Betting on March Madness in New York

Besides the Super Bowl, college basketball’s March Madness is the largest gambling event of the year. No other tournament in all of sports can match the level of excitement and hysteria that March Madness invokes.

It’s estimated that 10 billion dollars are wagered on the tournament every year in the United States. When it comes to March, it seems as if everyone and their mother has money down on the tournament.

One unique feature about March Madness is that there are two very different ways to gamble on the tournament, though both are very popular; the first is wagering on individual games or doing any sort of traditional bet as you would on any other sporting event.

The second gambling method is to fill out a projected bracket and attempt to earn prizes based on how similar your bracket turns out compared to reality. While this may seem easy in theory, the wild nature of the tournament means that it’s difficult to predict.

To win while gambling on March Madness you need to find an edge and that can take different forms for different people. Whether that means crunching the numbers, watching copious amounts of film, or identifying trends that no one else has found, you must find a way to get an edge.

How can I bet on March Madness in New York?

Betting on March Madness in New York can be done at any of the licensed brick-and-mortar sports gambling locations across the state. That being said, for many, it may be easier to gamble online in a neighboring state that allows online sports gambling.

Eventually, online sports gambling will be legalized in the state of New York and it will make for an easier gambling experience on March Madness. For when that happens, or if you are making a trip to a state nearby, here are the main online gambling companies:

FanDuel Sportsbook app

FanDuel Sportsbook is famous for their daily fantasy sports offerings but they have different contests beyond that that are popular with gamblers. They have expanded their wagering services to include almost all sports and are one of the most popular sportsbooks across the country.

Despite not being able to offer online gambling in the state, FanDuel does have its headquarters in New York. They have won many awards for the success of their app and it’s generally thought of as a fan-favorite among gamblers.

Whether you are looking for a single day contest on March Madness or to place some parlays, FanDuel has options for you.

Upon legalization, expect FanDuel to have a large presence in the state of New York as it looks to capture the huge untapped market that exists. The millions and millions of people who have gone through the FanDuel experience in other states will be ready to jump on the ship once it’s legalized.

DraftKings Sportsbook app

DraftKings is similar to FanDuel in that it offers daily fantasy sports challenges as well as has now opened a sportsbook. DraftKings was the first company to enter the online mobile betting market in neighboring New Jersey and upon full legalization in New York, it expects to do the same.

The company was founded in Boston, Massachusetts but now is offered in many different states across the country where online gambling is legalized, including New Jersey and New Hampshire, and many others.

In 2020, Michael Jordan became an investor in the company and assumed a board position.

DraftKings Sportsbook is famous for its odds boosts on certain selections that sports gamblers love to take advantage of. The way these work is that DraftKings will choose certain bets to give heavily boosted odds to, making them very attractive to gamblers. While these may seem too good to be true, they often have a cap on the bet size which is usually around $50 to $100.

Still, these odds boosts are a great way for novice gamblers to get introduced to the market with some chances for large returns.

BetMGM Sportsbook app

MGM is one of the largest media companies in the world and its gambling division has been making moves in the sports gambling space. The company has a long history of successful ventures across many different industries and now that it is jumping into sports gambling, the results are sure to be the same.

BetMGM Sportsbook currently offers mobile gambling in ten different states and offers not only sports betting, but also poker and online horse racing.

The MGM brand carries prestige and has been known as a symbol of luxury and, thus, gamblers may opt to choose it over the other daily fantasy offerings. The other companies on this list have faced some lawsuits in recent years and thus the MGM brand may evoke trust.

Besides, gamblers at MGM can earn points which can be exchanged for rewards at hotels and other MGM businesses. This could be an attractive offer for gamblers who want to work towards earning points that can be cashed in for good rewards.

March Madness odds

Odds for March Madness work the same as in many other sports. This means that in the US, most often the odds are displayed in the “American Odds” format. While it may take a second to learn, the system is quite easy to grasp and will serve you well at sportsbooks across the nation.

The team that is deemed to be the favorite is given odds that have a minus sign (-) in front of them. This number describes how much money needs to be gambled on that option to win $100. For example, if Kentucky was given odds of -250 for one of their March Madness games you would need to wager $250 on them to be returned $100, which would result in a total of $350.

For the underdog, their odds will be given with a plus sign (+) in front of their name. That number represents how much will be returned for a wager of $100. For example, if Michigan has odds of +150 for one of their March Madness games, a winning wager of $100 would return the original wager as well as the $150 in winnings for a total of $250.

When gambling on March Madness it’s important to do your due diligence and shop around for the best possible odds. Different sportsbooks can often have slightly different odds and when you decide to make a wager you want to make sure that you are getting the best possible returns.

For example, if you want to make a wager on a March Madness game and you’re looking to bet on Duke to win its game, one sportsbook might have its moneyline odds set at +125 while another may have it at +140. Making sure that you secure the best odds possible when making a bet is key to making sure that you can turn a profit while you are gambling on sports.

NCAA Tournament lines

March Madness lines are released early as futures can often come out shortly after the previous year’s title games. The odds for the first-round games are often released shortly after Selection Sunday which makes it a big day for gamblers.

However, these first editions of the lines can often change as gamblers rush to the window to place their bets. As oddsmakers attempt to cover up their liabilities, they are going to change the odds that are available to gamblers on every contest.

As a gambler, attempting to find the perfect time to make your selection to get the best odds is key. If you feel like your selection is a popular one among gamblers it may be smart to bet on it early. On the other hand, if your selection will be going against a popular option it may be smarter to wait for the odds to swing in your favor.

Vegas is an especially popular place to gamble for March Madness and it attracts a large number of people every year. Because of this, the odds might be slightly different in Vegas compared to in other places, or those with online sportsbooks. This is just another reason why it’s important to shop around and make sure that you can find the best odds. Even if you’re in Las Vegas it can be better to bet online instead of at the physical sportsbook.

What kind of bets can you make on March Madness?

When gambling on March Madness there are many different bet types you can make. The classic bets are still available of course. The moneyline is a bet on a specific team to win, the spread is an equalizer that oddsmakers apply to even out the bets. A spread of eight would mean that that team would need to win by at least that many points. The total is the oddsmakers’ predicted combined score from the two teams, and it can be bet on to go over or under that number.

Also, some other bet types are popular during March Madness:

Live betting

Live betting is especially popular during March Madness as the game’s flow can turn in an instant. Online and mobile gambling is usually thought of as the best way to make live bets as they allow for a speed that cannot be beaten.

For example, if UCLA was a pre-game favorite of -2.5 but have fallen behind early and now are given a spread of +3, gamblers love to hop on and hope that the talented teams can turn it around.

The ease of tapping a few buttons on your electronic device means that you have a better chance of taking advantage of the live betting feature offered by oddsmakers.


Futures are a popular option among March Madness investors as they attempt to predict the future and guess which team will be hosting the trophy when it’s all over.

Betting powerhouse teams like Duke early, when they have a strong outlook for next season, can result in high odds and big returns if the bet cashes.

Futures for the title can open very far in advance, often shortly following the previous season’s championship game. Besides making futures bets on the title winner, other popular options include choosing regional winners or teams to make the Final Four.

Player/game props

Player and game props are another option that gamblers flock to windows to bet every March. Some examples of these types of bets might include predicting whether a team’s total will go over or under a posted number or gambling on the three-pointers made by a certain player.

These continue to be popular and since the markets are smaller, the lines are often less sharp, resulting in a slightly easier time for gamblers.

Why bet March Madness online

For people from New York, gambling on March Madness online may be the smarter option than traveling to a physical sportsbook location.

While online sports gambling is not yet legal in the state, an account can be opened anywhere at any time and this convenience means that it’s easy to get started. In addition to being able to open your account while in a non-legalized state, you can also manage all your data and do everything except for actually placing a wager.

In addition, if you’re looking to get the best odds possible, betting March Madness online offers the unmatched ability to cross-check sportsbooks. There’s no need to physically travel to different sportsbooks to check the odds, instead just move from app to app to check the odds.

Using your phone and tablet also offer other benefits, such as the ability to skip the line and not have to deal with the human aspect of going to the window. You don’t need to travel to the sportsbook at all; wagering from home allows you all the benefits of the sportsbook with none of the downsides.

Last but not least, live betting online is much easier to do than in person. At a physical sportsbook, you might miss your opportunity as it’s a much longer process, but with a mobile device, there is none of that pain.

Picking brackets vs. betting on March Madness

As mentioned above, there are many different ways to bet on March Madness. To understand it best we can break it down into three categories:

Free and paid brackets and pools

Even non-gamblers will fill out a bracket for March Madness and this is a very popular way to get in on the action. These sometimes have an entry fee, which is then collected and redistributed to the winner, and are popular among everyone from seasoned veterans to rookies to the game.

Game by game betting

While March Madness is one of the most exciting tournaments in the world, at the heart of it remains single games. These single games are popular among sports gamblers and as the tournament gets to the later stages they become increasingly closely contested. The upsets that happen in March Madness make for the possibility of great returns on moneyline bets.


The last bet types on this list include futures and props. These types of bets are not as popular as the ones listed above, but still offer opportunities to make money and add a little extra fun to watching the games. These can be bet on in addition to single games or making a bracket.

March Madness brackets for money

March Madness brackets generally come in two different types: free and paid. However, just because you enter a free bracket does not mean that there can’t be the possibility of a monetary reward on the other side.

Many different companies and organizations have put on bracket contests with large possible rewards. Warren Buffet offered any employee that could get a perfect bracket 1 million dollars a year for life. However, it’s very hard to get a perfect bracket.

In fact, because of the endless possibilities and the volatile nature of the tournament, it’s extremely difficult to have a strong bracket. Statisticians have put the odds of getting a perfect bracket at around 1 in 120 billion.

To fill out a bracket is quite easy and can be found at any of the major sports websites on the internet. Besides that, many offices offer different pools that can be played in to win prizes.

To help you fill out your first bracket, here are five tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to choose an upset
  • Pick with your head, not your heart
  • One high-seeded team usually goes down in the first round
  • You’re going to get some wrong so don’t be too hard on yourself
  • Don’t let outside influences affect your judgment

Are brackets better than betting on March Madness?

If brackets or single-game betting work better for you, stick with them. If you’re looking to move away from March Madness bracket betting into the world of single-game gambling, you can use some predictions from your bracket to inform your decisions. For example, if you have a team going far in your bracket, you may want to bet their moneyline.

Syracuse University is the only school to ever win March Madness in New York in 2003. They were led by a young Carmelo Anthony who has gone on to enjoy a very successful career.

NCAA Tournament betting tips

Because the tournament is so unpredictable, here are a few March Madness betting tips that should help out:

1. How to read line movement?

A heavy line shift close to game time can often signal large amounts of professional money coming in on one side and be a good indicator that it’s a strong play. Of course, this rule should not be followed blindly, but it’s something to take into consideration.

2. Which upset picks offer good value?

The 12-seed over the five-seed is a popular upset pick that historically has done well for gamblers. The odds are usually strong enough that it’s worth it and the teams are sometimes misplaced and not that far apart in skill level. Another one to look out for is 15 seeds over two seeds.

3. Know that the champions are usually a high seed

While there may be many upsets along the way, at the end of the day, the champion is still usually a high seed and you should keep that in mind when making futures bets.

March Madness FAQ

As the name suggests, March Madness starts in March every year. However, one thing people may not know is that the tournament continues and ends in April despite its name.

In total, not including the first four qualification games, there are 63 games played in the March Madness tournament. That means to get a perfect bracket you will need to be right 63 times in a row.

Out of all the tournaments ever played, the lowest champion has been an eight-seed. That was the 1985 Villanova Wildcats. This is why we advise picking a high seed for the championship despite the vast number of upsets.

One Shining Moment is the official song of March Madness and it was originally written by David Barrett. Despite him being the one to write the song, many others have performed it since for the tournament.

While there was no March Madness in 2020 due to COVID-19, in 2019 there was a tournament. Virginia was the team that won it all after being the victim of a historic upset the year before. They beat Texas Tech in the finals.