There’s nothing quite like March Madness. Between the bracket contests among friends and bettors who turn to sportsbooks to get their March Madness fixes, approximately $8.5 billion is spent each year betting on the NCAA tournament.
2022 presented the first opportunity for people in Arizona to get in on the March Madness betting action, and 2023’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament is another chance for Arizona bettors to wager on the tournament.
We’ll show you the ins and outs of March Madness betting in the Grand Canyon State, including live game odds for each tournament game and March Madness futures odds all year.
Best March Madness odds at Arizona online sportsbooks
All March Madness betting odds below are automatically updated directly from legal Arizona betting apps. Click on any odds to go directly to the sportsbook, claim your bonus, and get started.
Betting on March Madness
Basketball, both professional and collegiate, offers up a ton of betting opportunities. It doesn’t matter if you’re a gambling veteran or just starting out. All of the various wagers are available to you.
Here’s a quick breakdown of each one.
- Moneylines: These are the simplest bets to make. A sportsbook like Fanduel Arizona will choose a favorite and an underdog for any given game. The favorites almost always have a negative number for their odds, such as -110. Meanwhile, the underdogs show positive numbers, like +130. Your job is to pick which team will win. If you’re right, you’ll get paid out based on those odds and your wager amount.
- Point spreads: This is one of the most popular bet types across every major sport. The basic premise is oddsmakers take a look at a game and decide the favorite and the underdog, much like we discussed in the moneyline description. The difference is that those oddsmakers then assign a number of points to the underdog’s final score. For example, the underdog might get +3.5 points added to their score, while the favorite gets -3.5. In order for a bet on the underdog to be a winner, the team must win outright or lose by fewer than 3.5 points. The favorite, however, can’t just win; they have to win by at least 3.5 points in order for wagers on them to be successful.
- Totals: These are also known as over/under bets, and that’s because your job as the bettor is to decide if the combined final score of the two teams (for example, if the final score was 83-77, then the combined about would be 160 points) is going to land over or under the total predicted by oddsmakers. You don’t have to worry about who wins the game, just the combined final score.
- Futures: A futures bet is exactly what you think it is: a wager made on something yet to happen. For example, at BetMGM sportsbook you can wager on which team will win the next NCAA Tournament. The odds for any team are pretty long immediately following the conclusion of the last March Madness tourney, and they stay long throughout the summer typically. Once NCAA basketball begins, then the odds tighten and tighten as the games are played and more information becomes available to oddsmakers. You can take some big risks by betting early and having a higher chance of winning a big sum of money, or you can narrow that risk by waiting to see which teams are playing well and actually have an opportunity to make a run for the tournament.
- Props: Prop betting is a side wager you make with a sportsbook revolving around games and seasons. Some of them are pretty silly at times, but many are very serious and require significant research before ever putting your money down. Some of these might include how many three-point shots will be made or attempted in a game. You’ll find a wide variety of such bets at your preferred sportsbook.
- Live betting: This particular type of betting is the newest addition to the hobby, and it has been made possible thanks to online and mobile sportsbooks. Sometimes known as in-game betting, these wagers are placed during the flow of the live action. They require online sportsbooks to facilitate because the odds shift with each possession, play and tick of the clock. Commercial sportsbooks can’t keep up with the instantly changing odds. Live betting also adds a layer of engagement with games that hasn’t really been a part of gambling before. You’ll certainly watch a game from start to finish if you’ve put money on the next shot going in.
Why do lines change at sportsbooks?
As we mentioned above, sportsbook odds can shift for any given game or particular bet. If you’ve already made your wager and the odds shift afterward, there’s nothing to worry about. Your wager is locked in. However, sometimes those odds will shift to a more favorable position on a bet you’ve already made. In that case, you might want to add a little more with a second wager. Other times, those odds will shift away from you, making the opposite wager a more attractive option.
The reason lines shift is typically because of two main factors: information and public betting. Oddsmakers use a massive amount of information to help determine which team is the favorite or the underdog, and they assign odds based on their findings. But their confidence in which team is going to win a game can be shaken or reinforced as new information comes to light.
That information might range from an injury to a key player. Or maybe the favorite’s winning streak fizzled out last night, or their opponent is suddenly playing much better than anticipated leading up to the contest. The information that shifts the odds of particular games can come from multiple sources. All that matters is that this news makes oddsmakers reexamine their outlook on a particular game.
As for public betting, that can change the odds when one outcome is backed very heavily. Oddsmakers and sportsbooks are in the business of making money, so when the public is consistently betting on one particular outcome it puts potential profits at risk. (What if 80% of bettors simply win that popular bet?) Thus, oddsmakers shift the odds to make the other outcome more favorable. They hope to attract betting in that opposite direction and reduce potential losses.
Reasons to bet on March Madness online
You’re probably wondering why you should sign up for an online sportsbook. The answers, quite simply, are convenience and security.
First and foremost, with an online sportsbook, you can wager from anywhere in Arizona at any time of day or night. By contrast, retail sportsbooks require you to be at a certain location during particular hours in order to participate.
Additionally, you can visit multiple sportsbooks right at your fingertips, which means you are able to shop for the best odds. When it comes to sportsbooks, they don’t all have the same odds. That means you might be able to find a better potential return on your wager at one book compared to others. On that note, don’t be afraid to shop around for any March Madness bet you plan on making.
One of our least favorite things about retail sportsbooks is that you have to wait in line before you can make your wagers, and you must know the identifying numbers assigned to your game when you step up and speak to the cashier.
Mobile sportsbooks suffer from neither human error nor basic real-world inconvenience. You can just make your bets, not worrying about a line of people or a confused cashier. Just quick, to the point and you’re done.
Finally, the coolest part about using a mobile sportsbook is the thrill of live betting. Hence, March Madness betting sites and apps are key if you want to join in on Arizona sports betting.
How do I sign up for an online sportsbook account?
Online sportsbooks have evolved gambling dramatically. Luckily, these evolutions don’t translate to complicated sign-ups. Getting started is incredibly easy.
First and foremost, use our site to find the sportsbook that best fits your needs and preferences. We often review the new books that open up to the public, so you can get a great idea of what to expect when searching for a new one. Make sure to use our exclusive links at the sportsbook of your choice. By doing so, you unlock the best promos currently available for new users.
Once you visit the sportsbook, you’ll have the opportunity to sign up for a new account. Once there, you’ll follow a couple of easy steps before betting:
- Enter basic information, such as your name, email, and date of birth.
- Once you finish the registration process, download the mobile app directly from the sportsbook website or the applicable app store onto your device.
- Log in on mobile and make your first deposit to claim any promos or bonuses for which you qualify.
- Make your first bets
Free versus paid March Madness contests
If you’ve ever worked in an office, you’ve probably had the chance to participate in a March Madness bracket pool. You pay some small amount of money, make your picks and see if you come away as the winner, who either
A) has a functioning crystal ball
B) knows way too much about college basketball
What you might not know is there are two types of online brackets. You can either play a free bracket contest, which usually has some kind of prize at the end, or you can play a paid bracket contest, which pays out based on odds.
Free March Madness contests
DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook have been the most recognizable online presence when it comes to free NCAA Tournament contests. You don’t have to live in a state with legal sports betting, either, since entry is free.
Here are some of the most popular:
- DraftKings March Mania Survivor Pool: Completely free to play. Pick a winner from each day and round of the tourney. Survive to the end for a share of the $30,000 top prize.
- DraftKings Second-Chance Survivor Pool: If you bust out in the first survivor pool, a new contest begins with the Sweet 16.
- DraftKings Bracket Challenge: Fill out a bracket and earn points for winning picks. The top 5,096 players cash and 1st place takes home $2,500.
- FanDuel Bracket Pick’em: Free to play; just fill out a bracket and earn points for wins as you compete for cash prizes.
BetMGM Sportsbook has really stepped its game up this time around with a free-to-play bracket contest. It works like other contests in that you earn points for correct picks with the award rising for every round. The top-scoring bracket earns $100,000. If anyone happens to nail a perfect bracket, a cool $10 million is awarded.
March Madness betting tips & strategies
Every bettor has their own strategy and approach to making wagers. Even if you’re new to the hobby, it won’t be long until you have a personal method. If you’re looking for a couple of tips for betting on March Madness, here are a few strategies we like.
- Study, study, study: Homework isn’t just for those college athletes you’ll be watching play in the tournament. Every bettor should do their own research on every game they are going to wager on. When the time comes, make sure you study the recent play of the teams in the game, their strength of schedule, and the status of their key players.
- Respect the best teams: Tournament seeds aren’t drawn out of a hat; they’re assigned for a reason. The best teams get the highest seeds, and as a bettor, you should definitely keep that in mind. Just for reference, the No. 1 through 4 seeds have the best overall winning percentages in the history of the NCAA Tournament. Yes, upsets will happen, but unless you have an amazing reason to wager against one of the top-seeded teams, we suggest you show the powerhouses their respect.
- But don’t avoid upsets completely: When you’re doing your homework, you might come across information that reveals a higher-seeded team without the gusto to dominate a supposedly overmatched opponent. Maybe you notice recent playing trends that show the favorite is soft or stagnant. Or maybe the underdog presents strange matchup problems or boasts a hot-shooting bench. If your research honestly shows you there is good potential for an upset, trust your information. Don’t be afraid to wager on that upset.
Arizona teams in March Madness
Arizona’s top two college basketball programs, the University of Arizona and Arizona State, have decent histories with the NCAA Tournament.
The Arizona State Sun Devils have reached the Big Dance a total of 16 times and have put together 14 total wins and taken 17 losses. Unfortunately, they’ve never made it to the Final Four.
For the Arizona Wildcats, the NCAA Tournament has been a pretty regular part of their history. They’ve earned a berth into the tourney an impressive 36 times and have picked up 58 wins and 35 losses. Four of those wins brought them to the Final Four. One win led them to the National Championship game. And in 1997, one of those wins allowed them to cut down the nets as the greatest team in the country.
That said, those two colleges aren’t the only ones in Arizona with March Madness credentials. The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks have twice reached the tournament, once in 1998 and again in 2000. They lost the first game they played both times. In 1998, the 15th-seeded Lumberjacks fell to No. 2 Cincinnati in a very close contest, 65-62. In the 2000 tournament, Northern Arizona once again earned a No. 15 seed but this time ran into a very talented No. 2 St. John’s and lost 61-56.
Recently, Grand Canyon University, home of the Antelopes with just under 19,000 full-time students, made the tournament in 2021 and earned a No. 15 seed. They lost in their first game, 74-56 against No. 2 Iowa. That didn’t really matter. It was just amazing for the Antelopes to earn the right to fight against the nation’s best NCAA teams.