Skip to main content
A detailed view of the March Madness logo as we look into how to fill out a March Madness bracket
A detailed view of the March Madness logo during a game between the Texas Southern Tigers and the Texas A&M-CC Islanders in the First Four game of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 15, 2022 in Dayton, Ohio. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

Our March Madness bracket guide is here to help you fill our your bracket once the 2025 NCAA Tournament rolls around.

The 2024 NCAA Tournament was as unpredictable as ever. Before you know it, the 2025 event will have rolled around, and you'll be itching to fill out your March Madness bracket all over again.

You will probably hold aspirations of a perfect bracket, but you'll need to nail all the March Madness upsets. We'll be here to help you win your pool with a few tips and tricks.

We'll also have a collection of the best FREE March Madness bracket challenges, which offer a risk-free way to vie for significant cash prizes.

How to fill out a March Madness bracket

  1. Join a pool
  2. Start with a clean bracket (or even download one, if you'd like)
  3. Study our experts' March Madness bracket predictions
  4. Pick winners for the opening round by advancing them to the Round of 32
  5. Select your 16 winners in the Round of 32
  6. Choose your winners in the eight respective Sweet 16 matchups
  7. Nail down your Final Four teams with a selection for each Elite Eight showdown
  8. Advance two teams to the national championship game
  9. Pick your winner in the title game, with a projected final score in case of a tiebreaker
  10. Submit your bracket

March Madness bracket

Download and print our FREE March Madness bracket! Here's an example bracket with the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

You'll also be able to check out our breakdown of the March Madness odds and Final Four odds to help.

Expert tips for filling out your bracket

Pick some upsets early

It's called March Madness for a reason. There are usually plenty of upsets during the opening weekend, at least from the perspective of seeding. By paying attention to the March Madness odds and Final Four odds, we can locate the best spots for a lower seed to win during the first round with our March Madness picks.

If a spread is within a couple of possessions, that means oddsmakers believe it will be a competitive game. Spreads of six-plus points tend to shade closer to blowout territory, so avoid those contests when trying to identify your favorite upset picks.

A No. 12 seed has advanced to the second round in 32 of the last 37 NCAA Tournaments, while a No. 13 seed has won at least one game in 10 of the previous 14 years. Here's a look at the No. 12 and 13 seeds from 2023, along with their first-round opponents.

South(12) Charleston(5) San Diego St.SD State -4.5
South(13) Furman(4) VirginiaVirginia -6.5
Midwest(12) Drake(5) Miami (FL)Miami -3.5
Midwest(13) Kent State(4) IndianaIndiana -5.5
West(12) VCU(5) Saint Mary'sSaint Mary's -5.5
West(13) Iona(4) UConnUConn -10
East(12) Oral Roberts(5) DukeDuke -7.5
East(13) Louisiana(4) TennesseeTennessee -10.5

Familiarize yourself with these mid-majors, and take a look at the college basketball odds to help locate those key upsets this year.

Go with chalk late

All four No. 1 seeds made it to the Final Four just once in tournament history, which happened in 2008 before Kansas defeated Memphis in the national championship game. That means you shouldn't be completely chalky with your Final Four picks, but the team cutting down the nets will still likely be a favorite.

A No. 1 seed has claimed nine of the last 11 titles, including each of the last six years. A No. 1 seed has won it all more than 65% of the time in the NCAA Tournament, according to A No. 2 seed has won five championships, while a No. 3 seed has secured four crowns. Teams seeded between No. 4 and No. 8 are responsible for four combined championships.

Considering how much the scoring is weighted for the final weekend, just make sure you aren't being too unique with those key selections to close out your bracket.

Don't be afraid to be contrarian 

A key strategy when trying to figure out how to bet on March Madness is to be a little different with your bracket. You aren't going to win your pool while picking the same champion or Final Four teams as the rest of your friends or coworkers.

Think about how many times Gonzaga has been the No. 1 overall seed and failed to cut down the nets despite being the betting favorite.

Three years ago, only 9.6% of ESPN brackets correctly predicted second-seeded Villanova would reach the Final Four. Only 1.1% of brackets were riding the eighth-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels to also go that far. Correctly picking one of those two teams likely improved your chances of winning a pool, and this information is available to the public as soon as brackets start getting submitted.

Here's a list of the most notable sites that carry March Madness bracket data:

Before you finish your bracket, we suggest taking a look at the numbers and see where you can differentiate yourself from the masses, all while riding with some higher seeds in the end.

Got it? Test your skills with these free March Madness bracket challenges and download our free printable March Madness bracket to run your own pool.

March Madness betting odds pages

Here are our best March Madness betting sites:

(21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER)
* Bonuses not applicable in Ontario.

Related pages