Bet on March Madness
As parity expands across college basketball, March Madness has only become more exciting. That’s especially true for sports bettors. Over three weekends and 67 basketball games, anyone can win. And anyone can get sent home.
Here in Pennsylvania there are plenty of ways to get in on March Madness betting, including free March Madness bracket contests. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know below. Jump right to the best March Madness odds boosts & promos here.
Best March Madness Betting Sites 2023
March Madness Odds & Game Lines
Below find March Madness odds at several legal online sportsbooks in PA. Click the “Bet Now” button to register your account and claim your bonus bets or other bonuses. On the futures tab, use the drop-down menu to switch between the odds for making the Final Four and winning the National Championship.
How to Download a Betting App
There are no restrictions for betting on local college basketball teams in Pennsylvania as there are in New Jersey. Every basketball program is available to bet on including Villanova Wildcats odds, Penn St. and Temple.
You don’t have to be a resident of Pennsylvania to place a legal bet in PA but you do need to be within state lines. If you live outside of PA (like in upstate New York for example) you can easily download one of the many betting apps, deposit funds and manage your account from your home. You only need to travel to PA to place your actual bets.
Click any of the links above to start the process. Once you’ve begun the process you’ll see an icon to download the app for either iOS or Android. Once you’ve downloaded, creating a new account for each sports betting app is very simple.
Follow the simple instructions you’ll be prompted with, fill in your information and verify your details. Once your password is set, then all you’ll need to do is log in on your app and you’ll be all set to fund your account and start making bets.
Note: You’ll also need to authorize geolocation tracking to verify that you are in PA while placing real money bets. This is another simple step and only takes seconds to install. You can still download the app and manage your account if you’re out of state but you’ll need to be in PA to place real-money bets.
March Madness brackets
A March Madness bracket lays out the entire tournament from the First Four to the National Champion. The tournament itself is single-elimination and no re-seeding takes place as rounds complete. The teams in the tournament are assigned to four regions:
In each of the regions the teams are seeded from top to bottom, from Nos. 1 to 16. Round one in each region will have eight games, followed by four games per region in round two, and so on.
For bracket contests, the object is to pick the winners of all games in advance. For the opening round, all of the matchup options are right in front of you. It gets much trickier from that point. The rest of the rounds are blank, but you’ll still need to choose who advances from the selections you made in round one and so on. That’s a big difference from single-game betting as you’ll be able to handicap each matchup in advance of tipoff.
Free March Madness Bracket Contests
There are bracket contests that are free to play as well as ones that require an entry fee. Payouts for those contests will vary based on the total number of entries. Smaller contests may be winner-take-all, while those that have many entrants could pay the top few places. DraftKings Sportsbook is known to offer two major free March Madness bracket contests in PA: A Second Chance Bracket Challenge and a Survivor Pool.
You’ll find both listed in the sportsbook lobby under the “CBB” tab. Both are free to play and open to new account sign-ups from across the US.
$30,000 DraftKings Survivor Pool
This free-to-enter contest is a bit different from a normal March Madness bracket contest. Rather than pick the winners of every game in advance, you simply pick a single team to win each day.
If that team wins, you move on in the pool. If your team loses, you’re out. Only catch is you need to pick a different team each day. If you run out of new teams to pick, you’re also out. Last contestants standing split $1 million.
DraftKings also typically offers a free-to-enter $50,000 Bracket Contest. To enter for free and see full details, just create a new account via the link below:
BetMGM $10M Perfect Bracket Challenge
If you feel like you could be the first-person ever to pick an entirely perfect bracket, BetMGM will reward you handsomely this year. Pick all 63 games correctly and you’ll be handed a straight $10 Million.
Thankfully, for those who don’t come near a perfect bracket there’s still a second payout option – $100,000 to whomever picks the most games correctly.
Each game is valued at one point so you’re on equal footing from the first game to the last. The contest is entirely free to enter and open to all BetMGM account holders, new or existing.
Claim your BetMGM bonus and sign-up to play via the link below:
Paid & Second-Chance March Madness Brackets
You can also expect to find second-chance bracket contests that begin with round two or later. Since many brackets are busted early these contests can help keep folks engaged until it’s all wrapped up. DraftKings Sportsbook has a few different options available.
- Free $20k KFC Second Chance Survivor Pool: Those who survive to the title tilt without missing a pick from each round win cash prizes.
- Free $20k Second Chance Bracket: Pick each game with points awarded for correct picks. Top scoring brackets win cash prizes.
Brackets will often go bust due to unforeseen upsets. While the higher seeds are theoretically the better teams, lower-seeded teams that are playing with a lot of momentum can surprise. When filling out your bracket, keep this in mind.
In addition to considering the overall strength of teams, keep an eye out for teams that are entering on a high note and those who have been falling flat. If you can spot some upsets that few others are seeing while the rest of your bracket performs well, you could be in line to make some noise.
March Madness betting
For three weeks every spring, March Madness captures the imagination of the sports world. Exciting finishes, bracket-busters and the sheer number of games back-to-back-to-back-to-back are just a few of the reasons why.
When you add in the sports betting factor, the interest level goes through the roof. Instead of relying on your bracket picks made before the tournament starts, you can manage your budget and betting opportunities from round to round.
For each game in every round, you’ll have a plethora of betting choices to consider. Let’s start with the basic bets you can make on most sports.
Oddsmakers will establish a line for each game; your job is to beat it. For example, Villanova may be favored by 1.5 points over Georgetown. You decide if you like the Wildcats minus the points or the Hoyas plus the points.
If you take the Wildcats, Villanova has to win by at least 2 for you bet to pay off. If you take the Hoyas, they can still lose by 1 and your bet will be a winner.
A moneyline bet is a straight bet in which you’re simply choosing the winner. At online betting sites, such as PointsBet Sportsbook PA, the odds listing might look something like this:
- Villanova -120
- Georgetown +105
A wager on favored Villanova offers less of a potential return in this scenario (you’ll need to bet $120 to win $100), while a bet on Georgetown (you’ll get $105 paid for a $100 bet) could provide more bang for the buck if they pull out the upset.
Oddsmakers will set a benchmark total for each game. Bettors then decide if they like the total points scored to be “over” or “under” that number. Eg.
- Over 130.5 (-110)
- Under 130.5 (-110)
While bracket contests are lots of fun, there are plenty of March Madness fanatics who prefer single-game wagers. That said, there’s no reason you can’t allocate time and resources to both.
Once the brackets are finalized and released, odds for each of the games in round one will be unveiled. After the market has its say by placing some wagers, you may see shifts in the odds and lines.
You don’t need to bet on every game at all, but you certainly won’t be lacking for options either. In addition to the basic single-game wagering opportunities, you’ll find many other ways to bet on March Madness, including:
These are wagers you can place after the game has tipped off. Odds and markets move fast, but in-game betting has evolved into a popular feature at sportsbooks.
Opportunities will vary, but you may see new odds listed for the winner of the game or the team to score more points in the half, for example.
For each of the games, there will also be prop bets listed, which you can typically find by clicking on “More Wagers.” Props can be team or player-based, and there are generally a few prop opportunities to consider for each game.
When is Selection Sunday? How does it work?
Selection Sunday is the day when brackets are finally unveiled. After the conclusion of college basketball’s regular season, there will be 32 conference tournaments:
- American Athletic
- Atlantic 10
- Atlantic Sun
- Big 12
- Big East
- Big Sky
- Big South
- Big Ten
- Big West
- Conference USA
- Horizon League
- Ivy League
- Metro Atlantic Athletic (MAAC)
- Mid-American (MAC)
- Mid-Eastern Athletic (MEAC)
- Missouri Valley
- Mountain West
- Ohio Valley
- Patriot League
- Southwestern Athletic (SWAC)
- Summit League
- Sun Belt
- West Coast
- Western Athletic (WAC)
The winners of each of those tournaments receive an automatic bid for March Madness. The remaining teams, 36 in all, are considered at-large bids and chosen by the NCAA selection committee, which uses a ranking system, known as NET, to determine the bids.
NET stands for the NCAA Evaluation Tool and factors in several different metrics. Of the remaining spots, 28 teams are seeded right away, while the remaining eight play in the First Four contests to determine who will advance to the first round.
The teams are assigned to four regions: East, South, Midwest and West. Each of these has 16 teams that are seeded from one through 16. The winner of each region advances to the Final Four.
March Madness Teams in PA
A total of 13 programs compete at the Division 1 level of college basketball in PA but not all of them will “make the dance.” For National title hopes, Villanova has proven to be PA’s all-time leading program.
Here’s a quick look at a few if Pennsylvania’s stronger NCAAB teams:
- Location: Radnor Township
- Home Games: William B. Finneran Pavilion and Wells Fargo Center
- Conference: Big East
- Best March Madness Performance: Tournament Champion in 1985, 2016 and 2018
- Top NBA Players: Kyle Lowry, Mikal Bridges, Saddiq Bey
Penn State Nittany Lions
- Location: State College
- Home Games: Bryce Jordan Center
- Conference: Big Ten
- Best March Madness Performance: Final Four in 1954, Sweet 16 in 2001
- Top NBA Player: Tim Frazier
- Location: Pittsburgh
- Home Games: Petersen Events Center
- Conference: ACC
- Best March Madness Performance: Final Four in 1941, Elite Eight in 2009
- Top NBA Player: Steven Adams
- Location: Philadelphia
- Home Games: Liacouras Center
- Conference: American
- Best March Madness Performance: Final Four in 1958, Elite Eight in 2001
- Top NBA Player: Mark Macon
As for the other college basketball programs in PA, we’ll have to wait and see how the conference tournaments shake out to see if any automatic bids can be seized. If any of them manage to get hot at the right time, this season’s edition of March Madness could have plenty of rooting interest here in Pennsylvania.
How to pick a good March Madness bracket
There are plenty of theories on how to go about creating your March Madness bracket. While many of those theories have helpful tips inside, there isn’t one single way to do it.
Similar to using a recipe as a guide and then adjusting it based on your tastes, you can pluck out some of the top tips from each to build out a strategy that works best for you.
Here are five tips you can use to make your bracket picks that much easier:
1. Lean toward higher seeds
Upsets are going to happen, but the top seeds are where they are for a reason. In the early rounds, teams seeded one through four in each region always have a high-winning percentage. Keep that little nugget in mind and don’t go overboard with big upsets early.
2. Be on the lookout for upsets
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pull the trigger when you think you have spotted an upset in the making. Said another way, if you love a 12-seed over a 5-seed in round one, don’t be shy. The #10-#12 seeds have pulled off upsets in virtually every NCAA tournament.
3. Consider overall strength
March Madness games are contested at neutral-site locations. As a result, you can throw out the home-court advantage. You can line the teams up based on overall strength without having to worry about who is home or away.
That being said, some teams will have to travel a lot farther than other depending on the region they’re placed in. For some of the top seeds, that means they’ll likely be playing just a few miles from home while lower seeds could be from the other side of the country. It doesn’t always matter, but it can be a factor.
4. Pay attention to recent form
Teams go on hot streaks and cold streaks. In a perfect world, they’ll enter the tournament playing really well. That’s not always the case. Pay attention to how teams have fared recently for a clue on how the opening round will go.
5. Depth, shooting and defense
When it comes time to break down the matchups, there are a lot of stats to consider. Here are three of the most important:
- Depth: Teams with a deeper bench can have an advantage over those with shorter rotations due to the fatigue factor.
- Shooting: When two teams are close, the better shooting team deserves your attention. This is especially true in neutral-site affairs.
- Defense: Offense may sell tickets, but strong defense is a key tenet for teams that have designs on winning it all.
As you fill out your bracket, you’ll find that some of the selections are easy. Fill those in first, then drill into the remaining matchups and see which ones you can decide on quickly. For whatever games are left, walk through the above five steps, and you’ll be able to make the rest of your choices in no time.
March Madness betting systems
We’re not trying to burst your bubble, but you’re not going to have a perfect bracket. Advanced mathematical studies of March Madness have determined that there are 9.2 quintillion possible bracket combinations.
That’s a lot. As a result, the chances of picking the perfect bracket are somewhere around none. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have the highest-scoring bracket in your pool.
Remember, focus on these five steps when picking games:
- Higher seeds take precedent.
- Keep an eye out for potential upsets.
- Weigh teams based on their overall strength.
- Pay attention to recent form.
- Watch rotation, shooting and defense.
While the above system isn’t fail-safe or immune to bracket busting outcomes, it’ll lead you on the right track more often than not. As for single-game bets, the same principles apply. In addition, there are some other things you can look out for before placing your wagers.
Substantial line movement
From the time that lines are released until tipoff, the public has its chance to weigh in by placing bets. Keep an eye on spreads and totals that see significant movement. Is there a valid reason for the movement or just public enthusiasm?
It can be especially helpful on total bets. The public tends to lean toward the over. If they push a number too high, it can be a good spot to pounce.
Speaking of public betting action, it’s always a good idea to see which way the wind is blowing.
Some sites track the percentage of money bet on each side. Don’t be shy about going against the grain, and also keep an eye out for spots in which the action is lopsided. After all, books are correct more often than the general betting public.
During March Madness, you’ll see several matchups between teams from smaller conferences and squads from the bigger ones. While everyone loves an upset, consider the overall strength of the conferences when matching the two teams up. A smaller school may have racked up a fantastic record, but if they’ve done so against inferior competition, the ride will end before too long.
Once you get past the first two rounds of the tournament, all of the same concepts apply.
You’ll have fewer games to break down to boot. Keep in mind that the stronger teams should separate themselves from the pack as the tournament moves along. At least on paper, that is.
Where can I watch or stream March Madness in PA?
CBS and Turner Sports once again have the exclusive broadcast rights for March Madness. You’ll see games on the following channels with exact dates and times unveiled once brackets are out:
For streaming options, the above channels are included with a number of the top cord-cutting alternatives out there.
Additionally, there is an NCAA March Madness app that allows you to stream every game, but you’ll need to have a cable, satellite or streaming subscription to access it.
Last but not least, these local CBS affiliates will carry the games:
- Altoona: WTAJ-TV 10
- Erie: WSEE-TV 35
- Harrisburg: WHP-TV 21
- Philadelphia: KYW-TV 3
- Pittsburgh: KDKA-TV 2
- Scranton: WYOU 22
You can also check out CBSSports.com and CBS All Access to explore additional streaming options.
March Madness FAQ
March Madness brackets will be unveiled on Selection Sunday, which takes place on March 12, 2023.
Estimates from the American Gaming Association put the number at 70 million brackets per year.
They are astronomical. Advanced mathematical studies have found that there are 9.2 quintillion possible bracket combinations. If you understand basketball at all you narrow your odds somewhat but, well, not by much.
There are 67 games played in total. Four are play-in games known as the First Four, while the 63 other games make up the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
There are 68 teams in total. Eight will play in First Four matchups, which are play-in games to see who will advance to the tournament, which includes 64 teams.
In 1985, the 8th-seeded Villanova Wildcats won it all with an upset victory over the Georgetown Hoyas in the final game.
Villanova has won it all three times: 1985, 2016 and 2018.
This year’s edition of the Final Four will be at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.