March Madness Betting 2021

Brackets, lines and best betting apps

Starting with 68 teams across four regions, the single-elimination NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, aka “March Madness,” runs over three long weekends in March/April. With it comes a ton of betting opportunities.

With more sportsbooks in the NJ market and total sports betting handle on the rise, March Madness 2021 numbers should soar. Due to NJ regulations you can’t bet on NJ-based college teams or games played in NJ, but since no NCAA tournament action takes place in NJ this year sportsbooks can take bets on almost every March Madness game.

That means you can fill out your March Madness brackets, bet on NCAA basketball futures or bet live on each game in progress as long as no NJ teams are involved. Here’s what you need to know to bet on March Madness in NJ.

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Best March Madness betting apps

The best NJ mobile apps are available for download to both iOS and Android devices. Click through to any online sportsbook through our links and you can download the app directly from there.

If you live in New York or other neighboring states you can download the app and set up your account the same as if you lived in New Jersey. You can transfer funds and prep all your bets right from home – you only need to pop over the border into NJ to place your bets. You can even withdraw any winnings from your home state as well.

Here are the top sports betting apps in NJ and what they have to offer for March Madness:

draftkings march madness app1. DraftKings Sportsbook – $25 in free bets

DraftKings Sportsbook is a true March Madness sports betting destination. DraftKings Sportsbook typically run two March Madness bracket contests including a free-to-play bracket with $64,000 in prizes (available across the US) and a $20 buy-in, only-in-NJ bracket contest with $100,000 up for grabs.

In 2020, DraftKings Sportsbook launched its Tourney Mania hub with access to all of DraftKings March Madness brackets and promos. A new, free $16,000 Second-Chance Bracket contest was announced as was a free $250,000 Survivor Pool.

DraftKings Sportsbook also has traditional sports betting markets for the entire NCAA Tournament, including moneylines, spreads and totals for every game plus team and player props.

Get $25 free + $1,000 in bets and bonuses at DraftKings NJ

2. William Hill NJ Sportsbook – $10 free

William Hill NJ Sportsbook ramped up for March Madness in 2020 with a “March to March” promo offering bonus credits for winning bets on the top college basketball games throughout February. This suggests something even more special is on the way with William Hill primed and ready to get into the March Madness promo game.

That’s alongside hosting traditional sports betting markets for the entire NCAA Tournament, including futures, game lines and props.

Claim your free $10 sports bet at William Hill with code PLAYNJ150

3. FanDuel Sportsbook – Up to $1,000 risk-free bet

FanDuel Sportsbook will be more than ready for March Madness in 2021 with everything found in its March Madness Hub. The ultra-popular free $250,000 Bracket Madness contest should return with the best bracket walking away with $100,000.

FanDuel Sportsbook also runs a free daily Props Pick ‘Em contest with a $10,000 daily jackpot throughout the Tournament. Of course, competitive lines makes FanDuel Sportsbook the perfect place to bet on March Madness futures, individual game lines and props too.

Claim your risk free bet at FanDuel NJ now!

Why bet March Madness online?

There are several reasons why more than 80% of the sports bets in New Jersey are placed online. It starts with convenience and the fact NJ sports betting apps are open 24/7 and available from anywhere inside the state. But it doesn’t end there.

The choice you have between several operators means you can line shop from your couch to find the best prices on a bet. There’s no waiting in line, no identifying numbers and no special betting jargon required to place bets.

Online and mobile sports betting gives you the chance to make the bets you want instantly from a phone, tablet, or computer. March Madness also offers 67 games over three weeks with literally thousands of in-game betting opportunities. As mentioned, if you’re from out of state you can also download and manage your account from home and simply hop across the state line to bet.

Ultimately, no missed opportunities and no lineup help make the choice between traditional retail sportsbooks and betting apps a no brainer.

Brackets vs Betting on March Madnessmarch madness betting

There are essentially three ways you can bet on March Madness in NJ:

Free/Paid bracket contests

Brackets are the traditional way most Americans bet on the NCAA tournament.

You fill out a full, 63-game bracket prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament and either pay to enter it into a pool or submit it to a free-to-enter NCAA Tournament bracket contest. Several NJ online and mobile sportsbooks run both (more on these below).

Pick more winners than anyone else in the pool or contest and you’ll walk away a winner. Check out the best free March Madness contests here:

March Madness Odds

There’s no need to wait for the teams to be announced on Selection Sunday to start betting on March Madness. March Madness futures give you the chance to bet on a team you think will win the NCAA Tournament during the regular season, conference tournaments and before March Madness has tipped off.

NJ sportsbooks will adjust the odds on the teams as the season and tournament progresses, meaning the earlier you get a bet down on a favorite the better the odds usually are.

Check our real-time odds feed to see how the 2021 March Madness Futures Odds stack up at NJ online sportsbooks right now:

Game-by-game betting (moneylines, spreads, totals, props)

NJ online sportsbooks offer individual bets on every bit of NCAA Tournament action.  The main advantage of betting March Madness game-by-game is the freedom it provides.

Filling out a 63-game bracket requires you to pick a winner in every single game – before you even know if a team will advance beyond the first round. Betting March Madness game-by-game allows you to be much more selective and avoid betting games where you simply don’t have all the information you need.

ncaa basketball betting njBrackets get busted early and futures fizzle out. But combine game-by-game betting with proper bankroll management principles and you can find a way to carry your balance through the length of the NCAA Tournament.

There’s nothing wrong with entering several free and low-entry bracket contests. It’s just that it’s a lot harder to win a bracket contest than a single-game wager. Therefore, wagering a sizable portion of your bankroll on bracket contests is a bad idea.

You’re much better off doing some NCAA basketball research and applying proper bankroll management principals to game-by-game March Madness betting.

That research should start with the NCAA Tournament seeding. Just like the odds NJ online and mobile sportsbooks post on NCAA games can provide some help in filling out a bracket, the seeding can give some insight into March Madness game betting. Plus, some of the same strategies you apply to filling out a bracket can help you identify the best NCAA Tournament bets.

March Madness betting lines

The NCAA Tournament and each game that is a part of it offers a wide variety of betting opportunities. That’s a big part of the reason why more money is bet on this event than any other in US sports, college or pro.

Here is a rundown of the different March Madness betting lines:


For those unfamiliar with sports betting terms, the moneyline bet comes down to picking the straight-up winner.

There is a number, or odds, associated with each team. If Harvard is listed at -600 against Columbia, they’re considered a heavy favorite (you would need to bet $600 to win $100).

On the flip-side, if Columbia, +440, were to win, that same $100 wager would net the bettor $440. The plus sign before the number means the team is an underdog.

Point spread

Once the NCAA Tournament field is set, point spreads will be released for the first round of 32 games. Several of the games, including the No. 1 versus No. 16 matchups, will feature double-digit spreads.

But which side will cover the spread?

Betting on the favorite means your pick needs to win by a margin determined by the odds. Betting on the underdog gives the bettor a cushion in which a team loss may still produce a winning ticket.

Total points

No real explanation is needed. NJ sportsbooks set an over/under line, or total points, for each game. The bettor simply decides which side of the line to play.


Parlays bring an added challenge to the sports betting game as they can range from two legs to 10-plus.

Each leg of the bet is dependent on the other to produce a winning ticket. However, there are times where one of the legs ends in a tie. If that happens, the bettor will still receive a payout at reduced odds.


Teaser bets are a way to reduce the betting line, either reducing points on the favorite or adding them to the underdog. These wagers apply to two or more teams.

Some sites also offer Teaser+, courtesy of Kambi. DraftKings and SugarHouse use Kambi to power their sportsbooks. You can read more about Teaser+ here.

Prop bets

Prop bets are the more outside-the-box wagers. Player and team props (short for propositions) are offered for most sports. A certain player scoring 20 points or more or which team will score the first basket of the game are a couple of examples.

ncaa basketball bettingPlayer/Game props

NJ sportsbooks will make a variety of game and player prop bets available for NCAA games. The number of props available will also increase the closer to the Championship game it is.

Props are bets on the games within the game and on players achieving various statistical milestones.

Props vary but you can expect to see game props like an over/under on the largest lead by either, the total 3-point field goals by both teams, and moneyline odds on the team to make first 3-point shot.

You can also expect to see player props including an over/under on a specific player’s points, free throws made, and rebounds.

March Madness brackets

March Madness bracket contests and pools are the way most Americans bet on the NCAA tournament. It involves filling out a full bracket and picking winners for every one of the 63 games in the NCAA Tournament before it begins. There are also Second-Chance bracket contests allowing you to enter new brackets for later tournament rounds.

According to a study released by the American Gaming Association (AGA) in 2019, approximately 40 million people fill out a March Madness bracket every year. That’s around 16% of the country. The AGA also says those 40 million people will fill out 149 million brackets and spend $4.6 billion entering them in different pools and contests.

Brackets are quite different from game-by-game wagering on the NCAA Tournament. The latter allows you to be more selective in the teams you back and pay out based on posted odds rather than your standing against others.

With brackets, you either pay to enter your selections in a pool at the office, local bar, social club, or sportsbook, or submit it to a free-to-enter NCAA Tournament bracket contest.

Either way, you must pick more winners than just about anyone else in the pool to get paid. Contest and pool payouts range from winner take all to a small percentage of the top entries earning money. This makes it very tough to win money in bracket contests, particularly the free-to-enter contests with thousands of entries from across the US.

Early upsets will bust a lot of brackets. If a team you back to go deep goes out in the first or second round, you’ll quickly end up with too many losses in your bracket to compete.

Best free March Madness bracket contests

Many of the top NJ sportsbook apps now run free-to-play NCAA Tournament bracket contests annually.

draftkings march madness bracket contestsDraftKings Bracket Challenges

DraftKings jumped in the free NCAA bracket contest game in 2019 with a free-to-play bracket contest open to anyone in the country offering up $64,000 in prizes. The top 6,475 places got paid and there was a $5,000 first prize.

DraftKings will  run a free $16,000 Second-Chance Bracket contest for those who are out of the running in the big one after the first two rounds.

DraftKings will also run a free $250,000 Survivor Pool where you must pick a winning team on each day to advance.

Note: DraftKings free-to-play March Madness contests are open to anyone in the US.

FanDuel Bracket Madness

The $250,000 Bracket Madness contest on FanDuel Sportsbook in 2019 was among the richest free-to-play NCAA Tournament bracket contests in the country. The best bracket won a $100,000 first prize while second-place walked away with $50,000. The top 1,000 finishers also won various cash prizes.

FanDuel’s 2021 Bracket Challenge is yet to be announced.

How to build your first March Madness bracket

The unpredictability of bracket betting aside, there’s no doubt it’s one of the most fun ways to bet on March Madness. Whether this is your first bracket or your 100th, the following five basic March Madness bracket building tips tend to hold true:

1. Trust the odds

NJ online and mobile sportsbooks post futures odds for every team and moneyline point spread lines for (virtually) every game. This information can actually give you some help in filling out a bracket.

The lines are posted by oddsmakers with in-depth knowledge about the world of college basketball betting and you can lean on these NCAA experts to help you make your picks.

They aren’t always right, but they’re not often way wrong. You can feel confident in using the information available at NJ sports betting apps to help you make the majority of your March Madness picks.

Just look for the teams that oddsmakers have as massive first-round favorites, or favorites to win it all, then pencil them into the second or third round at the very least.

2. Trust the seeding early

Before 2018, no top seed had ever lost to a No. 16 seed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Maryland-Baltimore County win over Virginia in 2018 broke a 135-game winning streak for No. 1 seeds and proved March Madness miracles can happen.

However, it also highlighted how rare those miracles are. The truth is:

  • The top four seeds almost always win in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament

You never want to ignore this when filling out our March Madness brackets.

3. Look out for the No. 12 seed

The No. 5 vs. No. 12 first round match up has proven to be a bit of a statistical anomaly in the NCAA Tournament. No. 12 seeds actually win more than statistically expected in these games. There have been 47 12 seed over 5 seed upsets since the NCAA tournament field expanded in 1985. Out of 136 total games, that puts the #12 seed win rate at 35%.

The No. 10 and No. 11 seeds often fill Cinderella’s glass slipper in the early rounds as well.

Part of filling out a winning bracket is picking upsets. You can’t just pick the higher seed to win all the way through and expect to win a contest or pool. The trick is to find the real opportunities for big upsets and the No. 12, No. 11, and No. 10 seeds are often a good place to start.

4. Heat check

Look for lower seeded teams that have truly played their way into the NCAA Tournament by upsetting a perennial favorite to win a conference tournament title.

Momentum is real in the NCAA Tournament, so look for hot teams that are playing above their heads to continue to win through the early rounds of the tournament at least.

5. Trust the seeding late

Historically, the higher-seeded team wins almost 75% of the time in the Final Four.

When it comes time to fill out the last few games in your bracket, take a look back at the seeding to give you an idea of who the real favorites are.

2021 March Madness schedule

March Madness will run three weekends in a row from March 16 (First Four) to April 5 (Championship Game). Due to COVID-19 restrictions, it has been announced by the NCAA that all 2021 basketball tournament games will be played in Indianapolis and surrounding areas. Here’s a look at the complete NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament schedule:

March 14Selection SundayIndianapolis, Indianan/a
March 16-17First FourIndianapolis, IndianaTBD
March 18-20First and second round Indianapolis, IndianaTBD
March 18-20First and second round Indianapolis, IndianaTBD
March 18-20First and second round Indianapolis, IndianaTBD
March 18-20First and second round Indianapolis, IndianaTBD
March 19-21First and second round Indianapolis, IndianaTBD
March 19-21First and second round Indianapolis, IndianaTBD
March 19-21First and second round Indianapolis, IndianaTBD
March 19-21First and second round Indianapolis, IndianaTBD
March 25-27Midwest RegionalIndianapolis, IndianaTBD
March 25-27West RegionalIndianapolis, IndianaTBD
March 26-28 South RegionalIndianapolis, IndianaTBD
March 26-28 East RegionalIndianapolis, IndianaTBD
April 3-5Final FourIndianapolis, IndianaLucas Oil Stadium

Where can I stream March Madness in NJ

All of the games will be shown live on CBS, TNT, TBS, and TruTV. The March Madness Live app is available for iOS and Android devices. The games will be streaming on, as well.

New Jersey is home to 10 retail sportsbooks that will be showing all of the tournament games.

  • Network: CBS
  • Network streaming: CBS All Access,, and CBS Sports app via phone, tablet, and connected TV devices (Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Chromecast)
  • Streaming services (varies by market): DirecTV Now, FuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV

How does Selection Sunday work?

There are 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament. The field is made up of 32 teams that earn automatic bids by winning their respective conference tournaments. The other 36 teams are given at-large bids on Selection Sunday, which falls on March 14 this year.

Online NBA Sports BettingThe NCAA Selection Committee is uses a system called NET to select the 36 teams at-large bids.

The NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) relies on data to rank teams from across the country and the NCAA Selection Committee gives the top 36 ranking non-conference tournament winners the at-large bids. The data includes:

  • Game results
  • Strength of schedule
  • Game location
  • Scoring margin
  • Net offensive and defensive efficiency,
  • Quality of wins and losses

The NCAA then ranks all 68 teams and the eight lowest teams face off in the First Four games on March 16 and 17. The winners advance to the first round. First and second-round games will take place on March 18-21, 2021.

March Madness in NJ

NJ Sportsbooks are forbidden by law to take bets on college basketball games in New Jersey or involving NJ-based schools. That means if an NJ team makes the NCAA Tournament its games are off the board and removed from all brackets. You simply cannot bet on these games or these teams in NJ.

march madness betting new jerseyThere are seven NJ colleges and universities that have NCAA Division I men’s basketball programs, including:

  • NJIT Highlanders: New Jersey Institute of Technology NJIT (Newark, NJ)
  • Princeton Tigers: Princeton University (Montgomery, NJ)
  • Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)
  • Monmouth Hawks: Monmouth University (West Long Branch, NJ)
  • Rider Broncs: Rider University (Trenton, NJ)
  • Fairleigh Dickinson Knights: Fairleigh Dickinson University (Madison, NJ)
  • Saint Peter’s Peacocks: Saint Peter’s University (Jersey City, NJ)
  • Seton Hall Pirates: Seton Hall University (South Orange, NJ)

Where can I bet on March Madness in New Jersey?

Eight of the nine Atlantic City casinos have retail sportsbooks up and running. Learn more about March Madness in Atlantic City here.

Caesars’ customers can place bets at The Book at Bally’s (Caesars Sportsbook is available for mobile/online platforms). The sister properties are connected.

Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands Racetrack each have a sportsbook, too. Those watching the games from home, and as long as you are in NJ, can place their bets using one of 17 NJ sportsbook apps.

NJ online sportsbooks

Online SportsbookLand-Based AffiliateSports betting partner(s)iOS appAndroid appAvailable Bonus
DraftKingsResorts ACKambiYesYes$25 In Free Bets
William HillMonmouthNAYesYes$50 Free Bet
Fox Bet
Resorts ACNAYesYesUp to $500 Risk-Free Bet
FanDuelMeadowlandsBetfair/IGTYesYesUp to $1,000 Risk-Free Bet
PointsBetMeadowlandsNAYesYesUp to $250 In Free Bets
Caesars SportsbookCaesars ACScientific GamesYesYes$10 free
BetMGM SportsBorgata ACIGTYesYes$500 Deposit Match
SugarHouseMonmouth ParkKambiYesYesUp to $250
Golden Nugget sportsbookGolden NuggetSBTech/Scientific GamesYesYesUp to $100 Risk-Free Bet
888 SportCaesarsKambiYesYesUp to $500 Risk-Free Bet
Hard RockHard Rock ACGiGYes Yes$100 free bet
ResortsResorts ACSBTechYesYesUp to $250 match bet
BetAmericaGolden NuggetSBTechYesYes100% up to $500
Borgata SportsBorgata ACGVCYesYes$100 In Free Bets
Bet365 NJHard Rock ACNAYesYesUp to $100 match bet
TheScore BetMonmouthBet.WorksYesYesUp to $100 match bet
Unibet SportsbookHard Rock ACNAYesYes$30 + Up to $600 Risk-Free Bet
Wynn SportsCaesars ACGPGS/Sci GamesYesYesNA

NJ sportsbook locations

Casino/racetrackSportsbookSports betting partner(s)Open?
BorgataBorgata Race & Sports BarIGTYes
ResortsDraftKings Sportsbook at ResortsDraftKings/Kambi; SBTechYes
Ocean ResortWilliam Hill Sportsbook @ Ocean ResortWilliam HillYes
Monmouth ParkMonmouth Park Sports Book by William HillWilliam HillYes
MeadowlandsFanDuel SportsbookBetfair/FanDuel/IGTYes
Harrah'sThe BookScientific GamesYes
Hard RockHard Rock SportsbookGiGYes
Golden NuggetThe SportsbookSBTechYes
Bally'sWild Wild West SportsbookScientific GamesYes
TropicanaWilliam Hill Sports Book at Tropicana Atlantic CityWilliam HillYes

March Madness FAQ

When do March Madness brackets come out?

Selection Sunday is on March 14, 2021, after which you’ll be able to find the official and printable 2021 NCAA bracket for March Madness on the NCAA website.

Most contests and pools wll start taking entries almost right away with March Madness brackets due ahead of the First Round tip off on Thursday, March 18.

How many March Madness brackets are filled out each year?

It is estimated that some 10% of Americans fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket and enter it into some type of pool or contest. That’s around 32 million people filling out brackets.

With the average American filling out more than one, the American Gaming Association estimates 70 million brackets are filled out annually.

Has anyone ever had a perfect March Madness bracket?

According to the NCAA, no one has ever had a perfect March Madness bracket. At least one that has been verified.

The NCAA released a story on its website in 2019 about the longest a bracket has ever stayed perfect. The longest streak to start March Madness now stands at 49 after an Ohio man correctly predicted the results of the entire 2019 NCAA tournament into the Sweet 16.

The bracket busted in Game 50 when Purdue (3) beat Tennessee (2) 99-94 in overtime.

What are the odds of picking a perfect bracket?

The NCAA estimates the odds of picking a perfect 63-game NCAA bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Although, that assumes every game is a 50-50 coin flip.

A DePaul professor once said that injecting a little NCAA men’s basketball knowledge into the equation drops the odds of picking a perfect bracket down to 1 in 28 billion. He also said if every person on the planet filled out a bracket per minute, it would take more than 2,000 years to get to 9.2 quintillion and the perfect bracket.

Famously, wealthy investor Warren Buffett runs an annual March Madness bracket contest promising to give away $1 million a year for life to any Berkshire Hathaway employee who can pick a perfect Sweet 16 in the tourney.

Where is the 2021 March Madness Final Four?

The 2021 NCAA Final Four is set for April 3 and 5, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. The games will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The National Semifinals tip off April 3 and the National Championship game is on April 5.

Who are the last 10 NCAA Basketball Champions?

  • 2020: Cancelled due to COVID-19
  • 2019: Virginia
  • 2018: Villanova
  • 2017: North Carolina
  • 2016: Villanova
  • 2015: Duke
  • 2014: Connecticut
  • 2013: Louisville*
  • 2012: Kentucky
  • 2011:  Connecticut

*Louisville’s participation in the 2013 tournament was later vacated by the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

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