💸 March Madness Kickoff

• 9 min read
💸 March Madness Kickoff

We've been hyping it for a while now, and it's finally here.  March Madness baby.  With the TX Southern & Mt St Mary's kickoff game tomorrow at 5:10pm EST, the tournament will be underway.  

Dick Vitale is ready.

You should have it already, but here is the finalized bracket.    

Some notes:

The #1 Seeds:

Gonzaga, Michigan, Baylor and Illinois are the #1 seeds this year.  By the way, if you put down on Illinois to take the Big Ten Tournament like we suggested last week, you came up.  Congratulations.

Here are the odds for the #1's taking down the tournament.

"He's on Fire":

These are the teams on a heater - keep an eye out for them in the tournament.  

  1. Alabama has won 9 of its last 10 games on its way to snagging the #2 seed (and winning the SEC Championship).
  2. Texas won their last 6 games, winning the Big 12 tournament.
  3. Houston (24-3) have won seven in a row and nine of their last 10, claiming the American Athletic Conference Tournament title.
  4. San Diego State has won 14 consecutive games and haven't lost since mid-January.
  5. Georgia Tech won their last nine games on the way to the ACC Tournament title.
  6. Loyola-Chicago won 17 of its last 18.
  7. Liberty have won 12 consecutive games to dominate the Atlantic Sun.

Sleeper Teams:

  1. North Carolina (#8): They have a 10.7 rebounding advantage over opponents.  If they can control their turnovers, they may make waves in the tournament (despite their inconsistent performances this year).
  2. Oklahoma State (#4): They knocked off Baylor in the Big 12 semifinals last week.
  3. Ohio (#13): They may become this year's cinderella.  They steamrolled through the MAC tournament and will look to guard Jason Preston to lead a scoring attack (80.9 pts per game) that is formidable.
  4. Tennessee (#5): They displayed a big win over Florida and a close loss to Alabama in the SEC tournament semifinals.  Whether John Fulkerson is ready to go or not will be key to determining whether you should bet behind these guys.
  5. Florida State (#4): FSU has been inconsistent, but led the league in scoring (78.9 ppg) and three-point percentage (39%), and held teams to a league best 39.8% from the field.  That is a recipe that can make for a run.

Tournament Win Odds:

Here are the dates to watch (in EST):

  • First Four — Thursday, March 18 (4 p.m.)
  • First round — Friday, March 19 (12 p.m.) and Saturday, March 20 (12 p.m.)
  • Second round — Sunday, March 21 (12 p.m.) and Monday, March 22 (12 p.m.)
  • Sweet 16 — Saturday, March 27 (2 p.m.) and Sunday, March 28 (1 p.m.)
  • Elite Eight — Monday, March 29 (7 p.m.) and Tuesday, March 30 (6 p.m.)
  • Final Four — Saturday, April 3 (5 p.m.)
  • NCAA championship game — Monday, April 5 (9 p.m.)

We'll continue to monitor and give you updates on betting odds as we get them.

By the way, do you want to find out where the sharp money is laying on each of these NCAA games?  Subscribe to premium at https://www.bettorsecrets.com/subscribe/.  Only $10 a month (usually a $200 A MONTH value).  You can't get this data anywhere else for less.

Now let's see where the bets are laying today.

Find out where the sharp money is laying.


Pulled from sportsinsights.com


Pulled from sportsinsights.com


Pulled from sportsinsights.com

How to look at this:

  1. This shows you where the bets (#) and the amount of money ($) are laying down across different bets.
  2. The interesting stuff is when the number of tickets and the amount of money differs.  

Do with it what you will!

Because the tournament is such a big part of sports betting lore, we're going to dive right into picks across the landscape.  Lines for additional leagues will follow.

Pulled from Bovada.lv and sportsinsights.com

March Madness Picks:

We have our thoughts about the NCAA tournament participants, but we thought we'd loop in a variety of views.  Here is a spattering of picks from across the landscape to give you an idea of where you should lay your cold hard cash.

From CBS Sports:

Gary Parrish, College basketball insider

Predicted Champion: Gonzaga

The Reasoning: Gonzaga is No. 1 in offensive efficiency, No. 10 in defensive efficiency, and No. 4 in tempo.  They also have two future NBA Draft lottery picks in Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert.

Matt Norlander, Senior college basketball writer

Predicted Champion: Illinois

The Reasoning: Illinois is the best combination of offensive acumen and defensive fortitude (according to Matt).

Jerry Palm, Bracketology expert

Predicted Champion: Gonzaga

The Reasoning: Mark Few has the best team he's had in Spokane and they are primed for a run to the title.

Kyle Boone, College basketball writer

Predicted Champion: Gonzaga

The Reasoning: Two lottery pick talents in Corey Kispert and Jalen Suggs. A hyper-efficient bucket in Drew Timme. Balance, and great depth, at every position. They have it all.

David Cobb, College basketball writer

Predicted Champion: Alabama

The Reasoning: Alabama captured the SEC Tournament crown while shooting just 29.7% from 3-point range in their last two games of the event. So what happens if Alabama starts shooting better than 35% from beyond the arc? It could happen, and if it does, this squad's unique offensive style could carry it to history.

Chip Patterson, College basketball writer

Predicted Champion: Alabama

The Reasoning: The Crimson Tide play at a relentless pace, shoot a ton of threes and defend at an elite level.

Dennis Dodd, Senior writer

Predicted Champion: Gonzaga

The Reasoning: They've got everything -- backcourt, experience, coaching. And 26-0 isn't bad either. It looks like the Zags won't face much push back until the West Regional final against Iowa.

Tim Doyle, CBS Sports HQ analyst

Predicted Champion: Iowa

The Reasoning: The Hawkeyes boast the National Player of the Year in Luka Garza and they will be "thrilled" to get out of the gauntlet that is the Big Ten Conference.

From the Washington Post:

Final Four Predictions:

Barry Svrluga: Gonzaga, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State

Jerry Brewer: Gonzaga, Florida State, Houston, Baylor

Gene Wang: Gonzaga, Baylor, Florida State, Oklahoma State

Chuck Culpepper: Gonzaga, Illinois, Texas Tech, Florida State

Emily Giambalvo: Gonzaga, Illinois, Florida State, Ohio State

Neil Greenberg: Iowa, Colorado, Ohio State, Illinois

Kareem Copeland: Gonzaga, Illinois, Florida State, Ohio State

From ESPN:

Jay Bilas, ESPN: Gonzaga, Alabama, Baylor, Illinois (Gonzaga over Illinois in the final)

Dick Vitale, ESPN: Gonzaga, Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois (Gonzaga wins title)

Rece Davis, ESPN: Gonzaga, Texas, Baylor, Illinois (Gonzaga wins title)

Seth Greenberg, ESPN: Gonzaga, Texas, Baylor, Illinois (Baylor wins title)

From Sports Illustrated:

Pat Forde, Sports Illustrated: Gonzaga, Alabama, Baylor, Illinois (Gonzaga over Illinois in the final)

From The Athletic:

Dana O’Neil, the Athletic: Gonzaga, Alabama, Baylor, West Virginia (Gonzaga over Baylor in the final)

Seth Davis, the Athletic/CBS Sports: Gonzaga, Alabama, Baylor, Illinois (Gonzaga over Illinois in the final)

From Action Network:

Sean Koerner: Iowa, Michigan, Baylor, Houston

The most interesting picks here are with Iowa and Houston.  Iowa toppling undefeated Gonzaga would be interesting.  Sean's reasoning?

Iowa would be the first team to give Gonzaga a run for its money and would only be about a six-point underdog here. A whopping 87% of users take Gonzaga in this matchup, which provides us with an excellent Leverage opportunity in Iowa.

Illinois would be 3- to 4-point favorites in this hypothetical matchup. As of Tuesday, 81% of users are taking the Illini here, which is why Houston offers a juicy +11% Leverage score to reach the Final Four. I’m giving Houston a 25% chance to reach the Final Four, which happens to be right in line with the betting market, yet only 14% of brackets are willing to take that leap.

Hot Takes 🔥

These are the hot takes that can seem to come out of left field.  Right or wrong?  Time will tell.  But one thing is for sure - these are spicy:

Gonzaga is a power house.  They are undefeated, and as you saw above, many talking heads are choosing them to go all the way.

But if you include them as the winner in your bracket, you'll have a hard time differentiating yourself from other brackets (if participating in an office pool or otherwise).  

You know upsets are going to happen in the tournament.  The question is, where are they going to pop up?  

Well, we've got one for you.  We think Alabama has a good shot at spoiling the party for Gonzaga.

The Crimson Tide rank second overall in adjusted defensive efficiency, plus they’re Top 10 in defending the three-pointer and holding opponents to just 28.8 percent from deep.

Gonzaga is anchored by lottery pick talents Corey Kispert and Jalen Suggs, and Alabama will need to stymy them in order to pull out a win.  But Alabama also have guards of their own that can attack from everywhere.  

Gonzaga meanwhile is 8th in adjusted defensive efficiency.  If this is a shootout, I may give the edge to Gonzaga.  But I have a feeling that Alabama will be able to stop enough of Gonzaga's offense to pull out the win.

Alabama is also listed at 16 to 1 to win out, so they will give you solid value.

Before we dig into the other lines, we want to shout out Sport Techie as the sponsor of this week's letter.  We wrote an article for them last week on the technological changes that are coming along with sports betting legalization.  Check it out here: https://www.sporttechie.com/sports-betting-gambling-challenges-once-legalized  

At Bettor Secrets, we've got you covered with sports betting tips and insights. But for the technology behind the industry, SportTechie has you covered.

Through immersive storytelling and industry-leading events, SportTechie connects you to the innovators and power brokers who are shaping the future of sports technology.

Subscribe to their free daily newsletter here.

For those interested in other lines, we have 'em below:

Prime Cut - Highlighted Lines

NBA: (lines for Mar. 17 '21)

Lines reposted from reddit

UEFA Champions League:

We pulled these mid-game.  Sorry guys, we'll have these more up to date going forward.

Pulled from Bovada.lv and sportsinsights.com


Pulled from Bovada.lv and sportsinsights.com

UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Holland

PGA Tour - The Honda Classic

Pulled from Bovada.lv and sportsinsights.com

There are many more props out there (far too many for us to include them all here), so be sure to look them up in your sportsbook of choice if you have the itch.


Counter Strike: Global Offensive

You can check out the streams for these here: https://www.twitch.tv/directory/game/Counter-Strike%3A Global Offensive

Call of Duty League:

That's just a taste.  You can see so many more matches out there at your local sportsbook.  Want to see more?  Write us at michael@bettorsecrets.com.

No degens or WOAT stories this week - we'll have plenty more next week.  And you should have plenty to keep you busy.  Good luck out there!

Where to Place Bets:

United States:

Physical Sportsbooks Allowed: AK, DE, IL, MI, MT, NM, NY, NC

Full Mobile Betting Allowed: CO, IN, NH, NJ, OR, PA, RI, WV: Mobile Betting Allowed

Limited Mobile Betting Allowed:  IA (need to register in person), NV (need to register in person), MS (only permitted within casino)

Legalized, but on hold: TN, VA, WA, DC, MD, OH, SD, LA


← 💸 March Madness Sweet 16
💸 March Madness: Selection Sunday →

Subscribe to Bettor Secrets

Subscribe to the newsletter and unlock access to member-only content.

You've successfully subscribed to Bettor Secrets
Welcome! You are now a Bettor Secrets subscriber.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! You are now a paying member and have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.