you don’t have to deal with lines anywhere.
Multiple Accounts for Best Odds: You can also have accounts at multiple sportsbooks, which allows you to get the best lines on the board in real-time. No walking from casino to casino to compare prices. You can see immediately who has the best price for the bet you want to make. Then click and get that exact price.
Portability: The beauty of online betting is you can do it from wherever you are. You want to sit at Buffalo Wild Wings and bet while watching the games? No problem. Want to be in the stands at the game and bet? Go for it. If you happen to be out of state, you can download and manage your account from out of state; you just have to be in a legal betting state to wager.
And don’t forget about the best part: live betting. Online sportsbooks have in-game lines that you can bet after every rebound, basket or timeout. At a live sportsbook there’s no way you can take advantage of those opportunities. Via phone, it’s all at your fingertips within seconds.
How can I bet on March Madness in NJ?
There are several different ways you can bet on the NCAA tournament at legal NJ sportsbooks, including:
NCAA Tournament brackets are the traditional way most Americans bet on March Madness. In fact, millions of Americans play in NCAA March Madness office pools and free-to-enter online contests every year.
The two heaviest hitters in NJ sportsbooks – DraftKings and FanDuel – both offer free March Madness bracket pools alongside paid bracket pools. Other NJ online sportsbooks will offer bracket contests for cash, too.
Here are the bracket pools both sportsbooks have announced:
$250,000 Free Survivor Pool – Free-to-enter challenge with $250k prize pool. Only open to new accounts!
$16,000 Free Second Chance Bracket Contest – Another free bracket challenge that starts at the Sweet 16
Bracket pools are simple to play: Once the first round schedule is set, and prior to the start of the tournament, you just fill out a bracket sheet by picking a winner in all 63 games.
Brackets can be a fun way to get in on the March Madness action. Plus, the best part is you don’t have to pick every game correctly. You just have to do a better job of picking winners than everybody else in the pool.
More on bracket selection and strategy tips below.
Just like they sound, futures are bets where the outcome is not determined until a future date. Traditionally, that means betting on who will win the title prior to the start of the season. However, NJ sportsbooks will take futures bets on college basketball teams all season long and throughout the tournament, right up until the start of the Final Four.
In fact, this is the best way to bet on March Madness prior to the start of the tournament, as you can lay down a bet on who you think will win the National Championship at any time. In fact, the earlier in the season you book the bet, the better the price will often be.
Keep in mind that these odds change often. The college basketball season is ongoing. As teams win, lose or get eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, the list will shorten. Check the current NCAA basketball Power Rankings here:
If you want the biggest payout, now is the time to bet. However, there’s obviously much more risk since we’re far from the big dance. It’s also worth noting that the online odds are better than in Vegas.
To start, it’s easy for you to shop around at several books with the click of a mouse or tap of a finger to get the best price. That’s much harder to do in Vegas. Also, the online books will often offer various promos, like odds boosts and other incentives that make it worth your while to bet online.
Sportsbooks don’t set moneylines for every college basketball game in the country throughout the season. However, most will for March Madness games.
Betting moneylines could not be any easier. You just pick the team you think will win the game. You’ll see either a positive (+) or negative (-) number posted beside each team. These denote the odds on that team to win.
A negative number means that team is the favorite and represents how much you’ll need to bet to win $100 plus your bet back. A positive number means that team is the underdog and represents how much you’ll win for every $100 bet.
Here is an example of what a college basketball moneyline may look like:
- UCLA Bruins +340
- Baylor Bears -400
In this example, Baylor is the favorite at home at -400 odds. So, this means that you would need to risk $400 to win $100 betting the Bears to win on the moneyline.
Meanwhile, UCLA is listed at +340 odds, which means you could bet $100 to win $340 taking the Bruins. However, the fact that UCLA would be so unlikely to beat Baylor on the road could cause you to hesitate to bet on them to win at all.
The spread in college basketball is just like the point spread bet on a football game. NJ sportsbooks will post the line on all March Madness games with either a positive (+) or negative (-) number beside each team.
A positive number means that team is the underdog and you’ll need to add the points to the team’s final score before determining if they are a betting winner.
It’s relatively easy, you just need to pick the winner with the posted line factored in. Here is a look at what a college basketball point spread bet may look like:
- Gonzaga -2.5 -110
- Baylor +2.5 -110
In this specific matchup, Gonzaga, the home team, is listed at -2.5 on the point spread. This means that the Bulldogs would need to win by 3 points or more to cover the point spread.
Meanwhile, Baylor is listed at +2.5 on the road, which means if they could either win outright or lose by 2 points or fewer than they would cover.
Notice that both teams are listed at -110 odds to cover, which means you could bet $110 to win $100 betting on either side.
The betting odds for college basketball point spreads will vary from one wager to the next. However, the standard number is usually at -110 for most point spread bets at most sportsbooks.
The total in college basketball is just like the over/under bet on a football game. NJ sportsbooks will set a line on the total number of points both teams in each game will combine to score.
Then it’s up to you to decide if the final score will be over or under that total and bet on it. Here is a look at what the college basketball total bet may look like for a game:
Auburn Tigers at LSU Tigers
- Over 149.5 (-110)
- Under 149.5 (-110)
In this matchup, the total has been set at 149.5 points. So, this means if you think the teams will combine to score 150 points or more, then you would take the “over.” If you think they will combine for 149 points or fewer, then you could take the “under.”
As you can see in this scenario, you can take either side of the total at -110 odds, which means you would need to risk $110 to win $100.
NCAA Tournament Live betting
Live betting on March Madness is one of the best strategies to use. One of the challenges of predicting the winner ahead of time is you don’t know how the teams will match up.
Will one side come out sluggish? Is it a bad matchup for them? Are they going to assume a win and look past their opponent? Live betting allows you to watch some of the games and then make your decision.
Of course, as the game transpires, the betting lines change on the fly. If a team is favored by 10 points before the tipoff, but they find themselves in an early 20-10 deficit, they could only be favored by 2-3 points in-game.
At this point, maybe you’re happy to not bet on them. Perhaps you see the value and bet them on a shorter line.
The other key here is that you can use live betting to hedge your bet. Let’s say you bet on a game, and it’s simply not going as planned. The traditional way is that you’re locked in and there’s nothing you can do about your impending loss. However, with live betting, you can hop in and bet the other side to get some of your money back.
NJ sportsbooks will allow you to combine two or more basic March Madness game bets into a parlay. Parlays pay better than individual game bets.
But the trick is, you have to win every bet that is a part of the parlay to get paid at all. This is also what makes March Madness parlays far different from brackets.
Filling out a bracket sheet involves entering a pool, and although you make multiple picks like a parlay, you don’t have to win every game to win the pool as you do with a parlay.
These are just a variation of futures, but these focus on player performance. For example, which player will win the Most Outstanding Player award or who’ll have the highest-scoring average in the NCAA Tournament.
You can also bet on things related to the game specifically, e.g., whether there will be overtime or if there will be a triple-double in the game. Here’s a look at what a college basketball prop bet may look like:
Seton Hall Pirates made 3-point shots vs. Ohio State
- Over 7.5 -110
- Under 7.5 -110
In this example, you would bet on whether you think Seton Hall will hit eight or more 3-point shots or seven or fewer 3-point shots. Notice that on both sides of this prop bet, the odds are set at -110.
The betting odds could change from prop bet to prop bet; it depends on the sportsbook.
March Madness brackets
So, what’s the chance of hitting a perfect March Madness bracket? Your odds are a cool 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (that’s 9.2 quintillion).
So many contests are willing to give away millions of dollars if anyone produces the perfect bracket because it’s never been done. Nonetheless, filling out a bracket is one of the greatest American traditions as everyone tries to get it right.
How the NCAA Tournament works is 68 teams are competing in a single-elimination tournament. Everyone fills out a bracket before any of the game’s tipoff and you hope for the best.
As the teams advance or are eliminated, you cross-reference your picks from your bracket. Remember, there’s no reseeding after rounds, so the team who wins simply moves on in the bracket. With so many upsets and unexpected turns, it’s really hard to make a perfect bracket.
The good news is there are other types of bracket contests you can join:
Regular Bracket: There are both free bracket contests and paid bracket contests that you can enter where you fill out a bracket. Usually, the free ones demand you to be perfect, or close to it, to earn prizes. The paid contests typically pool the money, and then the prize is given to whoever had the most correct selections.
Second-Chance Bracket Contests: Since there are so many upsets, you’ll see some contests that let you buy-in again. They may run a second contest for the Sweet 16 and beyond. That way, if your bracket is busted, you can still have fun for the remaining rounds.
How to build a March Madness bracket
- Stick with No. 1 seeds
On average, they go the furthest in the tournament. Each year, one-seeders win 3.4 games on average and have represented 62% of all national championship participants.
Overall, they are 494-117 in the tournament since 1985 against all other seeds, which represents a winning percentage of 80.8%.
If you’re betting futures or building a bracket, keep the No. 1 seeds in mind because they pay dividends.
- Don’t go low for your national champ
Building on the last point, you don’t want to go too low (in terms of seeds) when choosing a national champion. Your cutoff should be no worse than a No. 5 seed. The vast majority of national champions have been seeded No. 1 through No. 5.
Since 1996, 92% of tournament winners were in the top three with the No. 1 seed winning a whopping 15 times.
- First Four teams tend to keep going
If you’re looking for upsets, look no further than the First Four teams.
In every year except for 2019, a First Four team has also won a game in the round of 64. This means a First Four team qualified to the round of 64 and then also won a game there, too. Skip the No. 16 seeds as they’re likely mincemeat, but look at the No. 11 seeds.
- Take note of conference tournaments
If you’re trying to figure out who’ll win it all, recent trends show that teams who do well in the conference tournament will go far in the NCAA Tournament. Every national championship team in the past two decades has made it to the semifinals or beyond. In other words, you’re going to want to avoid teams who had an early conference tourney exit.
- Five is a key number
This tip applies to both brackets and betting the lines. What do we mean? Since 1996, teams favored by five or more win at about an 85% clip. However, teams favored by less than five will win at a clip of about 53%.
That’s a huge dropoff. When you’re filling out your brackets, take note of the spreads. They may tip you off on where to pick your upsets.
Early round March Madness betting tips
In 2018, Maryland-Baltimore County beat Virginia 74-54 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. This is significant because it marked the first time a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1 seed in NCAA tournament history. A total of 135 such matchups played out with the top seed winning every time before this upset for the ages took place.
It certainly proved March Madness miracles can happen, but they don’t happen too often. Particularly in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, betting on the top four seeds is a sharp play.
In fact, 2018 was an outlier in NCAA history with so many top seeds failing to make the Sweet 16. Betting on something like that happening again would be like putting money on lightning striking in the same place twice.
However, once you get down to the No. 5 versus No. 12 match-up, it’s time to start thinking about the underdogs. In fact, No. 12 seeds have historically won about 35% of these games.
It’s always a good idea to look closely at the spread on these games and others like No. 6 vs. No. 11 and No. 7 vs. No. 10. There is often value to be found with oddsmakers paying more attention to the differences in the seeding rather than the actual teams.
Sweet 16 and Elite Eight betting tips
The lines will tighten up in the third and fourth round of the NCAA tournament. Oddsmakers will begin believing any team that can win two or three games is undoubtedly capable of winning even more.
You aren’t likely to find the value in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight that you might have in the first two rounds. However, by this point in the tournament, you’ll be making more educated guesses as to who can beat who.
Watch the games and you’ll see that momentum is real and the teams that are playing the best are the better bets. In other words, pay more attention to how a team is playing than seeding when betting the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.
NCAA Final Four betting tips
The Final Four means just two semifinal games and the Championship game is left. At this point, with just four teams to think about, oddsmakers are making fewer if any mistakes. In fact, finding value becomes a near impossible task. Your best bet is to pick a side you like and shop around at different sportsbooks for the best price on your wager.
The teams that are playing the best and have the most talent will shone through and betting becomes more of an exercise in getting the most you can out of that knowledge. Proving that the NCAA knows what it’s doing when it seeds the teams, the higher-seeded team wins close to 75 percent of the time in the Final Four. If you’re looking for a little help in making your Final Four picks, you’ll find it there.
Timing your March Madness Bets
Another factor to consider when making your NCAA Tournament bets is timing. Is it more or less optimal to get your bets in early or right at the wire. Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of each.
Why Bet Early:
- Better odds for favorites. Lines for the team expected to win are more favorable early in the process. The reason is simple. The more bettors wager on the favorite, the worse the odds will become for that side of the bet.
- Early lines are more prone to pricing mismatches. Sportsbooks rush to get March Madness lines published as soon as they can. With time pressure, the risk of a pricing mismatch escalates. So there may be opportunities to grab lines that are extra favorable in the early going.
- Early wagering may open chance to middle. A bet before the line moves significantly may open up an opportunity to bet the middle. Middling means betting on both the favorite and underdog. For instance, imagine that a team is favored by 5 points at FanDuel Sportsbook. So, the bettor wagers that the team will win by more than that. Then, the line shifts and the team is now a 10-point favorite. In theory, the bettor could then bet that the underdog team will cover. In that scenario, the player would win both bets if the favorite wins by 6-9 points. The favorite exceeded its 5-point margin, but the underdog covered its final 10-point margin.
Why Bet Later:
- Better odds for underdogs. Betting later is advantageous for underdog bettors for the same exact reason that early betting favors favorite bettors. The increased action on the favorite drives the line farther away from even. That line movement translates into a widening of the underdog’s required margin for covering.
- More time to research. March Madness is, at its heart, a series of games between 68 different teams. Except for the most hardcore of fans, formulating opinions on each team is difficult. A March Madness bracket will always involve using incomplete information. A later betting timeframe can negate the magnitude of things you don’t know. That extra time is especially true for considering and judging mid-major and small conference teams. These squads likely haven’t received much national attention, so it can be difficult to judge whether they are a worthy team on the big stage.
- React to lineup changes. Finally, a later bettor can make sure that they are betting on the same team that won its way into the conference. A reserved approach can give a player time to incorporate injury news or rumors of trouble into their predictions.Waiting almost until game time means that there hopefully won’t be many surprises.
2021 March Madness schedule
Note: The NCAA announced that the 2021 Men’s Basketball Tournament will be played in its entirety in Indianapolis, IN and surrounding areas in a bubble-like format, due to COVID restrictions.
- Date: Sunday, March 14
- Date: Tuesday, March 16, and Wednesday, March 17
- Location: Indianapolis
NCAA Tournament Round 1
- Dates: Thursday, March 18, and Friday, March 19
NCAA Tournament Round 2
- Dates: Saturday, March 20, and Sunday, March 21
- Location: Indianapolis
- Dates: Thursday, March 25, and Friday, March 26
- Dates: Saturday, March 27, and Sunday, March 28
- Location: Indianapolis
- Date: Saturday, April 3
2021 NCAA Championship game
- Date: Monday, April 5
- Location: Indianapolis
Where can I watch or stream March Madness in NJ?
On TV, the NCAA Tournament will broadcast on CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV.
The selection show will be on CBS, and the First Four will be on truTV. The majority of the tournament will be on CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV. Then, the Final Four will be on TBS.
If you’re looking to stream online, it will be via March Madness Live, which is through the NCAA. You’ll also be able to watch in virtual reality through the Intel® True VR experience.
When is Selection Sunday? How does it work?
Selection Sunday is Sunday, March 14. It is when the NCAA Selection Committee determines who will play in the NCAA Tournament.
They’ll crunch the numbers that are based on every team’s performance throughout the year. Then they decide on which teams deserve to be in the tournament and what seeds they should be.
The Selection Committee will then decide which teams will go in each quadrant and then seed them from No. 1 to No. 16.
Teams who win their conference tournament earn automatic bids to March Madness. So really, the committee is only selecting the other teams to join, which are known as at-large bids.
Nowadays, they pick 68 teams, and we have what’s called the First Four. We have four games to determine the final four spots in the round of 64 NCAA Tournament bracket.
Selection Sunday is a day that delivers plenty of Twitter conversation, e.g., which team should have been left out and which teams got seeded too high or too low.
The best part is at the end of the day when we get to start filling out our NCAA Tournament brackets.
March Madness Teams in NJ
The state of New Jersey doesn’t have as rich of a college basketball history as, say, the state of North Carolina. However, our local teams have had plenty of success.
Let’s take a look at Seton Hall, Rutgers, Monmouth and Princeton and see how far they’ve gone in the NCAA Tournament.
Seton Hall Pirates
- City: Newark, NJ
- Stadium: Prudential Center
- Capacity: 10,481
- Conference: Big East
NBA players: Ed Sadowski, Bob Davies, Bobby Wanzer, Walter Dukes, Sam Dalembert, Mark Bryant, Adrian Griffin
Best March Madness Finish: NCAA Tournament runner-up (1989). They’ve made the Sweet 16 four times.
Rutgers Scarlett Knights
- City: Piscataway, NJ
- Stadium: Louis Brown Athletic Center
- Capacity: 8,000
- Conference: Big Ten
NBA: James Bailey, John Battle, Hollis Copeland, Quincy Douby, Luis Flores, Dahntay Jones, Eddie Jordan
Best March Madness Finish: Final Four (1976). They’ve made the Sweet 16 twice.
- City: Princeton, NJ
- Stadium: Jadwin Gymnasium
- Capacity: 6,854
- Conference: Ivy League
NBA: Steve Goodrich, Geoff Petrie, Bud Palmer, Willem van Breda Kolff, Bill Bradley, Mike Kearns, Ted Manakas, Armond Hill and Brian Taylor
Best March Madness Finish: Final Four (1965). They’ve made the Sweet 16 six times.
- City: West Long Branch, NJ
- Stadium: OceanFirst Bank Center
- Capacity: 4,100
- Conference: MAAC
NBA: Alex Blackwell is the only Monmouth alum to step on an NBA court.
Best March Madness Finish: Qualified for NCAA Tournament in 1976, 1981, 1982, 1996, 2001, 2004 and 2006.
March Madness FAQ
When are March Madness brackets due?
Most March Madness brackets are due before the First Four, which is on the first Tuesday immediately after Selection Sunday. Some formats allow you to wait until the first Thursday of the games. This year, the First Four is Tuesday, March 16, and the start of the round of 64 is Thursday, March 18.
How many games are in March Madness?
In total, there are 63 games played in the NCAA Tournament. If you include the First Four games, then it is 67.
How many teams play in NCAA March Madness?
A total of 68 teams qualify for the NCAA Tournament. That includes the First Four.
Which NJ teams have won/had the most success in March Madness?
Seton Hall has had plenty of success with 13 NCAA Tournament appearances. They’ve made the Sweet 16 four times, the Final Four once and were a tournament runner-up once, too. Princeton has made the tournament 25 times but has only gone as far as the Final Four once. Meanwhile, Rutgers has made March Madness six times in total, going to the Final Four once as well.
What is the lowest seed to win March Madness?
The lowest seed to ever win the NCAA Tournament was a No. 8 seed. While four No. 8 seeds have made it to the championship game: UCLA (1980), Villanova (1985), Butler (2011), Kentucky (2014) — only Villanova managed to win it.
Where else can I bet on March Madness in New Jersey?
There are now over a dozen New Jersey online sports betting apps taking bets on college basketball and the NCAA tournament. Here’s a look at where else you can bet online on March Madness in NJ:
|Online Sportsbook||Land-Based Affiliate||Sportsbook App||Promo Code & Bonus|
|FOX Bet||Resorts AC||Yes||Up to $500 - click here|
|Caesars||Caesars||Yes||LEGALRF - $5,000 Free|
|888 Sport||Caesars||Yes||Up to $500 - click here|
|SugarHouse Sportsbook||Monmouth Park||Yes||PLAY250 - Up to $250|
|PointsBet||Meadowlands||Yes||BETBONUS - Up to $2,000 - click here|
|Resorts||Resorts AC||Yes||MAXBONUS - Up to $250 - click here|
|Golden Nugget Sports||Golden Nugget AC||Yes||PLAYBONUS - $250 free bet|
|BetMGM||Borgata AC||Yes||PLAYBONUS - Up to $1,000|
|Hard Rock||Hard Rock AC||Yes||Up to $1,000|
|BetAmerica||Golden Nugget AC||Yes||Up to $500|
In addition, all of the Atlantic City and NJ racetrack sports betting sites will have March Madness odds. Here’s a look at the retail sportsbooks in New Jersey:
Open land-based NJ sportsbooks
|Casino/Racetrack||Sports Betting Partner(s)||Sportsbook Name||Open?|
|Borgata||IGT||Borgata Race & Sports Bar||Yes|
|Monmouth Park||William Hill/Caesars||Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill||Yes|
|Ocean Resort Casino||William Hill||William Hill Sportsbook @ Ocean||Yes|
|Resorts||SBTech; DraftKings/Kambi||DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts||Yes|
|Harrah's||Scientific Games||The Book||Yes|
|Bally's||Scientific Games||Wild Wild West Sportsbook||Yes|
|Golden Nugget||SBTech||The Sports Book||Yes|
|Hard Rock Atlantic City||GiG||Hard Rock Sportsbook||Yes|
|Tropicana||Caesars||Caesars Sports Book at Tropicana Atlantic City||Yes|