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March Madness Bracketology: Tips, Betting Trends and Strategies

The opening odds for March Madness tell us that UConn (+400), Houston (+600), and Purdue (+700) are the favorites as you fill out your NCAA Tournament bracket. We’re here to win our bracket pools, and you are going to need to know more than the favorites to make this happen.


March Madness Bracketology: Tips, Betting Trends and Strategies
Jordan Hawkins #24 of the UConn Huskies/Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images/AFP

Here’s what you need to know when making your NCAAB predictions.


Bracket Risk Should Correlate With Size of Your Bracket Pool

The first thing you need to have is an awareness of your bracket pool. If you are in an office pool with 20 co-workers, picking a bunch of upsets in the College Basketball odds is not the move for your bracket.

It is the opposite if you are in a highly competitive pool with thousands of entries. You are going to need to have more than the winner nailed to secure the bag in these pools.

For most people, you are in a relatively small pool of entries with friends, family members or co-workers. Picking one of the No. 1 or No. 2 seeds to win is going to be the move in these smaller pools. Your level of risk with your picks should be relative to the size of your bracket pool.


Advance the 1-2 Seeds

Go ahead and advance the No. 1 seeds to the Sweet 16 in your bracket. There is a betting trend of No. 15 seeds winning games in recent years.

The challenge is trying to pick this crazy upset is going to be challenging. Pick wrong and you eliminate a potential contender in the first round.

Smart money is on advancing all the top two seeds to make the Sweet 16.


Do Conference Tournaments Matter?

I get it. You are amped up after watching so many good conference tournament matchups.

Don’t get carried away by only picking teams that got hot during conference tourney week. Some of these teams will eventually run out of steam in March Madness betting. Others will bounce back after making an early exit.

It’s okay for the conference tournaments to be a factor to consider. Yet, it is only one aspect and should not be overvalued.


Pick a No. 13 Seed (But Not Too Far)

You probably already know to take a No. 12 seed (or two) to advance in your college basketball picks. Now, No. 13 seeds over No. 4 have become the new 12 versus 5 upset. A No. 13 seed has won at least one game in 27 of the last 38 NCAA tournaments, per ESPN.


Advance a Double-Digit Seed to Sweet 16

Okay, here is where you can get a bit creative. According to ESPN, a double-digit seed has advanced to the Sweet 16 in 15 straight tournaments and 36 of 38 tourneys overall.

As obvious by the seedings, the No. 10 to No. 13 seeds may be the sweet spot versus picking a No. 14 or No. 15 to make a deep run.

Make sure your college basketball predictions has at least one double-digit seed punching their ticket to the Sweet 16.


Okay, but What About the Winner?

A lot of people think about crazy upsets as defining March Madness. The reality is the majority of the NCAA Tournament upsets happen on the first two days.

By the time the Final Four arrives, it is mostly going to be full of familiar faces. Sure, teams like Florida Atlantic can make a run. Will you know who that team is for 2024? Probably not.

It is no surprise that picking your bracket champion may be the most important thing you can do. Smart money is to ride with one of the top two seeds. The challenge is your bracket pool is going to be full of the favorite picks as well.

UConn is going to be a popular champion. Other fans may be less reluctant to ride with Purdue with its recent history of upsets. Houston may also have some skeptics given its embarrassing performance versus Iowa State in the Big 12 title game.

You’d be wise to pick one of the top two seeds to win the championship. If you are looking for value among the favorites, ride with either one of the No. 2 seeds, Houston or Purdue to cut down the nets.



Questions Of The Day

How many upsets should you pick in your March Madness bracket?

Upsets are fun to pick, but you should limit the major upsets to the first round of your bracket picks based on past NCAA Tournament history.

Who are most people picking to win the NCAA Tournament?

UConn, the defending champs,is a heavy favorite to win March Madness at +400 odds.

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