It’s finally March! This means the madness games will finally start for nationwide fans to see, and 68 college basketball teams will compete over a few weeks. Here, each team will play against each other in a single-elimination tournament to win the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I.
From the first game until the final playoffs in April, you’ll get to try your hand at guessing the winners for each round. You could even make choices based on objective and in-depth knowledge of each roster. Nevertheless, betting takes risks and even a little strategy, so here are the five best ones to try:
Don’t Forget Matchups Compared to Metrics
Aside from March Madness odds, bettors use metrics as a benchmark to compare the efficiency of every individual player. You could measure a player’s value with statistics on their rebounds, assists, points, steals, blocks, shot attempts, and even turnovers. Although these numbers talk for themselves and are great interpretations for your betting strategy, you shouldn’t neglect the team matchup.
Since basketball is a team game, the team with the better flow among each other also has the upper hand against the team that doesn’t. Moreover, team matchups greatly influence who wins, especially if the two teams have similar playing styles.
Although you also need to think about metrics, you should never forget matchups when making your final choice. It’s best to look up how each team performs defense and offense and to think about how they would perform against their matchup. When in doubt, it’s always best to read up to better understand each team’s playing style.
Include the No. 1-Seed in Your Final Four.
The best strategy when placing your final bracket is to include at least one No. 1 seed in your Final Four. Seeds refer to the winning percentages of a team, which are based solely on their record. The team that earns the best record is referred to as the No. 1 seed; the next team that earns the second best record is the No. 2 seed, and so on.
By including one No. 1 seed, you finalize your bracket based on a historical perspective. You’ll notice that the past four champions from 2017 to 2019 were No. 1 seeds. The same goes for the national champions, Baylor Bears, in 2021, who defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs as the No. 1 seed.
You could even include another No. 1 seed in your bracket to have a 50% chance of winning if only one team makes it. It’s even better if multiple top seeds make it to the Final Four, as this gives you bigger chances of choosing the right team. Overall, going for the top teams in your final choices is never wrong.
Trust the Experience of the Coach
If you’re stuck on the matchup and metrics of two teams, it’s not wrong to go for the coach’s experience. Teams win the games, but the coach cooks up the winning strategy. Moreover, the head coach can be a difference, especially in tight-knit plays.
You could always go for well-known coaches like Jim Boeheim, who you’ll probably see at this year’s tournament. In his entire career, he has led Syracuse to appear in conference tournaments and regular seasons. His roster includes one National Title, five Final Four appearances, and three National Championship game appearances. Overall, you could always trust the team of an experienced coach whenever the game comes down to the wire.
Follow the Pool Rules
Since you’ve already learned about the matchup, metrics, seeds, and coach experience, it’s time to get on the betting per se. You should always follow the pool rules to make the most of your pick.
Since bracket administrators like to spice up the game and get creative with the rules, it’s best to familiarize yourself with such. Most pools are based on a point system that awards 1-2-4-8-16-21 for a correct pick in every consecutive round. However, some bracket pools differ, so don’t start making your picks until you understand your scoring system.
Watch Out for Cinderellas
If you don’t know what Cinderellas are, they are mostly referred to situations where a team performs better than what they’re expected to do. These plays gain fan attention and media coverage since they make quite the headlines.
In the 2022 NCAA Tournament, the No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s made the Cinderella story when the team reached the Elite Eight, becoming the first-ever team. Although that winning streak ended when the Saint Peter Peacocks were defeated by the No. 8 seed North Carolina, the team undoubtedly took on a historic status in NCAA history.
However, you should avoid taking too much risk and place a Cinderella team in your Final Four – since these teams come from the top seed lines. In contrast, you should be wary of them in the middle of the tournament and read up on each team’s performance.
With these five betting strategies, you already have what it takes to make an objective guess based on metrics and seed lines and even go with your gut by matchup. With such strategies, you can have fun with your betting and live watching during the games!