March Madness 2023: Betting preview & all you need to know

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March Madness 2023: Let the fun begin!

March Madness is officially here. Cinderella stories, buzzer-beaters, and 10-leg parlays being ruined by a #3 seed choking in shocking fashion (I’m over it, I swear) all await fans of the country’s most exciting basketball tournament. In case you’re new to March Madness or perhaps are looking to bet on it for the first time, consider this your ultimate guide.

When does March Madness start?

The tournament officially kicks off on March 14th. It has been a yearly occurrence since 1939, while the women’s bracket was introduced in 1982.

What is the format for March Madness?

After a lengthy selection process, a 68-team field will be given the honor of playing in the NCAA Tournament. 32 automatic qualifying spots are given to conference winners, while the remaining 36 are given to teams considered most deserving by the NCAA Selection Committee.

After that, the ’First Four’ will see the four lowest-seeded teams square off, as well as the lowest-seeded automatic qualifiers. This process will give us four winners (2 automatically seeded and two selected) for a grand total of 64 teams who will then be placed into the infamous bracket.

The bracket splits the 64-seeded teams into regions to make things a little easier to understand and will pitch the highest-seeded teams against the lowest, which is why a strong run-in to the tournament is so important.

The opening two rounds of March Madness will take place between March 16th & March 19th.

From there the semifinals (known as the Sweet 16) take place as teams fight for a spot in the ’Elite Eight’, which is the best of the best from each region.

Winners of the Elite Eight games will advance to the ’Final Four’, which will be held on April 1st at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

NRG Stadium will then play host to the NCAA Championship Game, which will see the two remaining teams lock horns after a grueling tournament in a bid to be crowned National Champions.

There is no playoff-series structure here as we see in professional sports. It’s one game per round, which is what makes the NCAA Tournament so special. It’s one game comprised of two periods. This format leads us to so many upsets, cinderella stories, and memorable buzzer-beaters that only add to the magic of the NCAA Tournament.

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March Madness odds: Houston leads the way as the Boilermakers fall

Gonzaga +1800

March Madness odds: Is it time to back Bama?

Nobody has been able to surpass Houston as the favorite to win the NCAA Tournament, but the Crimson Tide have definitely closed the gap. They are now in tied-second with Kansas as the hype around this young team continues to build. Bama did actually beat Houston back in December, which shows just how good this team can be. But beyond the likes of Brandon Miller, there is a sense of inexperience at a tournament of this magnitude that could really come into play in closer contests. With that said, this could still be the cheapest we see Alabama if they start the tournament hot.

Texas is another team that has been making some noise recently, jumping from 18/1 to 14/1. The Longhorns shockingly defeated Kansas for the Big 12 tournament title this past weekend. There is some real reason to buy into Rodney Terry, who is now 19-7 since replacing Chris Beard. The Longhorns are bound to be feeling confident coming into the tournament having arguably upset the best team in the tournament and +1400 is still a good price.

Purdue is an interesting team to note. They were very much the darlings of the AP poll throughout the opening portion of the season…and then conference play started along with the dreaded slump. Future NBA star, Zach Edey, has put the team on his back to at least limit the damage, but he’s going to need some help if the Boilermakers have a hope of winning the championship.

March madness
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MARCH 9: A March Madness sign displayed on I-465 interstate before the 2021 NCAA Men’s Final Four as seen on March 9, 2021 in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire)

A $50 bet now on Alabama to win the NCAA Tournament would net you over a $450 return, giving bettors some value.

March Madness: Best betting promo

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Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire