Road To Indiana: All NCAA Tournament Games Will Take Place In Hoosier State

Now that we know where all 67 games of the 2021 NCAA Tournament will be taking place, here’s a look at March Madness odds.

Count it. The NJ sports betting industry just hit a three-pointer. March Madness, two golden words in the American psyche, is back.

Gamblers, sportsbooks and the nation’s college basketball fans are celebrating the rumors that became fact as the new year began.

The NCAA will bring back the NCAA Tournament for 2021 and conduct the entire tournament in Indiana.

The official announcement came Monday afternoon.

2021 NCAA Tournament plans

According to, the majority of the tournament’s 67 games will occur in Indianapolis.

NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt said, “The 2021 version of March Madness will be one to remember, if for no other reason than the uniqueness of the event.”

“With the direction of the Men’s Basketball Committee, we are making the most of the circumstances the global pandemic has presented. We’re fortunate to have neighbors and partners in Indianapolis and surrounding communities who not only love the game of basketball as much as anyone else in the country but have a storied history when it comes to staging major sporting events,” said Gavitt.

As far as where the games will be played, the NCAA will be using several locations:

  • Two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium
  • Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  • Hinkle Fieldhouse
  • Indiana Farmers Coliseum
  • Mackey Arena in West Lafayette
  • Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington

Selection Sunday is still scheduled for March 14.

And plans remain to have the Final Four on April 3 and 5.

The dates of preliminary-round games are still to be determined.

Looking at March Madness odds

There is still a long way to go before conference champions are crowned and Selection Sunday takes place. However, it’s never too early to look at the NCAA Tournament futures.

NCAA Tournament, a cultural cornerstone, revived

Monday’s March Madness announcement is welcome news for bettors. Remember, the 2020 NCAA Tournament was canceled. And it coincided with COVID-19 pushing college and pro sports to the sidelines.

Although the NBA’s shutdown last March 11 was the pandemic’s acknowledged reference point, the NCAA had already been canceling conference championships.

That’s why the return of March Madness in any form is a financial and emotional lift.

Many logistics will be called into play here, and the tournament will have a bubble-type structure similar to those used to successfully complete the NBA and NHL 2020 seasons.

As far as the NCAA plans go, the Indiana Convention Center will be used as a practice facility, with multiple courts set up inside the venue.

Marriott properties, an official NCAA corporate partner, will house most of the tournament teams. The hotels are connected to the convention center via skywalks and within a controlled environment. All teams will be housed on dedicated hotel floors, with physically distanced meeting and dining rooms, as well as secure transportation to and from competition venues.

So this may be the move that puts college basketball back on the front burner. The league began its season slowly, with an emphasis on regional games, limited travel and postponements for a couple of weeks when necessary.

March Madness will have a different feel

For operators like DraftKings Sportsbook, the 2020-21 NCAA men’s basketball season continues to be unique.

“College basketball feels different to me right now, but it will get better as we get through this (the pandemic),” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told in late December. “I get it, they are looking after the safety of the students, etc., and they are proceeding with caution.

“After the first of the year, especially, if we get everything under control, and if we feel comfortable heading into March, things should be all right.”

On a related matter, Avello said that although Garden State bettors can’t wager on New Jersey teams, it’s a minuscule liability for the books. Besides Seton Hall, there are few teams that would generate wagering interest for New Jersey gamblers.

“There used to be a law that Nevada bettors could not wager on teams in their state, which primarily meant UNLV and Nevada Reno,” said Avello.  “They changed that law a little over 20 years ago, and you were allowed to bet on those teams.”

“We did not get an abundance of money in the state for them. Customers are not looking at betting ‘their’ home team. It’s one thing if you lived in Boston and you bet the New England Patriots because they covered 70% of the time and made you money, but otherwise I don’t think anybody, regardless of the sport, is going to play the home team consistently,” said Avello.

A closer look at NCAA championship odds

Whomever they back, bettors wager into the lessons of past performance. Most teams will lose at least a handful of games and, throughout the season, top rankings will shift.

Some team in the 11-25 slot usually suffers an upset loss each week. This is a fertile area to bet into.

And the dynamic was even more pronounced last year, as teams in the Top 5 were shifted, too.

With no champion crowned last year, here are some numbers reflecting the betting sentiment. Good prices are still available on the national championship front:

DraftKings has Gonzaga at + 350, less of a deal than a month ago, but still good.

Villanova has rocketed up to No. 2 at +700. Baylor stands third at +800, followed by Wisconsin at +900 and both Houston and Texas at +1100.

There is good value in the Big East with Villanova at +225 and Creighton +375.

But, like all futures bets, the value will diminish for good teams over time.

March Madness futures at FanDuel and William Hill

There is variety at other books, including FanDuel Sportsbook.

Gonzaga (+350) is still the big pick, but Villanova improves to +900 here. And if you like Creighton, the team is +2500 at FanDuel.

At William Hill, the same major characters exist, with some slight wrinkles. Villanova, for instance, is +1000 to win the championship.

Gonzaga, Villanova and Baylor sat atop the college rankings as the year began. Eventually, the ranked teams will provide some sense of the circuit for bettors.

Villanova, which postponed its next three games Monday because of COVID-19 issues, remains an enigma. There will be no data to push the futures price either way.  By the time Villanova resumes, it will have gone through a multiweek break.

This is just part of the puzzle. Short term, some teams have issues. Longer term, meaning March, music has begun for the Big Dance.

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March Madness 2020: An AC Casino Guide To Watching And Betting On The Big Dance

With Selection Sunday now days away, March Madness betting season is just getting started. Atlantic City casinos are ready with their viewing party plans.

That lull between Super Bowl betting and March Madness betting is just about over.

Selection Sunday is March 15 and then, let the wagering madness begin.

Atlantic City casinos are busy gearing up for the extended four-day weekend of NJ sports betting action that follows.

Here is a rundown of where to watch the NCAA tournament and more importantly, where to place your March Madness bets.

Bally’s, Caesars

Bally’s and Caesars are sister properties, but as far as point spreads and parlays go, they operate as one.

The Book at Bally’s Wild Wild West, at 15,228 square feet, can handle the massive March Madness crowds. Guests have the option of standing in the back or reserving a seat for $30 (those looking to splurge can book a fan cave).

Either way, the 98-foot-by-18 foot, HD LED TV wall with surround sound is hard to miss. Food and drink options, including self-serve beer, are footsteps away.

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The MGM-owned property is gearing up for another round of Brackets @ Borgata. 

Like in 2019, the Central Conference Center is being converted into a giant viewing area (complete with betting windows) for the first- and second-round games taking place March 19-22 

But that’s just one option. Moneyline Bar & Book is the place to enjoy some stadium-style food while watching and wagering on the hoops action. Call it an authentic sports bar atmosphere with its 40-foot-wide LED video wall.

Guaranteed seating is available at Moneyline and the adjacent Level One Cocktail Bar & Lounge. Call 609-317-7249 to reserve a table (There is a $75 per person food and beverage minimum.).

Guests will be able to place wagers at the Borgata Race & Sports Book, too. Just be aware you’ll be sharing the space with the passionate horse betting crowd.

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Golden Nugget

Just like the self-parking, the March Madness events at Golden Nugget are free. There are two viewing parties booked for next week.

One is taking place inside the sportsbook where all the games will be on the five video walls.

The nearby Rush Lounge may not have betting windows, but there are comfortable lounge seats and drink specials. And mobile betting works just fine from either location.

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Hard Rock

Bettors heading to Hard Rock Atlantic City have options. There is the 3,800-square-foot sportsbook, complete with 50 seats and 60 TVs.

The other option is purchasing a $10 ticket (includes two draft beers) to the Hard Rock Hoops viewing parties taking place from March 19-22. Guests can wager and watch the nonstop basketball action.

Sound Waves, typically reserved for live entertainment, will host the festivities.

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The Book at Harrah’s is a much smaller, more intimate setting. It’s only 3,800 square feet, including two fan caves. The high-quality resolution LED screens offer an enjoyable viewing experience.

But like at the movie theater, during March Madness season, seats need to be purchased in advance. Prices range from $25 for a stadium seat to $75 for a high-top table.

The fan caves are sold out for March 19.

Customers who come hungry can order food from the AC Burger Co. without leaving their chair.  


Ocean Casino Resort is home to the Madness Zone. The NCAA Tournament is such a big deal that hosting one event simply isn’t enough.

Bettors can watch all the games inside the 7,500-square-foot William Hill Sportsbook, which features a panoramic viewing experience. Seats can be reserved in advance ($50-$200).

Topgolf Swing SuiteVillain & Saint1927 Lounge & Speakeasy and High Water Wine Bar (overlooking the sportsbook) are hosting alternative viewing parties.

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AC’s oldest casino is going all out for what’s being billed as March Mania. And it’s such a big deal that seven different locations will be showing the tournament games.

Those who arrive hungrily may want to grab a table at LandShark Bar & Grill or Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.

The main attraction, of course, is DraftKings Sportsbook. The centerpiece is the 1,000 square feet of ultra-HD, LED video wall. Bettors looking for a seat, however, need to make a reservation. Call 609-402-1053.

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The Eldorado-owned Tropicana is hosting a property-wide College Basketball Championship event. And it’s going on through April 6 for the national championship game.

Like at Ocean, the William Hill-branded sportsbook is the place to watch and wager. Bettors can grab a seat early by calling 609-342-7785.

Pair the wagering with some food and drink specials. Chickie’s & Pete’s, located next to the sportsbook, is offering an all-you-can-eat menu ($35.99 per person). Customers can watch the games there, too.

March Madness 2020: NCAA Conference Tournaments, Selection Sunday Preview

NJ sportsbooks prepare for the final dress rehearsal for March Madness as the NCAA conference tournaments take place ahead of Selection Sunday.

The final dress rehearsal for Big Dance erupts across New Jersey and the national landscape this week. It provides a festive ensemble of compelling matchups, promising upsets, buzzer-beating finishes, and tension-filled drama.

The heaviest play will be Thursday throughout the weekend. Many tourneys begin on Wednesday, featuring the weakest teams.

March Madness excitement mirrors the conference-tournament matchups:

  • Single-elimination tournaments
  • Perpetual action, from coast to coast
  • Jockeying for position

Look for a midweek-to-weekend New Jersey sports betting fest where everything matters.

When the smoke clears, Selection Sunday will determine the top 68 of the nation’s 353 men’s college basketball teams.

Then the real March Madness begins.

“The action goes way, way up now,” Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill US, told

“We love this. There’s nothing like the conference tournaments and March Madness.”

Conference week has a range of March Madness implications

For the nation’s two AP teams, Kansas and Gonzaga, this week’s competition is a chance to ensure No. 1 seeds when the final tournament launches next week.

For Baylor, San Diego State, Florida State, and Kentucky, it’s likely a free-for-all attempt to land the final pair of No. 1 seeds for next week.

An exciting Kansas-Baylor rubber match could ensue in the Big 12.

The NJ sports betting crowd will also be riveted on the Big East. Really riveted.

This is parity at its finest, and perhaps major opportunities for underdog bettors, as this tournament unfurls Wednesday through Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

New Jersey-based Seton Hall, a season-long darling of the gamblers, blew a late-season Big East conference lead. It wound up sharing the league title with Creighton and Villanova.

It’s a three-way tie at the top and now a matchup of the participants. With all three ranked among the AP’s top 25 teams in the country.


This will be a must-see for fans of these teams, and the matchups will be all about momentum.

Seton Hall lost its imminent top conference-tournament seed and got third, thus facing sixth-ranked Marquette on Thursday. Seton Hall beat Marquette 88-79 in late February and may take out its frustration in the first game.

Creighton, which handily beat Seton Hall twice, including a blowout this past weekend, earned the No. 1 seed.

It will face the winner of Wednesday’s match between Georgetown, seeded eighth, and St. John’s, seeded ninth.

Villanova, the second seed, split two games with Seton Hall, winning the last matchup on the road. The Wildcats take on Wednesday’s DePaul (10) versus Xavier (7) survivor on Thursday.

If Seton Hall, Villanova, and Creighton win their first games, as expected, we’ll have three nationally ranked teams facing each other in the semifinals and finals. Butler, seeded fifth, is a live dog.

Big East fans in those markets are salivating for that showdown.

Many markets across the country will feature attractive matchups similar to the Big East.

By any measure, it’s a thrill ride for the gamblers. They can observe it as a self-contained March Madness preview, but with fewer first-round upsets because some opening-round teams really don’t belong.

Some weak clubs are significantly overmatched in the opening round. For instance, Wake Forest is 200-1 at SugarHouse Sportsbook to win the ACC tournament. After that, competition is much tighter.

We know what it means for bettors. But what does it mean for the teams?

Conference championships can either improve March Madness seeding for top-ranked teams.

It can give longshots one more chance to enter the Final 68 by winning the tournament. Or it establishes tie-breakers for teams “on the bubble” to gain entry into the Big Dance.

Bogdanovich considers this one of the most level playing fields in many years.

The happiest gamblers this winter have been dog bettors. Upsets marked the landscape, as the top teams ascended and descended in elevator-style fashion.

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March Madness futures: The ‘futures’ is now

The books are scrambling to update conference tournament odds after shifting from the end of the regular season. They have been placing the props up gradually.

FanDuel Sportsbook had an extensive lineup by the end of play March 8 for the conference tournaments. Here’s the outlook.


Favorite: Kentucky +180. Longest odds: South Carolina 35-1

Big 12

  • Favorite: Kansas + 105
  • Baylor +230
  • West Virginia, 9-1

*All three have been nationally ranked throughout the season. Kansas and Baylor split two games. Baylor dealt Kansas its last loss on Jan. 11.

Big 10

Favorite: Michigan, +320

Pac 12

  • Favorite: Oregon +180
  • Colorado +430
  • UCLA +700
  • USC (which just beat UCLA, 11-1)

Big East

  • Favorite: Villanova +270
  • Creighton + 310
  • Providence +600

ACC early odds at DraftKings

DraftKings Sportsbook has the following early ACC odds:

  • Favorite: Florida State 2-1
  • Louisville +235
  • Duke +225
  • Virginia +700
  • Wake Forest 200-1
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Conference tournaments’ impact on March Madness

Some, but not all the rich get richer this week. 

Kansas has been the nation’s top team. Gonzaga is second. Dayton, Baylor, San Diego State, and even Kentucky vie for inclusion in the top four rankings and potential top seeds for the following week.

Watch those teams this week to see if they recover lost momentum.  San Diego State and Baylor have weakened themselves with recent slumps.

Kansas and Baylor may meet in what is both a Big 12 conference tournament game and a potential preview of a big March Madness clash.

The angle of “needing the game” is factoring in less into betting now. It’s all about relative talent.

Every team must win to upgrade or preserve postseason hopes, but some are not good enough to make a run on this type of foundation, even if they are in a favorable situation.

UCLA, ranked 76 in NET, (the NCAA Evaluation tool and unofficial team ranking guide) for example, would have moved up this list by sharing the PAC 12 title.

But the Bruins were beaten over the weekend by USC and now must have a monster conference tournament to reach March Madness.

San Diego State has a similar consistency problem. The Aztecs were the nation’s lone unbeaten team in late February, but stumbled and did not even win the Mountain West Conference tournament.

That went to Utah, the year’s first official NCAA tournament team. The Aggies won the Mountain West Conference tournament on Saturday, upsetting top-seeded San Diego State 59-56, in thrilling fashion, to secure the nation’s first automatic bid to March Madness.

Utah is thus one team that is grateful for the conference tournament. This conference is considered weak and, thus, anything less than a tournament championship would not have been good enough for this team.

San Diego State, by contrast, will slide from its once-lofty perch but still reach the final tournament because of its play through mid-February.

Tournament winners automatically gain entry to March Madness.

That benefits some teams, but for the most part, it won’t generate too many surprises. There may be a mediocre team seeded near the bottom who is capable of running the conference-tournament table, but there won’t be many.

Teams on the NET bubble (50-80) are lobbying for their March Madness lives. Each victory win will be significant, and perhaps matter come Selection Sunday, regardless of how deep they went in this week’s tournament.

March Madness 2020: College Basketball Teams With The Most At Stake This Weekend

Sixty-eight college basketball teams will make March Madness. Several are close to the cutoff point and a few are jockeying for postion.

High-Low is not merely a kitchen-parlor table card game.

In the shadow of March Madness, there are two different targets New Jersey bettors may want to place a wager on for the final weekend of the college basketball men’s regular season:

  • High target
  • Low target

High target teams are trying to solidify a No. 1 bracket position for the Big Dance that begins March 19.  A win enables them to take a major, perhaps final step, in snaring a valued top seed for the post-season. These teams are hungry.

Low target teams are equally compelling. They are the bottom qualifiers, teams potentially slated to eke their way into the final playoff tournament if it started now. But a loss would be costly.

Who fits into which category?

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Top teams heading into March Madness

Kansas knocked Baylor from the top spot in the AP ratings with a three-point win a couple of weeks ago. It has enjoyed the distinction of being considered the nation’s top team since.

The Jayhawks try to ensure a No. 1 seed in the post-season bracket by beating host Texas Tech on Saturday. It’s an interesting contest because Kansas only won the teams’ first encounter by three points at home.

Third-ranked Dayton hosts George Washington and fourth-ranked Baylor visits West Virginia on Saturday.

Kansas, Dayton, and Baylor may be prohibitive on the moneyline.

New Jersey sports betting customers may consider a multiple moneyline parlay to back these favorites, who want to win their last game before the conference tournaments begin next week. The payout won’t be large but would beat laying perhaps 2-1 or more on the heavy favorites.

The ratings jockeying will be interesting to observe after the weekend.  Second-ranked Gonzaga and fifth-ranked San Diego State finished their campaigns.

One of these top five teams, at least, won’t get a number one post-season seed. Those that do are practically guaranteed a first-round victory in the Big Dance. A 16 seed has toppled a number one seed just once.

Life on the March Madness bubble

Another world exists on the fringes of post-season contention. Who needs to come up big this weekend?

Saturday is a carnival of teams feeling P-R-E-S-S-U-R-E, such as:

  • Syracuse (at Miami)
  • St. John’s (at Marquette)
  • Clemson (Georgia Tech)

Outside-looking-in teams like UCLA (at USC), Washington (at Arizona) and Oklahoma State (at Texas) also fit the desperate description.

They will all be interesting moneyline and spread considerations. Teams at this level lose often enough that they can’t be considered locks, even when they must win the game.

How unofficial March Madness rankings emerge

Sixty-eight teams will make the final tournament.  Several are close to the cutoff point, either barely in, or out, according to NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool).

The NET is a results-oriented team-ranking metric that churns out a daily hierarchy of the 353 basketball teams.

Key components:

  • Wins
  • Scoring margin
  • Net offensive and defensive efficiency
  • Strength of schedule
  • Location of games

The beauty of the NET rankings: they are comprehensive, but not etched in stone.

UCLA, for example, may be ranked 76th but would get a share of the PAC 12 title with a victory Saturday. That would be a bargaining feather in the cap.

And of course, teams winning their conference tournaments bypass the tension of Selection Sunday, when the final tournament field is announced. Conference tournament winners are, for the most part, in.

With so much at stake, many teams will rise up and take care of business this weekend.

Some will surprise.

New Jersey sportsbooks expect large wagering volume, spread across a complex slate of games.

So, who needs a victory the most?

“That’s a really hard question,” Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill US, told Thursday.

“My opinion is it’s the teams on the bubble, fighting to pad their resume to get into the big tournament.

Others might say it’s the battle for a number one and better tournament position, which is legitimate, but for me?

I think it’s the teams ranked 50-80. That’s where the pressure lies.”

The Net rankings may not be the final word on at-large tourney berths, but they serve as a highly-regarded reference point, and, in the spirit of March Madness, a hot topic for debate.

“Every year it’s different in the men’s basketball college season but, without question, this is one of the most level playing fields of all time,” Bogdanovich said.

“The wonderful thing is so many teams are bunched together, power-ratings wise. People who play dogs blindly are doing very well. The dogs and the moneyline have been live.”

Who will NET a Big Dance invite

Let’s take a look at some teams whose entire season rests on a good final weekend and strong conference tournament.

At number 60, South Carolina is 18-12 and has some margin for error.

Syracuse, Liberty, and Furman probably have none. Welcome to Pressure Land, kids. They represent the 66-68 positions, in theory, the final three to obtain an at-large berth via the play-in round.

Furman is 22-6, while Syracuse, at 17-13, is ranked two slots ahead of it.  Syracuse plays in the ACC, more respected than Furman’s Southern Conference.

From the outside-looking realm comes St. John’s, Clemson and UCLA.

St. Johns, only 15-15, destroyed Creighton by 20 points a week ago.  Creighton had just moved into the 10th spot in the country earlier that day. St. John’s put the “Just Visiting” tag on Creighton’s top 10 status with a convincing triumph.

Turns out St. John’s was just visiting the Net 68 too. The Red Storm then got blasted by Butler, by 22 points.

Clemson toppled sixth-ranked Florida State and 10th ranked Louisville but is 15-14.

Safe for now

  • Alabama 16-14
  • Mississippi State 19-11
  • Saint Louis 21-8
  • Indiana 19-11
  • Texas 19-11
  • Rhode Island 20-9
  • Tennessee 17-13
  • Notre Dame 18-12
  • NC State 18-12
  • South Carolina 18-12

No margin for error

  • VCU, 18-12
  • Georgetown, 15-15
  • UConn, 17-12
  • Yale, 20-6
  • Memphis, 20-9
  • Syracuse, 17-13
  • Liberty, 26-4
  • Furman, 22-6

Needing a little help

Teams close enough to leapfrog with a win and a loss by teams just above them:

  • Washington
  • St. John’s
  • Oklahoma State
  • Oregon State
  • UCLA

March Madness Betting: The future is almost here

Although uncertainty reigns when it comes to March Madness betting odds, it’s worth a stab to make a futures wager on a team to win the championship.

Biggest recent movers up the line include Brigham Young and Dayton.

BYU was barely in the top 25 awhile back and, because of upsets, rocketed up to ninth on the NET list.

The Cougars toppled second-ranked Gonzaga by 13 points in February and has been under the radar. BYU is still a 60-1 choice but it has beaten one of the nation’s top teams.

With official March Madness action just off in the distance, there is a lot for bettors to sort through this weekend.

March Madness Betting: William Hill NJ Prepares For The NCAA Tournament

Nick Bogdanovich, William Hill US director of trading, says this year’s March Madness field is wide open, with 20 to 22 teams capable of winning it.

The final countdown to Selection Sunday is down to its last days. So, it means it’s extremely busy inside the William Hill US offices.

Call it preparation for when the NCAA Tournament brackets are announced on TBS (6 p.m. EST, March 15).

Of course, William Hill NJ set its March Madness betting field months ago.

Sure, the odds to win it all have shifted since the start of the 2019-20 season has gotten underway. But the fun part is just getting started.

Nick Bogdanovich, William Hill US director of trading, is gearing up for what is one of the biggest events on the NJ sports betting calendar.

From an oddsmaker standpoint, the difficult work is done. Once the brackets are released, Bogdanovich said it’s pretty easy to make the numbers.

The majority of the teams play on neutral courts. If blue bloods, like Kansas or North Carolina, end up playing near home, Bogdanovich said the line tends to move a point or two.

First- and second-round games are taking place in both states this year.

“We use some raw power numbers, put it up there and let the bettors take it from there,” said Bogdanovich. 

“It’s more fun than anything. March Madness is a pleasure to work.”

No NJ sports betting on Seton Hall

Here in the Garden StateSeton Hall will not be part of the March Madness wagering conversation. It doesn’t matter if they win the Big East Tournament (March 11-14 at Madison Square Garden).

The fact that the Pirates are ranked No. 13 in the AP Top 25 poll carries no weight. NJ sports betting rules prohibit wagering on New Jersey-based college teams.

Last year’s tournament field included Seton Hall and Fairleigh Dickinson, but neither team advanced out of Round 64.

Bogdanovich calls the potential scenario a minor inconvenience for the bookmaker.

“For the people in New Jersey that want to back their home team, I would imagine it bothers them quite a bit that they are not able to put a $20 bill on their favorite team.”  

Is Villanova a good bet?

The same rule does not apply to the Villanova Wildcats, who call the Philadelphia side of the Delaware River home. Nova Nation was a hot topic among the Atlantic City crowd around this time last year.

The team won national championship titles in ’16 and ’18. The ‘Cats may not be one of the favorites to win it this time around, but they were ranked No. 12 in last week’s poll with a 21-6 record.

William Hill currently has them at 30-1 to win it all. Call it the middle of the betting pack with the likes of:

  • Arizona
  • Michigan
  • Penn State

Bogdanovich said there is no question there is more money on Villanova in the New Jersey market. Call it the hometown favoritism similar to that of the Hawkeye State, where Iowa and Iowa State attract a large percentage of the handle.

As far as how much is wagered on Nova, time will tell.

“I haven’t really seen an overwhelming amount of Villanova money, but if they were to go in a deep run in the tournament for sure, we would see it,” said Bogdanovich. 

“Let’s face it, (30-1) is a price that is very, very high compared to what they’ve been in the last five years. So [bettors] might flip that switch, thinking I am getting some value here. They are starting to play a little better now.” 

Nova enters Wednesday night’s game against Seton Hall, riding the momentum of six-straight wins. The Pirates won Feb. 8 contest, 70-64.

March Madness is wide open

A couple of weeks from now, people across the country will be filling out brackets for company office pools. But in terms of which teams are standing out in the pack right now, the answer is not as clear cut as previous years

The William Hill futures market has KansasDuke and Gonzaga at +800, or 8-to-1, to be crowned national champion. Then there is Dayton, a mid-majorat +900.

Bogdanovich said it’s a crazy year because the field has never been this wide open. 

“At this point of the year they are maybe eight to 10 teams that maybe can win it,” said Bogdanovich. “This year, I think there (are) 20 to 22.”

“The only blue blood that is stepping up right now is Kansas. They look like they’re the team to beat right now.” 

He noted that the mid-majors such as Wichita State (+7500), Dayton, and San Diego State (+1500) have all been bet down from higher numbers.

“They are played out, no sense jumping in now. You missed all the good numbers,” said Bogdanovich.

“… I would say there is more value in the blue bloods right now than the long shots.” 

March Madness Betting Preview: Underdog Mania As Top Teams Keep Falling

For the second straight weekend, NJ sportsbooks and dog bettors enjoyed victory, as the preview to the March Madness was a rousing success.

The thrill is in the air as the big show inches closer.

Underdogs are Wonderdogs, top teams are falling and college basketball oozes March Madness anticipation.

For the second straight weekend, sportsbooks and dog bettors enjoyed the victory, as the preview to the Big Dance was a rousing success.

Half the nation’s top 10 teams again lost, creating an underdog mania two weeks before the championship tournament starts. Even the favorites have reasonable title-winning March Madness betting odds because no team looks prohibitive.

Futures betting at NJ sportsbooks

Futures bettors will keenly eye revised boards as Kansas, at 6-1, joined Baylor, Gonzaga and Duke, all 8-1-12-1 at most NJ sportsbooks, as the picks to win it all.

Can these bets be lodged with confidence? Bettors may take a shot at some dogs.

Brigham Young will see some play after throttling second-ranked Gonzaga by 13 points last weekend. BYU remains under the radar, but for how long?

It is stashed in the 55-60-1 area at books, such as:

Futures, of course, are only one realm of the betting panorama.

Serious players eye the Ohio Valley, Patriot League and West Coast conference tournaments this week.

Bettors en masse view major conference tournaments one week later and then a March Madness lineup that is not to miss. It will be here before you know it.

  • Selection Sunday —March 15
  • First Four — Tuesday, March 17, and Wednesday, March 18
  • NCAA Tournament Round 1 — Thursday, March 19, and Friday, March 20
  • NCAA Tournament Round 2 — Saturday, March 21, and Sunday, March 22
  • Sweet 16 — Thursday, March 26, and Friday, March 27
  • Elite 8 — Saturday, March 28, and Sunday, March 29
  • Final Four — Saturday, April 4
  • 2020 NCAA Championship game — Monday, April 6

Enlivened by uncertainty, it’s all here. Coming to a sportsbook near you. Or the NJ sports betting app in your hand.

This is the richly exciting, highly anticipated college basketball homestretch.

William Hill sees an even playing field as March Madness closes in

Competitive balance and big efforts from underdogs have been music to the ears of Nick Bogdanovich, the director of trading for William Hill US. The company has a strong online presence in New Jersey.

“It’s been a revolving door since November,” he told NJ Gambling Sites.

“Anyone can get beat this year. It’s great for the fans and it’s great for the books. I’m excited about what’s coming now.  The conference tournaments get hot and heavy for two weeks and then we have the championship tournament, so it’s going to be a big four-week run.”

The excitement from the regular season carries into the conference tournaments, which become a separate entity. Winners of those tournaments advance into the post-season, but, as history suggests, there’s no guarantee these teams advance from the first weekend of the Big Dance.

“The end of February was great for us,” Bogdanovich said.  “Every time you say upset around a bookmaker, that is something that is welcome news.”

Welcome, with a capital W this time.

The mighty teams fell and parlay cards went with them. Baylor, the top team in the country two weeks back, lost on successive Saturdays to Kansas (understandable) and TCU (a 13-loss team, puzzling).

San Diego State eyed a morally-uplifting unbeaten season before UNLV surprised them last weekend. The Aztecs will nonetheless gain a high post-season seed.

Maryland lost to Ohio State and Michigan State on successive weekends. The setback to Michigan State came at home after a victory against the same team earlier this month, on the road. So much for the home-court edge.

Duke lost to Virginia this past weekend and finished February on a 1-3 tailspin. Does that look like the team books listed as fourth likely to win the NCAA championship just last week?

Florida State reached the six spot before suffering a heartbreaking setback to Clemson. How heartbreaking.

The Seminoles gained the lead with eight seconds left, only to see a buzzer-beating layup, literally hang on the rim, taunting bettors with a half-in, half-out look, before driving through the hoop.

That moment is a defining portrait of March Madness. And it happened in February.

So tenuous is life in the NCAA top 10 that Creighton was escorted into the ratings Sunday morning because of Saturday’s upsets. Then they were unceremoniously bounced out hours later by St. Johns. By a 20-point margin. From a team that entered 14-14.

What parity, perhaps more than any college basketball season in recent memory.

One point to keep in mind at championship tournament time: Unlike this past couple of weeks, the home court will not come into play. March Madness games are predominantly at neutral sites.

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Barking dogs at SugarHouse Sportsbook NJ

We’ve seen players jump for joy after a big hit. What is the bookmakers’ equivalent? Plunging favorites.

Here is the betting breakdown from SugarHouse for the first upset weekend:

  • Gonzaga received 80% of tickets to cover and win outright but lost to BYU.
  • Baylor received 75% of tickets to cover and win outright, yet was dropped by Kansas.
  • San Diego State received 90% of tickets to cover and win outright. The Aztecs were chalk, chalk, chalk until UNLV erased them.

Not only did books prevail in their risky one-way action, but these tickets were part of many parlays that never were cashed.

Who celebrated with the books? Bettors savvy enough to take the dogs with points and on the moneyline. They were onto something.

SugarHouse officials told us that Gonzaga improved to 7-1 from 8-1 because of the Baylor loss, most likely due to the fact it will still be the top seed in its bracket.

Kansas was clearly the big change of the last two weekends, being the only unscathed major powers not to go down.  That justified its No. 1 billing, but even so, Kansas escaped with a 4-point win against Kansas State on Saturday.

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NJ sports betting fan turns $5 into $12,000 at DraftKings

Not all the college basketball betting world involved the top-ranked teams.

One bettor had a hunch on several games that did not involve the big names. The uncanny ticket showed a strong knowledge of game totals. This bettor had a hunch without “over” playing the hand.

The user turned a $5 wager into a $12,281.51 payout on a recent 12-leg parlay. All legs were over the total points in college basketball games. The ticket odds were +245,500 — what a win.

Five bucks? Some coffee is more expensive. Here’s a look at the box score:

  • North Dakota vs. Omaha over 153
  • Evansville vs. Northern Iowa over 136
  • Indiana State vs. Southern Illinois over 125.5
  • Arkansas State vs. LA-Lafayette over 150.5
  • Georgetown vs. Marquette over 151
  • Southeastern Louisiana vs. McNeese State over 150
  • Northwestern State vs. Stephen F. Austin over 147.5
  • Sam Houston State vs. Abilene Christian over 140.5
  • Nicholls State vs. Houston Baptist over 162.5
  • Tennessee vs. Arkansas over 135.5
  • Texas A&M-CC vs. New Orleans over 136.5
  • Incarnate Word vs. Lamar over 133.5

Parlay cards indicate that bettors gain an increasing knack of leveraging patterns (over/unders, spreads or moneylines) with a couple of key hunches to make strong collections.