It’s that time of year again — March Madness is just around the corner. On Sunday, March 14th the NCAA will unveil the brackets for the 2021 March Madness basketball tournament. 68 teams will be vying for the championship — single-elimination, winner take all.
March Madness is one of the most exciting events in sports and attracts both die-hard college basketball fans and casual fans. It also appeals to sports bettors throughout the country each year as there are a host of games to watch and bet on from the beginning of March through the first week of April. For the first time ever, it’s legal to bet at sports betting apps in Virginia after the Virginia Lottery launched regulated sports betting earlier this year.
Before you place your bets on this year’s March Madness tournament, check out our comprehensive betting preview.
March Madness Future Odds
One major reason why so many tune in to March Madness is because anyone can win on any given day. However, there are a few clear favorites to win the 2021 NCAA title and it seems as though just about every year 1 or 2 of the favorites make the Final Four. This year’s favorites include Gonzaga, Baylor, and Michigan.
Gonzaga has been a men’s basketball powerhouse for over 10 years but they have yet to win it all. In fact, they played in their first final game in 2017 versus North Caroline but lost. Per William Hill, this year Gonzaga is favored to win the championship at +280 and is a popular choice among both the betting public and sharps.
In recent years it’s becoming more common to see Baylor enter the NCAA tournament as a top 4 seed and this year should be no different. The Bears are stacked once again and have played well against tough competition as they are 5-0 versus ranked teams this year. The current future odds at William Hill for Baylor is +325 — reasonable value for a team poised to make a deep run.
Of the 3 favorites, Michigan might be the most dangerous particularly due to their swarming defense. The Wolverines rank 5th in field goal percentage allowed and are currently ranked #2 in the country. Right now, their odds to win the title are +400 at William Hill and they will likely receive a #1 seed even if they don’t win the Big 10 tournament.
March Madness Value Picks
Even though there are a handful of teams favored to win, don’t discredit the few teams that could make a deep run and even upset a #1 seed. The top teams to look out for this year include Villanova, Iowa, and Alabama.
It seems like every year you can count on Villanova making the NCAA tournament, particularly as a top seed. Villanova has the experience and coaching on their side in addition to a well-balanced offensive attack as 5 players are averaging at least 10 points a game.
Along with Michigan and Ohio State, Iowa is another Big 10 team that can easily make it to the 2021 Final Four. There are few questions about their offense as they are 3rd in the nation in scoring. It remains to be seen if they can play consistently on the defensive end of the floor, especially under pressure during the March Madness tournament.
Don’t count out the Alabama basketball team. While they are less dominant than the football program, the Crimson Tide men’s basketball team can play — they shoot the 3 well and rebound the basketball. Both of which make them dangerous during March.
In addition to Villanova, Alabama, and Iowa, Ohio State (+2000), Illinois (+2000), and Houston (+2000) are all viable value picks as well. Ohio State took Michigan to the final possession the last time they played in late February and Illinois and Houston are fully capable of knocking off any team in the country. Depending on their bracket draws, you may see at least one of these teams in the Final Four.
Where to Bet on the 2021 March Madness Tournament
Over the past several years, many states have begun to roll out either physical and/or mobile sportsbooks ever since the Supreme Court decided to legalize online sports betting in America. States such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia now allow their residents to bet online according to MichiganSharp.com. Additionally, if your state has a land-based sportsbook, you can bet there too (a la Las Vegas).
Best Online Sportsbook to Bet March Madness
State laws aside, Virginia online sports betting apps such as FanDuel, DraftKings, William Hill and BetMGM are all great options to bet on this year’s March Madness tournament. Each has its pros and cons, however, you’ll be sure to find action on each scheduled game, future odds, prop bets, and more.
If you are a Virginia resident, we highly recommend William Hill Virginia. One big reason why is during March they are offering new players a risk-free bet of up to $2,021.
Note, due to Virginia law, residents cannot wager on any college or university located in Virginia. This includes games that involve at least one school from Virginia. Nevertheless, creating an account at William Hill is worth it due to the many betting options and it’s simple — here’s how.
March Madness at William Hill Virginia
1. Visit William Hill Online or Download the App
To get started at William Hill, you’ll first want to visit their website or download their mobile sportsbook app, which is available for iOS and Android.
Once you’ve accessed their site or app, you can begin the account creation process, which includes a photo ID verification step to confirm your age. Additionally, you’ll be required to provide basic information such as your name, birth date, and address.
2. Enter Your Promo Code and Deposit Funds
During the account creation process, you’ll be prompted to enter a promo code. This is where you’ll want to claim any new player sign-up bonuses. After you’ve provided ID, entered your information, and claimed your sign-up bonuses, you’ll be ready to deposit funds into your account — which can be done via a debit card or bank account.
3. Place Your First Bet
Now that your account is verified and loaded with funds (and any promotional credit), you’ll be ready to place your first sports bet at William Hill. Simply, visit the sportsbook page to select the game and wager type and confirm your bet. Payouts happen almost instantaneously after the conclusion of the game you wagered on.
Summary of the NCAA March Madness Tournament
If you are new to college basketball, don’t worry below is a quick recap of how the NCAA March Madness tournament works.
- 68 teams participate in 67 games over two weeks to determine an outright winner of the NCAA college basketball title
- 32 automatic bids are awarded to teams who win their conference tournaments or regular season titles
- 36 teams receive at-large bids via a 10-person selection committee
- Brackets are segmented into 4 sections (East, West, Midwest, and South), seeded 1-16 in each
- The first four teams must participate in play-in games to secure a spot in the 1-16 seeded brackets
You can learn more about the tournament and the official selection process on the NCAA’s website here.
March Madness Betting FAQs
Is betting on March Madness legal?
Yes, in short, betting on college basketball and the NCAA tournament is legal, however, it’s up to each state to regulate its own set of rules. In other words, not every state offers online sports betting and/or in-person sports betting, and if they do they may have certain restrictions.
What type of bets are available?
Sportsbooks offer future odds, prop bets, parlay options, and more. In addition, you can bet on individual games, including betting on the over/under, spread, and win/loss outcome (moneyline).
Can I live bet March Madness?
Yes, live betting is available at just about every major online sportsbook in America, including William Hill.
Which team is favored to win?
The NCAA selection committee will release the official seeding and bracket on Sunday, 3/14. Each quadrant of the bracket will have a #1 seed and the top-ranked #1 seed will be aligned with the 4th ranked #1 seed, while the 2nd and 3rd best will be on the other side of the bracket.
Has a #16 seed ever beaten a #1 seed?
A #16 seed has only ever won once in the history of March Madness. In 2018, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) upset the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers. Until then, the biggest upset was a #15 seed over a #2, which has occurred 8 total times.