The New Jersey sports betting calendar is packed with big events and that includes the NCAA Tournament.
Sixty-eight teams spread across four regions — East, South, Midwest, and West — compete in a single-elimination format spread over three long weekends. Right after the field is set, the majority of us start filling out the tournament bracket in hopes of being the last one standing in the office pool.
The 2019 March Madness event ended with No. 1 Virginia being crowned champion after a battle with No. 3 Texas Tech.
In the Garden State, March Madness has a whole new level of excitement as we prep for the 2020 March Madness field. As always wagers can be placed on any of the teams as long as the school does not call New Jersey home.
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|
|Betstars||Resorts AC||NA||Yes||Yes||$20 + Up to $100 free cash|
|FanDuel||Meadowlands||Betfair/IGT||Yes||Yes||$500 match 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||$25 free|
|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|
|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|
As mentioned, there are 68 spots.
The field consists of 32 teams that will earn automatic bids by virtue of winning their respective conference tournament.
The other 36 at-large bids were announced on Selection Sunday on March 17 (broadcast live on CBS). The NCAA Selection Committee looks at the full body of work such as the strength of schedule and win-loss record.
Eight of the selected teams play in the First Four games on March 19 and 20 in Dayton, Ohio. First and second-round games will take place on March 21-24.
Virginia, Michigan St., Texas Tech and Auburn will play in the Final Four for a chance at the 2019 NCAA championship game. Here is the Final Four and title game schedule (all times are ET):
|#1 Virginia vs. #5 Auburn||6:09 p.m.||April 6||CBS||Minneapolis|
|#2 Michigan St. vs. #3 Texas Tech||8:49 p.m.||April 6||CBS||Minneapolis|
|National Championship||9 p.m.||April 8||CBS||Minneapolis|
Here is the full schedule for the NCAA basketball tournament:
|Selection Sunday||N/A||March 17|
|First Four||Dayton, Ohio||March 19-20|
|1st/2nd Rounds||Hartford, Conn.||March 21-23|
|1st/2nd Rounds||Salt Lake City, Utah||March 21-23|
|1st/2nd Rounds||Des Moines, Iowa||March 21-23|
|1st/2nd Rounds||Jacksonville, Fla.||March 21-23|
|1st/2nd Rounds||Tulsa, Okla.||March 22-24|
|1st/2nd Rounds||Columbus, Ohio||March 22-24|
|1st/2nd Rounds||Columbia, S.C.||March 22-24|
|1st/2nd Rounds||San Jose, Calif.||March 22-24|
|South Regional||Louisville, Ky.||March 28-30|
|West Regional||Anaheim, Calif.||March 28-30|
|East Regional||Washington, D.C.||March 29-31|
|Midwest Regional||Kansas City, Mo.||March 29-31|
|Final Four||Minneapolis, Minn.||April 6|
|National Championship||Minneapolis, Minn.||April 8|
The big question is will you be watching the NCAA Tournament games at the office or cashing in one of those sick days to take advantage of the NJ sports betting action in AC?
If you go with the latter, the toughest part may be deciding how to bet. March Madness has a reputation for producing Cinderella stories.
Here is a rundown of the different wagering options:
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.
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.
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 wager 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.
These 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.
There is no need to wait for the teams to be announced on Selection Sunday.
Look into the NCAA Tournament crystal ball and predict which school will be the last team standing. All of the NJ online sportsbooks and retail locations are currently offering future odds on the April 8 National Championship game winner.
Looking at the FanDuel Sportsbook, the Duke Blue Devils are currently the big favorite at +180. Gonzaga is a distant second at +750. The biggest long shot on the board is University of Maryland Baltimore County (+49,000).
DraftKings Sportsbook introduced a Brackets contest available in New Jersey and beyond for 2019. The NJ-only contest requires a $20 buy-in and $100,000 in cash prizes. The free-to-enter nationwide bracket contest has $64,000 in cash prizes up for grabs.
FanDuel, Caesars, PointsBet, and SugarHouse also had free-to-play bracket contests available up until the tournament began. It is likely that bracket contests will return for 2020 March Madness, too.
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 2019.
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.
The first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament come with plenty of nail-biting drama. How many No. 12 seeds will knock out a No. 5 seed? Better yet, could we see a repeat of last season when the unheard of happened: a No. 16 seed, UMBC, knock off a No. 1 seed, University of Virginia?
In terms of tournament matchups, the opening round is the only time the bettor will know days in advance exactly who is playing.
The big difference here is the team’s strength of conference schedule carries more weight. In last year’s Sweet 16, seven of the eight winners came from the bigger Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12 conferences.
But in college basketball, teams spend the whole season preparing for the tournament.
Those with momentum are worthy of some consideration. Loyola Chicago from the smaller Missouri Valley Conference was a No. 11 seed in last year’s tournament and made it all the way to the Final Four.
There will only be four teams making the trip to Minneapolis on April 6, and there is a chance all four No. 1 seeds will still be standing.
Fewer and fewer opportunities for advantage gambling exist when it gets down to the final three games. This may be the time shop around for a favorable line at the mobile and retail sportsbooks in NJ. Patience can be key, too.
But there are other factors to consider here, too. Unless the University of Minnesota makes it to the Final Four, this will be considered a road game for every team.
Take a look at how each team has played on the road this season. Does one squad have a rebounding advantage over the other? Take the time to review each team’s schedule and see if there are common opponents and how they fared against one another.
The 68 teams are revealed on Selection Sunday (March 15, 2020) live on TV.
The First Four, or play-in games, are taking place March 17-18 in Dayton, Ohio.
Currently, FanDuel Sportsbook has futures odds up for the 2020 NCAA National Championship. Here’s how it breaks down for the top four teams expected to be in the tournament:
*Louisville’s participation in the 2013 tournament was later vacated by the NCAA Committee on Infractions.