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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
There are essentially three ways you can bet on March Madness in NJ:
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:
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 2020 March Madness Futures Odds stack up at NJ online sportsbooks right now:
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.
Brackets 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 2020 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 2020 NCAA Tournament bets.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
Many of the top NJ sportsbook apps now run free-to-play NCAA Tournament bracket contests annually. Those who did in 2019 and are expected to do so in 2020 include:
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.
In 2020, 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.
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 2020 Bracket Challenge is yet to be announced.
Caesars Casino & Sports runs its own March Pick’Em Challenge. It’s a basic free-to-play bracket challenge offering prizes for the top 800 finishers, including a grand prize of a free $250 sports bet every week for a year. Second place gets a free $100 sports bet per week for a year and third wins a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada.
SugarHouse Sportsbook runs an exclusive NCAA tournament contest called March Mania. It’s a March Madness brackets contest with a promotional twist. It’s a free bracket contest with entrants earning SugarHouse Bonus Store Points for each correct pick. There’s also bonus prizes for the best brackets, including a $1,000 first prize. The top 100 finishers get paid.
Of course, there are also a number of other free March Madness bracket contests run around the country, including:
Yahoo! Sports and Subway ran the the Best Bracket Millionaire contest offering a $1 million prize for the best bracket in 2019. The contest was open to anyone in the US over 18 or the age of majority in their state of residence.
The ESPN Tournament Challenge offers up $22,950 in prizes in its free March Madness contest. The grand prize was a trip for two to the 2019 Maui Jim Maui Invitational in Hawaii last year.
Official NCAA tournament broadcaster CBS Sports had a bracket contest in 2019 offering the chance to win $10,000 and a trip to the 2020 NCAA Final Four.
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:
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.
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:
You never want to ignore this when filling out our March Madness brackets.
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.
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.
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.
March Madness will run three weekends in a row from March 17 (First Four) to April 6 (Championship Game). Here’s a look at the complete 2020 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament schedule:
New Jersey is home to 10 retail sportsbooks that will be showing all of the tournament games.
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 15 this year.
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:
The NCAA then ranks all 68 teams and the eight lowest teams face off in the First Four games on March 17 and 18 in Dayton, Ohio. The winners advance to the first round. First and second-round games will take place on March 19-22, 2020.
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.
There are seven NJ colleges and universities that have NCAA Division I men’s basketball programs, including:
The Seton Hall Pirates are the only NJ team in the AP Top 25 as of mid-February 2020. Seton Hall was ranked 10th in the country in the poll the week of Feb. 10, 2020.
In 2019, the Seton Hall Pirates lost to Villanova by two points in the Big East Tournament final. The NCAA still gave Seton Hall an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Seton Hall was a No. 10 seed in the Midwest Region and lost to No. 7 Wofford in the First Round.
The Fairleigh Dickinson Knights tied for first in the Northeast Conference in 2019 and beat Saint Francis to win the NEC Tournament Championship. The Knights received the NEC’s automatic bid to the the NCAA Tournament and beat Prairie View A&M in a First Four game to advance to the First Round. There, Fairleigh Dickinson lost to a No. 1 seeded Gonzaga team. The Knights have only appeared in six NCAA Tournaments.
Princeton has appeared in 25 NCAA Tournaments. The last time was 2017. Monmouth University has appeared in four NCAA Division Tournaments. The last time was in 2006 when it won a First Four game.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights have only appeared in the NCAA Tournament six times. The last time was 1991. Rider has only appeared in the NCAA Tournament three times, 1984, 1993, and 1994. The school has never won an NCAA Tournament game.
Saint Peter’s has only appeared in the NCAA Tournament three times, 1991, 1995, and 2011. The school has never won an NCAA Tournament game.
The NJIT’s Men’s basketball program only started competing in the NCAA’s Division I in 2006. The team lost an NCAA record 51 games in a row from 2007 to 2009 and has never appeared in an NCAA Tournament.
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.
|Online Sportsbook||Land-Based Affiliate||Sports betting partner(s)||iOS app||Android app||Available Bonus|
|DraftKings||Resorts AC||Kambi||Yes||Yes||$25 in free bets|
|William Hill||Monmouth||NA||Yes||Yes||$50 free bet|
|Fox Bet||Resorts AC||NA||Yes||Yes||$20 + Up to $100 free cash|
|FanDuel||Meadowlands||Betfair/IGT||Yes||Yes||Up to $1,000 risk-free bet|
|PointsBet||Meadowlands||NA||Yes||Yes||2x up to $500 free bets|
|Caesars||Caesars AC||Scientific Games||Yes||Yes||$10 free|
|BetMGM Sports||Borgata AC||IGT||Yes||Yes||$500 deposit match|
|SugarHouse||Monmouth Park||Kambi||Yes||Yes||Up to $250|
|Golden Nugget sportsbook||Golden Nugget||SBTech/Scientific Games||Yes||Yes||Up to $50 risk-free bet|
|888 Sport||Caesars||Kambi||Yes||Yes||$10 free|
|Hard Rock||Hard Rock AC||GiG||Yes||Yes||$100 free bet|
|Resorts||Resorts AC||SBTech||Yes||Yes||Up to $250 match bet|
|BetAmerica||Golden Nugget||SBTech||Yes||Yes||100% up to $500|
|Borgata Sports||Borgata AC||GVC||Yes||Yes||Up to $250 risk-free bet|
|Bet365 NJ||Hard Rock AC||NA||Yes||Yes||Up to $100 match bet|
|TheScore Bet||Monmouth||Bet.Works||Yes||Yes||Up to $100 match bet|
|Unibet Sportsbook||Hard Rock AC||NA||Yes||Yes||$20 + Up to $250 risk-free bet|
|Wynn Sports||Caesars AC||GPGS/Sci Games||Yes||Yes||NA|
|Casino/racetrack||Sportsbook||Sports betting partner(s)||Open?|
|Borgata||Borgata Race & Sports Bar||IGT||Yes|
|Resorts||DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts||DraftKings/Kambi; SBTech||Yes|
|Ocean Resort||William Hill Sportsbook @ Ocean Resort||William Hill||Yes|
|Monmouth Park||Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill||William Hill||Yes|
|Harrah's||The Book||Scientific Games||Yes|
|Hard Rock||Hard Rock Sportsbook||GiG||Yes|
|Golden Nugget||The Sportsbook||SBTech||Yes|
|Bally's||Wild Wild West Sportsbook||Scientific Games||Yes|
|Tropicana||William Hill Sports Book at Tropicana Atlantic City||William Hill||Yes|
Unlike the Super Bowl where it comes down to one game, March Madness betting is spread over several weeks with a sports betting handle that will easily top the $34,894,900 wagered on Super Bowl betting in NJ. Here are some March Madness betting trends that help paint a picture of how big this sports betting event really is:
With sports betting now legal in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, Mississippi, among others, it will be interesting to see how that percent is impacted in 2020. Here is another eye-catching figure: The number of people who place at least one bet on NCAA tournament games could be over 100 million, says Forbes Magazine.
Selection Sunday is on March 15, 2020, after which you’ll be able to find the official and printable 2020 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 19.
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.
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 last year.
The bracket busted in Game 50 when Purdue (3) beat Tennessee (2) 99-94 in overtime.
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.
The 2020 NCAA Final Four is set for April 4 and 6, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. The games will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The National Semifinals tip off April 4 and the National Championship game is on April 6.
*Louisville’s participation in the 2013 tournament was later vacated by the NCAA Committee on Infractions.