March Madness 2024 Picks & Predictions

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March Madness 2024 Predictions & Odds - NCAA Tournament Picks & Betting Guide

For many fans, March Madness isn’t just the finale of the college basketball season, it’s one of the best events on the sports calendar.

Even though its format doesn’t always crown the best team per se, this tournament never fails to deliver from an entertainment perspective.

Anything can happen in March, as we learned last season when San Diego State and Florida Atlantic reached the Final Four. What can happen this year? Let’s discuss it below!

March Madness 2024 Overview

What is March Madness?

March Madness is the nickname given to the NCAA Tournament in college basketball . It’s a single-elimination tournament that determines the national championship winner. The tournament is made up of 68 teams. Of those 68 spots, 32 come from teams that won their conference tournament while the other 36 spots are at-large bids chosen by the NCAA Selection Committee. The committee is also responsible for seeding those teams based on how they performed during the regular season. This helps to reward the better teams by giving them a path to the national championship that is a little easier.

When is March Madness?

The 2024 NCAA Tournament begins on March 19 and ends on April 8.

  • First Four: March 19-20

  • First and Second Rounds: March 21-24

  • Regional Semifinals and Finals: March 28-31

  • Final Four: April 6

  • National Championship Game: April 8

What is the First Four in the NCAA Tournament?

The First Four is a set of four college basketball games over two days. It is always held in Dayton, Ohio, and helps to reduce the tournament field from 68 teams to 64 teams. Once the field is down to 64 teams in a single-elimination format, each team needs to win six straight games to win the national championship.

March Madness 2024 Odds & Predictions

Throughout the college basketball season, there are futures odds available for what team will win the national championship, what teams will reach the final four, and what teams will win their conference championship. There are also bracket predictions made for what seed a team will get in the tournament.

Naturally, with hundreds of college basketball teams and thousands of regular season games , it’s tough to make sense of what teams have the best chance of winning the national championship. However, as March Madness draws closer, there is increased attention on college basketball odds and the teams that are likely to be successful in the national tournament.

Top Contenders, Favourites & Picks to Win

Most people agree that the reigning champions UConn are the favorite to win the national championship. Teams like Purdue, Houston, Arizona, and North Carolina also have some of the shortest odds to be crowned national champion in 2024.

However, it’s not always the heavy favorites that have success. Teams a little further down the list in terms of betting odds like Marquette, Michigan State, Kentucky, Duke, South Carolina, and Illinois also have enough talent to win the title. It’s also possible to take a chance on teams that most would consider a long shot to win the NCAA Tournament, including Mississippi State, previous champion Virginia, Ohio State, and last year’s surprising Final Four participant Florida Atlantic.

That being said, it’s becoming clear to those who have been paying attention throughout the season that UConn might have a team that’s even better than the team that won the national championship last season. That doesn’t make the Huskies a lock to win it this year, but they are clearly a team to watch closely. Based on 2005-2024 team rankings, the Huskies are one of the dominant teams in college basketball, previously winning titles in 2011 and 2014 in addition to their 2023 championship.

This season, UConn is a good example of a balanced team. Alas, there are some teams that are more star-driven. For example, Purdue is led by center Zach Edey, a 7’4’’ center who is sometimes unstoppable in the post. Hunter Dickinson of Kansas is another big man who is capable of dominating games. Likewise, Armando Bacot of North Carolina led the Tar Heels to the Final Four two years ago and would love to lead UNC to a national title.

Men's College Basketball Betting Tips, Odds & Previews

As one of the most unpredictable events in sports, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind when betting on March Madness. For starters, momentum can mean a lot. A team that came on strong late in the regular season can often stay hot in March. On the other hand, if a team wasn’t playing its best right before March Madness, they probably won’t flip a switch and suddenly play like a championship contender.

Another good tip is to look for balanced teams. The eventual national champion is typically a team that’s good both offensively and defensively. They don’t allow one end of the court to carry them more than the other. It’s usually a well-balanced team that’s able to win six straight games to capture a national title.

Finally, always choose head over heart. Try to avoid betting on teams that you want to win. Instead, be completely objective when making picks. It’s not easy to do this, but you have to leave emotions out of it when betting.

Types of Bets & How to Bet on NCAA

There are several options when making March Madness bets.

  • Outright betting - Many fans place outright wagers on one or more teams to win the national championship or reach the Final Four. With so many potential champions, even some of the top favorites will have rather lucrative payouts if they win the national title. This makes it possible to bet on multiple national champions and still make a profit if one of those bets pays off.

  • Spread - For every college basketball game, betting against the spread is among the most preferred types of betting. When betting against the spread, one team is the favorite and the other is the underdog. The favorite must win by a certain number of points, which is called covering the spread. Meanwhile, the underdog can lose the game but win the bet if they lose by fewer points than the pre-game betting spread.

  • Moneyline - The moneyline takes the spread out of the equation. All that matters is what team wins the game. The catch is that the payout is different for each team. Betting on a heavy favorite doesn’t give bettors much of a profit. On the other hand, since a heavy underdog is less likely to win, betting on them results in a higher payout if they’re able to win.

  • Totals - With a totals bet, the winner and loser of a game are ignored. Instead, this bet revolves around the number of total points that will be scored in the game. There is a total assigned to the game beforehand and bettors must predict whether the total points scored will be above or below that number.

For more details, check out our guide on how to bet on basketball .

How to Watch Free Live Streams of NCAA Games

Stake Sportsbook allows fans to stream NCAA Tournament games . There is no additional payment or subscription required. If you have a Stake Sportsbook account and see the stream icon next to the event.

Bet on Basketball with Best Odds on Stake Sportsbook

Stake Sportsbook is among the best options if you plan on making college basketball picks during March Madness or during the regular season. We offer bonus bets and promotions on top of having a diverse range of betting markets. Most importantly, we are committed to responsible gambling . We are safer gambling advocates and recommend players review our tips, budget calculator and resources to be Stake Smart when betting on basketball online.