Everything You Need to Know

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Updated: February 25, 2021

Jason Logan
Clock Icon Feb 25, 2021 – 10:58 AM ET

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 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. 

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 teams from a conference will advance? 

Books will set Over/Under odds on the number of teams from different conferences to advance to certain rounds, such as the total number of SEC schools to advance to the Sweet 16. These Over/Under totals will vary depending on overall tournament bids and the strength of those conference members and their tournament matchups.

Nickname props 

In a fun twist on round props, oddsmakers will set Over/Under totals on the number of teams with the same nickname, such as “Wildcats” or “Tigers”, to advance to the Round of 32.

Seed props

March Madness seed props focus on the success of a particular group of tournament seeds. All 64 teams are ranked No. 1 through No. 16 and designated to one of four regions. The strongest team in the region is given a No. 1 seed by the selection committee and faces the No. 16 seed in the region, while No. 2 plays No. 15, No. 3 faces No. 14, and so forth.

Number of seeds in the Final Four

Books will set Over/Under odds on the number of seeds to advance to the Final Four, for example, how many No. 1 seeds will make the Final Four, or how many No. 2 seeds will make the Final Four. These are often displayed in a list with odds attached to the options: One, Two, Three, and Four.

Seed vs. seed props

Seed vs. seed props ask bettors if a certain numbered seed will defeat another in the Round of 64, such as “Will a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1 seed?”.

Lowest seed to advance

Bookmakers offer odds on the lowest seed to advance to each round of the NCAA Tournament, such as “What will be the lowest seed to advance to the Sweet 16?”. 

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.

Over/Under tournament wins 

Win totals are set for every team in the NCAA Tournament and bettors can wager on if the team will go Over or Under the projected number of wins. 

Which conference will the national title winner come from? 

You can bet on which conference will claim the national championship. These odds are based on the strength of teams, seeding, as well as the number of schools from each conference in the tournament. 

Total NCAA Tournament wins by conference 

This is a win total set for the combined number of wins for each school from a conference. These totals will vary based on the strength of those teams as well as the number of bids from each respective conference.

Other props

Every NCAA Tournament, oddsmakers get more and more creative with the prop bets for March Madness and 2021 will be no exception. These alternative bets are extremely fun, none more so than the infamous “First to 15” prop.

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. 

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.

Novelty props

In the spirit of Big Game betting, bookmakers have posted some wild and crazy March Madness betting props in recent years, such as “Who will the President select to win his bracket?” and “How many March Madness games will be decided on buzzer-beaters?”. These types of novelty props are most often found at online sportsbooks and not in regulated state-run markets.

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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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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