March Madness Prop Odds: Our Picks Are In!

Add some fun to your NCAA Tournament betting with March Madness props. Learn about types of props, tips, advice, and more!

Last Updated: Mar 18, 2021 7:30 PM ET
Arkansas Razorbacks celebrates for photographers after the Sweet Sixteen round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament on Saturday, March 27, 2021, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.
Photo By - USA Today Sports

Basketball bettors can add a little extra mayhem to the NCAA Tournament with March Madness props.

While prop bets for March Madness aren’t the biggest draw in action, these markets are gaining popularity at sportsbooks and add a fun wrinkle to your NCAA Tournament wagers. So, while you’re breaking down the Big Dance, don’t ignore the growing list of March Madness prop bets in 2021.

March Madness Prop Picks

Here are my favorite pre-tournament prop picks: 

  • Will a #14 seed beat a #3 seed? No (+100)
  • Conference to win the NCAA Tournament? Big Ten (+200)
  • How many buzzer-beating shots in Round of 64? Over 1.5 (+350)
  • Will a First Four team make it to the Sweet Sixteen? Yes (+310)
  • Will a team with a color in their name reach the Final Four? Yes (+140)

Continue reading for analysis!

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March Madness props betting update

By Patrick Everson

FanDuel provided information on a host of popular March Madness prop bets, as the tournament's first round gets set to tip off Friday. Among the more intriguing props taking money: Will a First Four team reach the Sweet 16? Bettors certainly think so, with 81 percent of all tickets taking Yes on that Yes/No prop.

Every year, bettors also try to figure out which No. 12 seed will beat a No. 5 seed. FanDuel has a prop for that, asking if any of the No. 12 seeds will advance to the second round. Yes is a hefty -370 favorite and is taking 71 percent of bets in that market.

The prop of how many No. 1 seeds reach the Final Four is also getting plenty of attention at FanDuel. Thirty-one percent of tickets are taking all four No. 1 seeds – Gonzaga, Illinois, Baylor and Michigan – to reach the last weekend of the tournament. Twenty-five percent of bets are on three No. 1s staying alive, followed by 21 percent on two No. 1s, 16 percent going for zero No. 1 seeds and 7 percent for one No. 1 seed.

Meanwhile, at DraftKings, the Yes/No props on specific teams making the Sweet 16 is generating varied action. Purdue is taking the most tickets to make the Sweet 16, at even-money on the Yes, followed by Texas (-112 pick 'em) and Oklahoma State (+135). On the No side of that ledger, West Virginia (-134) has the most tickets, followed interestingly by Texas (-112), as the Longhorns draw Yes and No. action.

Seed props

March Madness seed props focus on the success of a particular group of tournament seeds. Here are some of the props posted so far for the 2021 tournament.

How many #12 seeds will beat #5 seeds?

Selection Odds
Over 1.5 +175
Under 1.5 -225

Available at Tipico

Will a #16 seed beat a #1 seed?

Selection Odds
Yes +900
No -1,500

Available at BetRegal

Will a #15 seed beat a #2 seed?

Selection Odds
Yes +400
No -500

Available at BetRegal

Will a #14 seed beat a #3 seed?

Selection Odds
Yes -120
No +100

Pick: No (+100)

Some people will probably try to tell you the 14-3 matchup is the new 12-5. I’m here to tell you to hold your horses. The odds say a No. 14 is going to pull off an upset, but that hasn’t happened in each of the last three tournaments. With strong Arkansas, Texas, Kansas, and West Virginia teams filling those spots this year sign us up for the even money please, and thanks.

Available at BetRegal

Will a #12 seed beat a #5 seed?

Selection Odds
Yes -370
No +290

Available at FanDuel

Tournament props

March Madness tournament props focus on events or happenings during the NCAA Tournament. These props can be based on certain teams, regions, seeds, or conferences and most often are graded upon the conclusion of the National Championship Game.

Conference to win the NCAA Tournament

Selection Odds
Big Ten +200
WCC +215
Big 12 +300
SEC +800
ACC +1,300
American +1,400
Big East +2,500
Pac-12 +3,500
Missouri Valley +4,000
Mountain West +7,000
Atlantic 10 +8,500
Other +10,000

Pick: Big Ten (+200)

This is just a matter of numbers. The Big Ten sent nine teams dancing which includes two No. 1 seeds in Illinois and Michigan, and two No. 2 seeds in Iowa and Ohio State. And don’t overlook teams like Purdue or Michigan State. Yet, we are still getting +200, while the West Coast Conference at +215 has all their eggs in the Gonzaga basket. That’s a good basket, but still.

Available at BetRegal

How many buzzer-beating shots will there be in the Round of 64?

Selection Odds
Over 1.5 +350
Under 1.5 -556

Pick: Over 1.5 (+350)

Besides the boatload of games to bet on, there is nothing better about March Madness than buzzer-beaters. There have been 124 game-winning buzzer-beaters in the history of the NCAA Tournament. And there have been multiple first-round buzzer-beaters in 2016 and 2018. What’s more fun than betting on something that will give you chills. And you’ve got to love that value.

Available at SportsBetting.com

How many buzzer-beating shots during the Round of 64?

Selection Odds
0 -185
1 +225
2 +700
3 +1,200
4 +2,000
5 +3,000
6 +4,000

Available at SportsBetting.com

Total overtime games in the tournament

Selection Odds
Over 4.5 -110
Under 4.5 -110

Available at BetRegal

Total double-OT games in the tournament

Selection Odds
Over 0.5 +135
Under 0.5 -185

Available at SportsBetting.com

Largest margin of victory in the tournament

Selection Odds
Over 39.5 -110
Under 39.5 -110

Available at BetRegal

Highest single-game point total for any team during the tournament

Selection Odds
Over 97.5 -200
Under 97.5 +150

Available at SportsBetting.com

Round props 

March Madness round props are graded on results from the individual segments of the NCAA Tournament, such as the opening Round of 64, Round of 32, or the Sweet 16. These round props are usually focused on the success of a certain group of teams in those respective rounds.

How many #1 seeds will make the Final Four?

Selection Odds
0 +1,000
1 +200
2 +145
3 +350
4 +1,600

Available at FanDuel

Will a First Four team make it to the Sweet Sixteen?

Selection Odds
Yes +310
No -420

Pick: Yes (+310)

This is one interesting bet. Before 2019, a First Four team had won at least one additional game in the Big Dance since the format was introduced in 2011. Four of those teams went on to advance to the Sweet 16, with the latest being Syracuse in 2018. With teams like Michigan State, UCLA, and Wichita State in the mix this year, don’t be surprised if it happens again.

Available at FanDuel

When will Gonzaga be eliminated?

Selection Odds
First Round +4,000
Second Round +700
Sweet 16 +400
Elite Eight +500
Final Four +500
Championship Game +675
Not eliminated (champions) +220

Available at BetRegal

When will Baylor be eliminated?

Selection Odds
First Round +2,500
Second Round +300
Sweet 16 +425
Elite Eight +475
Final Four +475
Championship Game +550
Not eliminated (champions) +550

Available at BetRegal

When will Illinois be eliminated?

Selection Odds
First Round +2,000
Second Round +300
Sweet 16 +475
Elite Eight +400
Final Four +475
Championship Game +600
Not eliminated (champions) +600

Available at BetRegal

When will Michigan be eliminated?

Selection Odds
First Round +1,800
Second Round +400
Sweet 16 +325
Elite Eight +475
Final Four +350
Championship Game +900
Not eliminated (champions) +700

Available at BetRegal

Novelty props

In the spirit of Big Game betting, bookmakers have posted some wild and crazy March Madness betting props in recent years and this year is no different.

A team with "Bulldogs" as their mascot to reach the Final Four

Selection Odds
Yes -240
No +185

Available at DraftKings

A team with "Huskies" as their mascot to reach the Sweet 16

Selection Odds
Yes +325
No -455

Available at DraftKings

A team with "Tigers" as their mascot to reach the Final Four

Selection Odds
Yes +550
No -910

Available at DraftKings

A team with "Wildcats" as their mascot to reach the Final Four

Selection Odds
Yes +1,100
No -3,335

Available at DraftKings

A team with a color in their name to reach the Final Four

Selection Odds
Yes +140
No -177

Pick: Yes (+140)

OK. These school mascot props are fun. But there is no value with “Bulldogs,” it is a shockingly down year for “Wildcats,” and these “Tigers” just don’t have enough bite. So, let’s embrace the color palette and do betting by numbers. We have eight chances to get a team with a color in their nickname to get to the Final Four with the Alabama Crimson Tide being our best chance. But don’t be shocked if the Creighton Bluejays or Texas Tech Red Raiders make a run.

Available at DraftKings

March Madness MVP

The March Madness MVP (also known as the tournament's most outstanding player) is a fun market that can provide value, providing you have a good take on which team will win the national title. After all, the MVP has come from the tournament winner every year since 1983.

First to 15 

The “First to 15” or “Race to 15” prop is one of the most popular March Madness props due to its fast-paced payout and unpredictable outcomes in the opening minutes of NCAA Tournament games. Bettors simply pick which side they think will hit 15 points on the scoreboard first, with the underdog often paying out with nice plus-money odds. 

Other props

In addition to all the wild and fun markets above, each game will have a slate of the more traditional player props and team props to choose from.

Player props 

March Madness player props are another fast-growing market, and more sportsbooks are offering props on the performance of individual players. These player props are mostly structured around total points, rebounds, and assists but can also include the number of 3-pointers or free throws made during a tournament game. 

Team props 

March Madness team props are based on individual team performance during a game. Team props can include Over/Under wagers on points scored, field goals made, steals, and turnovers, as well as Yes/No props on certain events during the 40 minutes of game action.

March Madness prop bets explained

Prop bets – also known as proposition bets – aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when talking about March Madness odds, however, there are more and more of these fun alternative markets each year. 

March Madness props focus on individual team or player performances as well as particular events or happenings during a game, round, or the entire tournament. Some prop bets can unfold in a matter of minutes while others are graded on the Final Four and National Championship results.  

Where can I bet on March Madness props?

March Madness is one of the most popular times of the year for sports bettors, which of course makes it one of the busiest times of the year for online sportsbooks. Every betting site will offer March Madness odds but the top sites are safe and secure, offer a wide range of banking options, and give you a ton of markets for each game. Check out the best March Madness betting sites in your region. 

Tips for betting March Madness props 

March Madness prop bets can vary in terms of focus and scope. Some props are longer-running markets, graded after a certain round, or at the end of the NCAA Tournament. Other props for March Madness are game-based and limited to a particular matchup. 

Tournament Bracket Build your bracket

For betting on tournament or round props, you’ll want to build out your March Madness bracket and lay your path to the Final Four. Weigh each matchup and then base those prop bets on how you see the Big Dance playing out. 

Cinderella Spotting Cinderella

Singling out a Cinderella team that could provide an upset or two is vital to getting value from the March Madness props. Finding a live lower seed or an unknown mid-major giant killer can score some big plus-money prop payouts.

Avoid Contradictions Don’t contradict

Make sure your March Madness prop picks are in line with your single-game wagers. You don’t want to play the Over on the number of ACC schools making it out the Round of 64 then fade Florida State to cover as a favorite in the first round. 

Create Narrative Set a narrative

When it comes to game props, such as team and player prop bets, set a narrative for how you see the matchup playing out. If you think a talented big man will have his way with a smaller opponent, then look to the Over on props for points and rebounds. If you like a small-conference Cinderella to shoot their way to an upset win, look to back up that opinion with an Over wager on the team’s total number of 3-point buckets made. 

Covers Global Two Color Money Money management

The excitement of March Madness can get the best of basketball bettors, so have a money management system in place. If you plan on playing some NCAA Tournament props, designate a certain amount of your bankroll to just those types of wagers. This will not only help you be more selective about your prop bets but also narrow down which types of bets you are winning and losing throughout the Big Dance.

Instant Replay: March Madness prop bets 

  • March Madness prop bets can range in focus, from round to seeds to the overall tournament as well as individual matchups.
  • March Madness game props are gaining popularity and sportsbooks will have more of these than ever in 2021.
  • The “First to 15” prop is one of the most exciting and entertaining bets you can make during the NCAA Tournament.
  • Set a narrative for your March Madness props, whether that’s building out your bracket or setting a game script for player and team props.

March Madness prop bets FAQs

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