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March Madness Betting Guide 2022: All you need to know about Sweet 16, Elite 8 and Final Four Betting

In January, the NCAA announced that the NCAA Tournament will be played in Indiana, with most of the 67 games taking place in Indianapolis. Selection Sunday will be on March 13th, with the Final Four scheduled for April 3rd and 5th in New Orleans.

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What is March Madness?

If you love basketball, March is extra special; it’s the time of the year (usually mid-March through the beginning of April) when the NCAA Basketball Tournament is held.

Also known as March Madness because of its high-stakes environment and the chance to witness crazy upsets, this single-elimination tournament features the best 68 teams in the country, all looking to survive three weekends of games so they can claim the National Championship.

How Many Teams Play in the NCAA Tournament?

This tournament has changed over the years. In 2011, the NCAA Tournament expanded to 68 teams to increase the number of at-large bids. As a result, there are four play-in games, two involving 16th-seeded teams and at least two games between Nos. 11, 12, 13, or 14 seeds. These opening games are called the First Four. They take place in Dayton, Ohio, the Tuesday and Wednesday before the rest of the NCAA Tournament begins.

How Are March Madness Teams Selected?

On Selection Sunday, the 68 teams are ranked 1 through 68. Based on their performance in the regular season and the conference tournaments, the best team in college basketball will sit at No. 1.

The 64 teams that remain after the First Four are split into four regions. Each region has 16 teams, ranked 1 through 16. That ranking is their seed.

What is the Importance of Seeding in March Madness?

Seeding in the NCAA Tournament is vital because it determines the Round 1 games and rewards the better teams. For example, the top team in each region plays the lowest seed (No. 1 vs. No. 16).

The next highest goes up against the next lowest (No. 2 vs. No. 15) and so on. This means that No. 1 seeds are given the easiest opening matchups in March Madness.

When and Where Will the Games Take Place?

The play-in games known as the First Four finalize the four-region bracket before Round 1 begins on Friday, March 19th. Round 1 consists of 32 games on March 19th and March 20th. After 16 more games on Round 2 (March 21st-22nd), the Sweet 16 is set for March 27th and March 28th.

Four more days of games will determine who makes it to the Elite Eight and then to the Final Four. The Final Four and the National Championship game will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium.

March Madness Schedule:

First Four: March 15-16, 2022

NCAA Tournament Round 1: March 17-18, 2022

NCAA Tournament Round 2: March 19-20, 2022

Sweet 16: March 24-25, 2022

Elite Eight: March 26-27, 2022

Final Four and National Championship: April 2 and April 4, 2022

NCAA Tournament games are played at neutral sites. These venues move around from year to year. The location of the Final Four is always decided years in advance. It will not change, even if the teams participating in that part of the tournament are from that city.

March Madness Betting Options

The following betting options are available:

Point Spreads: In point spread bets, the final score of the games and the margin of victory are taken into consideration. If you bet on Duke -6 in an Elite Eight game against Michigan, they must win the game by at least seven points for your wager to cash. A six-point victory would result in a push. A win by any fewer points would make you lose your wager.

Moneylines: Betting the moneyline is merely choosing the team that you think will win. The favorites will have minus odds, meaning that you have to wager more than the amount you’re going to win. For example, if Virginia is a 6-point favorite in the Final Four, the moneyline will be around -240. This means that you’ll have to wager $240 to win $100. The opposite applies if you want to bet an underdog’s moneyline. An underdog team with a 6-point spread will have a moneyline around +190. In this case a $100 wager would win $190.

Totals: Often referred to as Over/Under bets, totals have nothing to do with the winner of the game. Over/Unders are strictly decided by how many combined points are scored by the teams. NCAA Basketball totals vary with every game. They can range from around 120 to 160 points. You have to pick whether you think the total points scored will go Over or Under the number that the sportsbook set. If the total for the NCAA Championship game is set at 140 points and the final score consists of 135 points, then “Under” bettors win and those who had the “Over” lose.

Parlays: Parlays are more complex bets. A parlay is a single bet that links together at least two individual wagers. A parlay only wins if none of the wagers is a loser. The parlay can still win if a game is canceled or ends in a tie. Props: Prop bets are related to the brackets, for example, player stats like points, rebounds, assists, etc. in a game, how far along a team will get in March Madness and the odds of making the Sweet 16, Elite Eight and Final Four.

Live Betting: Live betting has become very popular and it is a great alternative for March Madness because no lead is safe in the NCAA Tournament as long as there is still time left on the clock. In-game wagering allows you to place bets at any time in the contest with updated lines based on the current score and situation.

This feature doesn’t restrict you to the pregame betting odds. You can wager at any point and see how a game begins before deciding to make a move. Teams that get down a lot early usually receive much better NCAA Basketball odds than what they had before the game. You can put a few dollars down on those teams and a potential comeback could provide a big payout. Live betting will be available for every March Madness game. Keep in mind that in addition to the standard moneylines, point spreads and totals, most sportsbooks also offer a large selection of alternate lines.

March Madness Brackets: Many free-to-enter March Madness brackets can be found online every year, as well as office pools at work or a local bar. You don’t have to pick the winners of every NCAA Tournament game correctly, you will be victorious in these brackets as long as you pick more winners than anyone else.

Perfect Bracket Odds: Every year, millions of people fill out March Madness brackets. So far, no one has been able to get a verifiably perfect bracket in the history of the NCAA Tournament. It is technically possible to get one but the odds are absurdly overwhelming. 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 quintillion to be exact (if you guess or just flip a coin). Your chances will increase to 1 in 120.2 billion (if you have some basketball knowledge).

Odds to Win March Madness

Futures are popular bets for March Madness. These wagers are available all season long and the betting odds change throughout based on the results of the games. Some bettors prefer to place futures wagers right before March Madness but they are available leading up to the NCAA Basketball season and right now.

A common futures bet is picking who will win the National Championship. This is a very popular wager because the odds are usually favorable. Other futures bets available are: which conference will win March Madness? and which player will be named the NCAA Tournament’s most outstanding player?

Most Successful Teams

North Carolina has the record for most Final Four appearances with 20. They have six NCAA Championships, ranking third all-time. UCLA has won a record 11 NCAA Championships while Kentucky ranks second with eight. UCLA and Kentucky have reached the Final Four 17 times. The first of UCLA’s championships came in 1964. They quickly added another the following season. They fell short in 1966 and then won seven straight NCAA Tournaments, creating an impressive dynasty. Their streak ended on March 23, 1974 after North Carolina State beat them 80-77 in double overtime in the Final Four but they won another NCAA Championship in 1975 after a 92-85 victory against Kentucky on March 31.

UCLA’s most recent title came after an 89-78 win against Arkansas in the NCAA Championship game on April 3, 1995.They made it to the NCAA Championship game in 2006 but lost 73-57 against Florida on April 3. The last time UCLA made the NCAA Tournament was in 2018 and right now they are on the verge of missing it in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2003-04.

What are Cinderella Teams?

Cinderella teams are unknown schools that become the darlings of an NCAA Tournament. There are certain stipulations to determine if they’re truly a Cinderella team. A true Cinderella team has to come from a mid-major conference. It has to be seeded No. 9 or lower and it can’t be favored in their first game of the tournament.

Davidson in 2008 and Loyola Chicago in 2018 are the most recent examples we have of a true Cinderella team. Led by Stephen Curry, Davidson reached the 2008 Elite Eight as a No. 10 seed. In 2018, Loyola Chicago made it to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed, after wins against No. 6 Miami, No. 3 Tennessee, No. 7 Nevada and No. 9 Kansas State. They lost 69-57 against No. 3 Michigan in the Final Four on March 31st, 2018.

Can a Cinderella Team Win the NCAA Tournament?

No. 16 UMBC defeated No. 1 Virginia 74-54 on March 16th, 2018. It was the first time in NCAA Tournament history that a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1 seed. UMBC’s upset ended a 135-game losing streak for No. 16 seeds in Round 1. Only one No. 15 seed has made the Sweet 16 (Florida Gulf Coast in 2013), one No. 12 seed made the Elite Eight (Missouri in 2002) and four No. 11 seeds have made the Final Four. The lowest seed to win the NCAA Tournament was No. 8 Villanova in 1985. They beat Georgetown 66-64 in the National Championship game on April 1st.

NCAA Tournament Betting Tips

Point spreads are bigger in the first rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Take advantage of that when placing your March Madness picks because there’s more parity early than people think. Two years ago No. 16 UMBC crushed No. 1 Virginia 74-54 as a 20.5-point underdog in Round 1. It was the first time that a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1 seed and it was the biggest upset in March Madness history.

Ranking the Biggest March Madness Upsets

The NCAA Tournament has always had unexpected outcomes. Here we recall some of the upsets that defied all expectations and busted many brackets.

1. No. 16 UMBC 74, No. 1 Virginia 54 Date: March 17th, 2018 Point Spread: UMBC +20.5 Moneyline: UMBC +2000

2. No. 6 North Carolina State 54, No. 1 Houston 52 Date: March 17th, 1983 Point Spread: North Carolina State +7.5

3. No. 3 Texas Western 72, No. 1 Kentucky 65 Date: March 7th, 1966 Point Spread: Texas Western +6.5

4. No. 8 Villanova 66, No. 1 Georgetown 64 Date: April 1st, 1985 Point Spread: Villanova +8

5. No. 11 George Mason 86, No. 1 Connecticut 84 (Overtime) Date: March 26th, 2006 Point Spread: George Mason +8

6. No. 11 Virginia Commonwealth 71, No. 1 Kansas 61 Date: March 27th, 2011 Point Spread: Virginia Commonwealth +11 

March Madness Betting Trends to Consider

– Only one No. 1 seed has lost in Round 1

– No. 1 seeds are 116-19 (85.9 percent) in Round 2 since 1985, while No. 2 seeds are 85-43 (66.4 percent) in Round 2.

– No. 1 seeds are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games when the point spread is less than 20.

– No. 10 seeds are 24-29 (45.2 percent) in Round 2.

– No. 8 seeds are 70-66 against No. 9 seeds since 1985.

– No. 11 seeds are 19-17 against No. 6 seeds. – Nebraska (0-7), Boise State (0-7), Belmont (0-7) and Eastern Kentucky (0-8) are 0-29 combined in the NCAA Tournament.

– Gonzaga is 10-0 in Round 1 since 2009.

– All four No. 1 seeds have reached the Final Four just once in the last 34 years. Overall, 29 of the last 34 Final Fours have had two or fewer No. 1 seeds.

– No. 1 seeds are 12-0 in Sweet 16 games since 2014.

– No. 1 seeds are 11-7 in the Elite Eight since 2012.

– Only the 2006 and 2011 Final Fours had zero No. 1 seeds.

– No. 12 seeds are just 1-19 in the Sweet 16 (0-19 against No. 1 seeds).

– No. 2 seeds are 6-4 in their last 10 games against No. 1 seeds in the Elite Eight.

– No. 6 seeds are winless in the Elite Eight since 1992.

– The only No. 9 seed to reach the Final Four since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 is Wichita State in 2013.

– Duke (12) and North Carolina (11) have reached the Final Four 23 times combined since 1985.

– BYU (29), Xavier (28) and Missouri (26) have the most NCAA Tournament appearances without reaching the Final Four.

– No. 1 seeds are 20-16 ATS in their last 36 games in the Final Four.

– Teams with first-time head coaches are 8-6 SU and 8-5-1 ATS in the Final Four since 2005.

– Since 2002, 11 National Champions have ranked in the Top 3 in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency (points scored per 100 possessions, adjusted for opponent) at

– Since 2002, no team has won the NCAA Tournament with a defense ranked lower than 18th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions, adjusted for opponent) at

Using to Predict Upsets

Ken Pomeroy is the creator of, a comprehensive NCAA Basketball statistical archive. His in-depth, numbers-based rankings have been very successful.’s adjusted offensive efficiency and adjusted defensive efficiency ratings can help you identify potential upsets. Teams that are highly rated in either area, can make up for deficiencies on the other one and beat the March Madness odds.

In 2018, when Loyola Chicago made the Final Four, they ranked 17th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency. In 2015, South Carolina was 91st in adjusted offensive efficiency but they were 3rd in adjusted defensive efficiency and made it all the way to the Final Four as a No. 7 seed.

Here’s what you need to know about this year’s NCAA Tournament field, based on KenPom’s ratings:

Top Ten teams in adjusted offensive efficiency (points scored per 100 possessions, adjusted for opponent)

Top Twenty teams in adjusted defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions, adjusted for opponent)

Underrated Teams For March Madness Betting

1. Houston (No. 5 Seed, No. 2 in’s Rankings)

2. Texas Tech

3. North Carollina

4. Michigan

5. Iowa St.

Fun Facts About March Madness

– Notre Dame shooting guard Austin Carr set an NCAA Tournament record by scoring 61 points in a Round 1 game against Ohio on March 7th, 1970. Notre Dame beat Ohio 112-82 and the most impressive part of his performance is that it happened 17 years before the adoption of the 3-point line. Had there been a 3-point shot in NCAA Basketball back then he would have scored 70 or more points in that game. Carr played in seven March Madness games for Notre Dame from 1969 to 1971 and averaged 41.3 points in those contests. That career average in the NCAA Tournament ranks first all-time. Bill Bradley of Princeton is second on the list with 33.7 points in nine games.

– Carr’s record for more points in a March Madness game hasn’t been threatened. NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson came closest after scoring 50 points for Navy in a 97-82 loss against Michigan in Round 1 of the East Regionals on March 12th, 1987. Robinson was 22-for-37 from the field and grabbed 13 rebounds.

– Glen Rice, Michigan’s all-time scoring leader, holds the record for most points scored in a single NCAA Tournament. He had 184 points in 1989.

– Duke’s Christian Laettner owns the career record with 407 points across 23 NCAA Tournament games. Laettner’s buzzer-beater in Duke’s 104-103 overtime win against Kentucky on March 28th, 1992 in the Elite Eight.

– If you love offensive displays, the Round 2 game between Loyola Marymount and Michigan on March 18th, 1990 would have impressed you. That day the two teams combined for 264 points, the highest total in NCAA Tournament history. Loyola Marymount won the game 149-115 and both teams shot over 52.9 percent from the field.

– North Carolina holds the record for the worst loss in NCAA Tournament history. They’re among the most successful teams in the event but on March 21st, 1941 they suffered a 26-20 loss against Pittsburgh in the East Regional Semifinal after shooting just 9-for-65 from the field (13.8 percent).

– At 31 years old, Emmett “Branch” McCracken led Indiana to the NCAA Championship in 1940, becoming the youngest head coach to win it all. He won another NCAA Tournament with them in 1953.

– Only three men have won an NCAA Championship as both player and head coach: Joe B. Hall for Kentucky, Bob Knight playing for Ohio State and coaching Indiana and Dean Smith as a player for Kansas and as North Carolina’s head coach.

– Larry Brown is the only head coach with an NBA Championship and an NCAA Championship. He did it with the Kansas Jayhawks in 1988 and with the Detroit Pistons in 2004.

– No No. 5 seed has ever won the NCAA Championship. Butler (2010), Indiana (2002) and Florida (2000) all reached the March Madness Final but they all lost.

– Connecticut is the only school to have won the Men’s and Women’s National Championship teams in the same year. They ran the table in 2004 and 2014!

– According to Wallethub, American beer companies produce between 17 and 18 million barrels in March (14 million in any other month) and pizza orders increase by around 19%.

Where to Make Your March Madness Bets?

Sportsbook Review has reviewed over 1,000 sportsbooks and recommended only the best online betting sites for betting college basketball. 

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