March Madness 2024: The Conscious Bettor's Handbook

Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Fact checked by:
Paruyr Shahbazyan
Last Updated: Mar 20, 2024, 10:05 AM

March Madness 2024 Schedule

Here is the full schedule for this season's 2024 NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Selection SundaySunday, March 17N/A
First FourMarch 19-20Dayton, Ohio
First roundMarch 21-22Nationwide
Second roundMarch 23-24Nationwide
Sweet 16March 28-29Boston/Dallas
Elite EightMarch 30-31Boston/Dallas
Final FourSaturday, April 6State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
NCAA championship gameMonday, April 8State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona

March Madness Bonuses

During March Madness, many sportsbooks and betting platforms offer promotions and bonuses specifically tailored to the event. These bonuses are designed to attract new users and engage existing customers, providing them with additional value or opportunities to enhance their betting experience throughout the tournament. An insightful resource for this purpose is the article on Best NCAA Sportsbook Bonuses in March 2024, which offers a detailed look at the top bonuses available, helping bettors to navigate the array of options and enhance their March Madness experience.

Types of Bonuses

Welcome Bonuses: New users may find welcome bonuses upon signing up for a sportsbook, often in the form of free bets or deposit matches specifically for March Madness.

  • Deposit Matches: Some platforms may offer to match a percentage of a user's deposit with bonus funds, which can be used to place additional bets during the tournament.
  • Free Bets: Bettors might receive free bets as a promotion during March Madness, allowing them to wager on games without risking their own money.
  • Loyalty Rewards: Regular users may benefit from loyalty or VIP programs, receiving March Madness-specific rewards based on their betting activity.

Responsible Use of Bonuses

While bonuses can add to the excitement of betting on March Madness, it is important to use them responsibly. Bettors should consider their own financial situation and betting habits, making use of bonuses in a way that is consistent with responsible gambling practices.

The Impact of Gambling

While betting adds an element of excitement for some fans, it's important to recognize its potential impact. The economic benefits, including increased engagement and viewership, are significant. However, the social implications, such as the risk of gambling addiction, necessitate a balanced and cautious approach to betting activities associated with the tournament.

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Betting on March Madness: A Responsible Approach

The excitement of March Madness reaches far beyond the basketball court, drawing in not just fans of the game but also those who enjoy the thrill of sports betting. The unpredictable outcomes and the sheer unpredictability of the tournament make it an especially appealing time for placing bets, whether through the tradition of filling out brackets or by betting on individual games. With this heightened interest, it's essential to engage in betting activities responsibly. For those looking to participate in betting this March 2024, selecting a reputable platform is key. A resourceful guide to the Best NCAA Basketball Sportsbooks in March 2024 can provide valuable insights, helping you make informed decisions while emphasizing the importance of caution and responsibility in gambling activities.

March Madness Betting Types

Before placing bets, it's important to understand the different types of betting options available during the tournament. The point spread is a common bet that involves predicting the margin of victory. Moneyline bets focus on the outright winner of a match, while Over/Under bets pertain to the total points scored in a game.

Prop bets offer a way to wager on specific outcomes within a game, such as which player will score the first basket, while Futures involve long-term predictions, such as which team will win the tournament.

Strategies for Responsible Betting

Responsible gambling involves setting clear limits on the amount of money and time spent on gambling activities. It's about ensuring that gambling does not cause financial harm, affect your relationships, or negatively impact your life in any other way. 

The median household income in the U.S. is approximately $68,000 per year before taxes. After taxes, depending on the state and other deductions, this might be around $50,000 to $55,000 in take-home pay for many households. Financial advisors often recommend allocating no more than 10% of your monthly income to "fun" or discretionary spending, which includes entertainment, dining out, hobbies, and potentially gambling.

  • Set a Budget: Determine an amount you're comfortable losing and stick to it.
  • Educate Yourself: Understand the odds and the nature of the bets you're placing.
  • Know When to Stop: Recognize when betting is no longer enjoyable and take necessary steps to pause or seek help.

Gambling should never compromise financial stability or personal well-being. Many resources are available to those who need assistance or advice on gambling responsibly.

Choosing the Right Sportsbook for March Madness

When it comes to betting on March Madness, the landscape is rich with options, offering a variety of experiences tailored to different preferences. Among the notable sportsbooks, DraftKings, FanDuel, ESPN BET, and BetMGM stand out for their coverage, interface, and market variety. Each platform brings its own approach to facilitating bets on the highly anticipated NCAA tournament, catering to a wide audience of sports betting enthusiasts.

  • DraftKings is known for its comprehensive market coverage and a user-friendly interface, making it easy for both newcomers and seasoned bettors to navigate through the vast selection of betting options available during March Madness.
  • FanDuel, on the other hand, offers a streamlined betting experience, with competitive odds and a clear layout that simplifies the process of placing bets on your favorite teams or predicting outcomes of the games.
  • ESPN BET integrates sports betting with insightful analysis and up-to-date sports news, providing bettors with valuable information that can influence betting strategies and decisions during the tournament.
  • Lastly, BetMGM brings a solid reputation for reliability and quality service, complemented by a wide range of betting options that cater to various interests and preferences within the March Madness betting community.

Choosing the right platform depends on individual preferences, including the type of bets one is looking to place, the ease of use of the platform, and the kind of customer service experience one expects. Each of these sportsbooks offers a unique betting environment, ensuring that bettors have access to a diverse set of options to enhance their March Madness experience.

What is March Madness

March Madness, formally known as the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, stands as a pinnacle of collegiate athletics, captivating millions of fans across the United States and around the world each spring. This annual basketball tournament, rich in history and tradition, has evolved from its modest beginnings into one of the most eagerly anticipated sporting events on the calendar.

History and Overview

The inception of March Madness dates back to 1939, orchestrated by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and led by Ohio State University coach Harold Olsen. Initially featuring just eight teams, the tournament has expanded over the decades to include 68 teams, reflecting its growth in popularity and competitive breadth. The term "March Madness," originally coined by Henry V. Porter in 1939 to describe a high school basketball tournament, was later adopted by the college tournament, largely due to its use by CBS broadcaster Brent Musburger during the 1980s. This moniker now universally symbolizes the excitement and unpredictability that envelop the tournament's single-elimination format.

The Tournament Structure

March Madness is distinctive for its single-elimination format, where teams must win each game to advance, culminating in the National Championship. The tournament kicks off with the First Four, a series of games that determine the final slots in the 64-team bracket. From there, teams compete across several rounds: the First Round, Second Round, Sweet 16, Elite Eight, and the Final Four, leading up to the Championship Game. This structure ensures that every match is played with high stakes, contributing to the unpredictable and thrilling nature of the tournament.

Importance in American Culture

March Madness has transcended its status as a mere sports event to become a cultural phenomenon. It draws in a diverse audience, from die-hard basketball fans to casual viewers, many of whom partake in the tradition of filling out tournament brackets. This practice involves predicting the outcomes of all games, a challenge that adds an engaging layer of participation. Furthermore, the tournament has a significant economic impact, from filling arenas to boosting sales in sports bars and increasing productivity losses in workplaces due to game-watching and bracket discussions. The American Gaming Association has estimated that millions of Americans participate in bracket pools or place bets on the tournament, underscoring its widespread appeal and economic significance.

The convergence of elite college basketball talent, passionate fanbases, and the inherent drama of a single-elimination tournament has cemented March Madness as a hallmark event in American sports. Its ability to create heroes, forge legends, and deliver moments of unparalleled excitement speaks to the heart of why sports matter to so many — a testament to the human spirit's love for competition, community, and the unpredictable joy found in the game of basketball.

How are the teams selected at March Madness?

The process of team selection for March Madness involves a blend of automatic qualifications and at-large bids, meticulously orchestrated by the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Committee. This committee plays a pivotal role in shaping the tournament's competitive landscape, ensuring a diverse representation of teams, and managing the seeding that defines the path to the championship.

Automatic Qualifiers

Each of the 32 Division I conferences awards an automatic bid to the team that emerges victorious in their postseason conference tournament. This method of qualification underscores the significance of conference tournaments, providing every team, irrespective of their regular-season performance, with a shot at NCAA glory. These automatic qualifiers embody the spirit of opportunity within collegiate athletics, offering a direct route to the national stage for teams that can seize their moment in the conference spotlight.

At-Large Bids

Beyond the automatic bids, the Selection Committee is tasked with extending invitations to 36 additional teams to fill the at-large berths. This selection occurs on Selection Sunday, a day marked by anticipation and analysis across the college basketball landscape. The committee, comprised of seasoned school and conference administrators, reviews comprehensive performance data from the season to determine which teams possess the requisite pedigree for tournament participation.

The Selection Committee's Role and Process

The NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Committee's responsibilities extend beyond selecting at-large teams. They are charged with seeding and bracketing the entire field, a complex process that balances objective data with nuanced judgment. While there is no rigid formula for at-large selections, the committee considers a myriad of factors, including win-loss records, strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups, and various statistical rankings.

Seeding and Bracketing

Upon finalizing the tournament field, the committee assigns each team a seed, ranking them 1 through 68 based on overall performance metrics. This seeding not only recognizes the accomplishments of the top teams but also sets the stage for the tournament's structure. The initial 68-team lineup includes the First Four round, which narrows the field to 64 teams for the first round of play.

Teams are then distributed across four regional brackets, with seeds 1 through 16 in each region. The seeding aims to reward higher-ranked teams with theoretically easier matchups in the early rounds, adhering to the principle that success during the regular season and conference tournaments should afford teams a favorable position in the national tournament.

The Path to the Championship

The tournament's single-elimination format amplifies the significance of seeding, as each game decisively impacts a team's continuation in the quest for the championship. First-round matchups are strategically set to pit higher-seeded teams against lower-seeded opponents, theoretically easing the path for top contenders while inviting the possibility of upsets that define March Madness's unpredictable charm.

Through this meticulous selection and seeding process, the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Committee crafts a tournament field that encapsulates the competitive spirit of college basketball, setting the stage for a three-week spectacle of athleticism, strategy, and heart-stopping moments that capture the imagination of fans nationwide.

March Madness Teams and Titles

The NCAA Tournament has seen a myriad of teams claim the national championship since its inception. Each year, the tournament provides a platform for college basketball's elite to etch their names into sports history. The stories of past champions, from dominant dynasties to Cinderella stories, form the rich history that makes March Madness a spectacle.

Historical Champions

UCLA holds the record for the most NCAA Men's Basketball Championships, with 11 titles under their belt, a testament to the Bruins' dominance in the 1960s and 1970s under the legendary coach John Wooden. Wooden's tenure at UCLA is renowned for not just the number of championships won but also for the way his teams played the game, emphasizing teamwork, discipline, and the famed "Pyramid of Success."

Following UCLA, the University of Kentucky Wildcats have secured eight titles, showcasing their long-standing tradition of excellence in college basketball. The Wildcats' success spans several decades, illustrating the program's ability to adapt and thrive across different eras of the sport.

Duke University and the University of North Carolina, two storied rivals located within close proximity in the heart of North Carolina, have each claimed multiple national titles as well, adding fuel to one of the most passionate rivalries in all of sports.

Notable Records

March Madness is also a stage for individual brilliance and team excellence. The tournament has witnessed numerous record-setting performances that have become a part of basketball lore. For instance, Austin Carr holds the record for the most points in a single tournament game with 61 points for Notre Dame in 1970. Meanwhile, the University of Kentucky boasts the highest overall number of tournament appearances, a testament to the program's consistent excellence.

Memorable Moments

March Madness has given fans countless unforgettable moments, from buzzer-beaters to monumental upsets. Perhaps no moment is more iconic than the 1983 Championship Game, where North Carolina State, led by coach Jim Valvano, defeated the heavily favored Houston Cougars in a stunning upset, culminating in Valvano's joyous and bewildered dash across the court in celebration.

Another landmark moment occurred in 2018 when the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), a 16th seed, defeated the top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers, marking the first time in tournament history that a 16th seed had beaten a 1 seed. This upset shattered the notion of invincibility surrounding top-seeded teams and encapsulated the unpredictable excitement of March Madness.

Participating in March Madness Without Betting

March Madness offers numerous ways to engage with the tournament beyond gambling.

Bracket Challenges

One of the most popular traditions is participating in bracket challenges. Fans attempt to predict the outcome of all 67 games, a feat that has never been perfectly achieved. These challenges often foster camaraderie and friendly competition among friends, family, and coworkers. 

The likelihood of achieving a perfect bracket in March Madness is astonishingly low. When selections are made randomly or by flipping a coin, the odds stand at approximately 1 in 9.2 quintillion. However, if one applies even a basic understanding of basketball—such as avoiding the choice of all 16 seeds advancing to the Final Four—the odds improve significantly, though they remain daunting at about 1 in 120.2 billion.

Enjoying the Games

Simply watching the games and supporting your favorite team or alma mater can be immensely rewarding. Hosting or attending viewing parties, engaging in discussions on social media, and following your team's journey through the tournament are all ways to enjoy March Madness to the fullest.


March Madness encapsulates the excitement, unpredictability, and passion of college basketball. From historic championships and memorable upsets to the personal stories of players and coaches, the tournament offers something for everyone. Whether you're a die-hard fan, a casual observer, or someone who enjoys the thrill of betting, March Madness provides a unique and unifying experience that highlights the best of collegiate athletics. As we celebrate this annual tradition, let's remember to enjoy the tournament responsibly, cherishing the moments that make March Madness a highlight of the sports calendar.

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Meet Our Authors

Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Sol Fayerman-Hansen

Sol's interest in sports was sparked at a young age, inspired by athletes such as Barry Sanders, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretzky. This early fascination evolved into a deep-seated passion, guiding him toward a career in sports journalism in 2007. Over the years, Sol has contributed numerous articles and reviews to various online platforms, sharing his knowledge and perspectives.

Central to Sol's approach is his dedication to honesty, especially regarding sports betting platforms. He believes in providing bettors with straightforward and detailed reviews, distinguishing his work by avoiding the often overly positive spin on bonus offers and promotions. His commitment to truthfulness has made his reviews a reliable source for those seeking authentic advice and information, thereby earning him a reputation for integrity among his readers.

“In the world of sports betting, truth is more valuable than any bonus offer.”

Content Manager, OnlineCasinoReports2012-2021
Sports Journalist, Dottraffic2009-2011
Content Writer, HouseTech2007-2009
Cristina Varela Galan
Cristina Varela Galan
Problem Gambling Expert

Cristina used to work as a Psychology Assistant in the Bizkaia Pathological and Risky Gamblers Association. She was also part of a research team in Deusto University, specializing in pathological gambling area. While working there, she managed to develop her own project 

 “Exploring the association between emotional regulation, alexithymia, stressful life events and gambling in adolescent and young adult women”.

Paruyr Shahbazyan began his business career in 2000 as a private entrepreneur. Over thirteen years, he developed a deep understanding for business and leadership, laying a solid foundation for his professional journey.

In 2013, Paruyr stepped into the sports and betting industry as the founder and president of Bookmaker Rating. This online mass media platform, which he led until 2020, focused on providing in-depth analysis and insights in sports betting, earning a reputation for its quality content. 

Continuing his innovative approach in 2022, Paruyr co-founded Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol. This venture showcases his dedication to integrating advanced technology in the evolving landscape of sports betting. Through these diverse experiences, Paruyr has continuously influenced and shaped the betting industry, driving new trends and setting high standards.

Engaged in private entrepreneurship2000-2013
Founder and President at Bookmaker Rating, an online platform focused on sports and betting2013-2020
Co-founder at Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol2022

"Innovation in sportsbetting comes from a deep understanding of both technology and the human element of sports." 

- Paruyr Shahbazyan, Founder, RG


Principles and Ethics

Paruyr Shahbazyan's core beliefs lie in the power of informed decision-making and integrity in the betting industry. He understands that the foundation of successful betting is not just about odds and predictions, but also about the trust and reliability of the information provided. Paruyr advocates for a betting environment where transparency and knowledge are paramount, ensuring that bettors are well-equipped with accurate data and insights.

Strategic Vision

Paruyr's vision is to revolutionize the sports betting industry through the integration of technology. He sees the future of betting as a blend of traditional sports knowledge with innovative tech solutions, like decentralized protocols, to enhance user experience and fairness. His aim is to create platforms that are not only user-friendly but also uphold the highest standards of ethical betting, contributing to a more responsible and enjoyable betting culture.

Future Perspectives

Looking towards the future, Paruyr envisions a betting landscape that is more inclusive, technologically advanced, and globally connected. He anticipates a significant shift towards more decentralized and transparent betting systems, driven by blockchain technology. Paruyr is committed to being at the forefront of this change, continuously exploring new possibilities and innovations that can redefine what it means to engage in sports betting in a digital world. His focus is on building systems that prioritize user empowerment, fairness, and the global growth of the sports betting community.


Anna Kravtcova
Anna Kravtcova
Problem Gambling Expert

Ph.D. in organizational psychology, an internationally certified psychologist (EuroPsy 2022, Cognitive behavioural therapy of mindfulness 2020, International Society for Emotional Intelligence 2017, Russian Psychological society 2014, American Psychological Association(Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologist) 2011), speaker of many international conferences (USA, Brazil, Portugal, Czech Republic, Russia, etc.). TEDx speaker.

Mike Rosenberg
Mike Rosenberg
Content Writer

Mike made the decision to dive headfirst into the booming world of sports betting fresh out of college. Back in the day, when 1-800 pick lines and sports pagers were all the rage, he couldn't resist the allure, having grown up idolizing sports legends like Sweetness, MJ, and Slammin Sammy. Mike dedicated his early years to the industry, tirelessly analyzing games, writing articles with free picks, and selling his expertise on reputable handicapping sites. Unlike many others, Mike was known for his integrity and only released one Game of the Year per sport, per season. His hard work and unwavering commitment paid off, earning him a devoted following and propelling his career to new heights. Then came the explosion of Daily Fantasy Sports. Believe it or not, companies like DraftKings and FanDuel used to pay Mike's company to increase their brand exposure. Now, those same industry giants don't even bother responding to his emails. While Mike appreciates the convenience of being able to place legal bets in his own backyard, he can't help but feel disheartened by what has become of the industry. People are being led astray, falsely believing that a mere $5 wager on a 20-team same-game-parlay will be their ticket to financial security. If there’s one thing Mike learned from making book back in the day, it’s that parlays are a bookie’s best friend. A bankroll is the only leg you have to stand on in the battle with the books, and Mike’s here to offer up advice on how to protect it.