Five Tips For First-Timers Betting On March Madness

Written By Aleeyah Jadavji on March 1, 2023
What newbies need to know about betting on March Madness

With the Super Bowl all wrapped up, the next big sporting event is March Madness. This will be the first chance for online sports bettors in Maryland to wager on the annual NCAA basketball tournament.

Whether wagering online or at a retail sportsbook, we share five tips for beginners to get the most out of betting on March Madness this year.

Where to place March Madness bets in Maryland

Maryland sports betting became legal in 2021, with retail venues first accepting bets in December 2021. Online sports betting launched in November 2022.

Here is a list of current retail sportsbooks for Maryland bettors:

For those looking to place bets from the comfort of their homes, the following online sportsbooks are available:

Tip No. 1: March Madness bracket betting

The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament runs March 14 through April 3. The first four games begin in Dayton, OH, and the Final Four will be held in Houston on April 1. The final championship game is April 3. 

March Madness is a single-elimination bracket. If a team loses a game, they are eliminated from the tournament.

A fun way to get in on the action is to fill out a bracket and bet that yours will go the distance. In each round, you will pick which team you think will win. Depending on where you place your bets and how many people enter, you will be awarded a percentage of the prize pool if your bracket holds up a long way into the tournament.

Fun fact: The odds of setting a perfect bracket are 1 in 9.22 quintillion.

Tip No. 2: Betting on single games

Another way to bet on March Madness is to take it game by game. There are several good options.

The most common is the moneyline. Pick which team will win at the odds set by the sportsbook of your choosing.

A point spread is the projected gap in scoring between two teams. The favorite in this format must win by more than the spread to “cover.” A winning bet in favor of the underdog means that team must win outright, or lose by an amount of points under the spread.

Another popular single-game bet is over/under. Books will set a line on total scoring of both teams combined and bettors can bet on whether it will go over or under that amount. 

Tip No. 3: NCAA Tournament winner

Futures bets are quite simple. Pick a team to win the whole tournament, and if you choose correctly, there could be a big return.

Futures betting odds are set based on predictions calculated in various ways. Houston is currently the favorite, sitting at +650 odds, while the biggest underdog is Providence at -8,500. Lines can change at any time.

Tip No. 4: Parlay betting

Do you think you have multiple sharp bets you want to place? Consider bundling them into a parlay on one betting slip. All bets you choose to make must win, and odds are also multiplied

This is not limited to just one game or even one tournament. You can also combine a March Madness bet with a future hockey bet. It’s up to you!

Tip No. 5: Prop bets

A proposition bet is one you can make on the occurrence or nonoccurrence of something relating to a player or a team.

Some examples of prop bets are:

  • How many minutes will a certain player play?
  • How many assists or points will a player have?
  • Pit two players against each other and select who will score more points
  • Will a game go into overtime?
  • Which team will make more three-point shots?

All of these bets, and more, can be made as a single wager or also combined into a parlay. 

Check out PlayMaryland’s 10-Step Beginner’s Guide to Sports Betting Online for more tips.

PlayMaryland also has Live Sportsbook Odds available at any time across all sports, so be sure to bookmark the link.

And don’t forget about the women. There’s also a Women’s March Madness tournament that runs from March 15 through April 2.

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Aleeyah Jadavji

Aleeyah hails from Toronto, Ontario in Canada and has been working predominantly in the poker industry since 2015. From writing articles to interviewing big winners and live reporting on poker's biggest stages, she's seen it all. Aleeyah loves to cook and create content to showcase her passion for food and travel. She now reports on all facets of the growing U.S. gambling industry.

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