March Madness 2021 Picks and Bracket Predictions: How to make winning March Madness picks

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Matt Tenby
Matt has been a writer for American Betting Experts since 2019. He loves to watch, bet on and write about soccer but is also a huge NBA and NFL fan.

How to make winning March Madness betting picks on Futures, Match Bets and other NCAA Tournament betting markets.

At our experts and analysts take the time to research data and statistics for March Madness 2021 and make the most informed free sports betting picks for our readers.

Every day during the NCAA Tournament our experts and data scientists will have picked out the best bets and will have free March Madness betting picks available in our dedicated March Madness betting section. But we don’t only want our readers to blindly follow our picks. Instead, we want to show you how you can become a better bettor and create winning March Madness bracket predictions and have winning March Madness betting picks yourself.

Should I pay for March Madness betting picks?

The answer here is definitely not. By paying for March Madness betting picks, you are automatically reducing your profits.

March Madness picks from ‘experts’ and media outlets are never guaranteed to win, so why should you pay for them? It’s sometimes worth paying for data but with so many free resources available you shouldn’t have to.

We don’t mind paying for quality journalism or data, but we would never recommend paying for March Madness picks alone. Some people like to subscribe to handicappers like Vegas Dave or other tipsters but legal sports betting has created a full industry with millions of fresh new content creators who don’t have to sell picks as they can bet their selections legally at home. We recommend building your network with these people and, of course, reading the content on, which will always be free.

Free March Madness Betting Picks

So, where do I get free March Madness picks? Well, the first thing is that simply following anyone’s picks isn’t really a route to profits. All handicappers will blow hot and cold and if you’re simply following them but not educating yourself then you’ll never become a successful bettor and you’ll never be in control of your gambling.

Instead, we suggest that you read as many March Madness betting articles as possible. Watch YouTube videos and, most importantly, have a plan for your March Madness betting. This involves being fully aware of the March Madness 2021 dates and the relevance of these.

Key March Madness Dates

The following are the key dates to note down for March Madness betting:

  • Selection Sunday β€” 6 p.m. ET March 14
  • First Four β€” 4 p.m. start on Thursday, March 18
  • First round β€” 12 p.m. start on Friday, March 19, and Saturday, March 20
  • Second round β€” 12 p.m. start on Sunday, March 21, and Monday, March 22
  • Sweet 16 β€” 2 p.m. start on Saturday, March 27, and 1 p.m. start on Sunday, March 28
  • Elite Eight β€” 7 p.m. start on Monday, March 29, and 6 p.m. start on Tuesday, March 30
  • Final Four β€” 5 p.m. start on Saturday, April 3
  • NCAA championship game β€” 9 p.m. Monday, April 5

Selection Sunday is when the March Madness brackets will be finalized. This is the most important date in the calendar for a March Madness bettor, as it is on Selection Sunday that you can start to fill in your own March Madness bracket.

There are some sports bettors that will like to take some risks ahead of Selection Sunday and bet some of their dark horse or long shot selections before knowing the final March Madness brackets in order to get bigger odds. This can give you good odds on a school that is then given an easy section but it can work the other way. If your pick gets given a tough bracket then you may have thrown your money away before a game is even played.

It is for this reason that we advise making March Madness picks after Selection Sunday. Watch the show live, fill in some brackets and then, after that, consult the updated March Madness betting odds & lines. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to make your March Madness Futures picks.

March Madness Futures Betting Picks

As we have said, March Madness Futures betting picks should be made after Selection Sunday. Once you know all the seeds and the brackets, you’ll be able to read up and study who has the best path to the Final Four and start to make your March Madness outright predictions.

The top seeds will always be the top of the March Madness Futures markets as they are expected to make up the Final Four. Recent history has shown that seedings matter and has a break down of the data regarding historic performance by seeding at March Madness.

They show that 29 of the last 33 March Madness winners have been the top 3 seeds and 61% of the NCAA Tournament top seeds have gone on to lift the trophy.

No team outside the top eight seeds has ever won March Madness and so those long priced outsiders may not be quite as attractive as they appear. The general rule for March Madness Futures picks is to make your assessment of the top seeds, decide if there is anyone in their section that might cause them trouble on route to the Final Four and then if there price is worth it. Once you’ve made your call on the top seed, do the same for the number two seed and number three seed. The winner of March Madness 2021 is likely to come from those three teams and we’d suggest making one of them the cornerstone of your March Madness Futures picks.

March Madness Bracket Predictions

If you search online you will find millions of March Madness bracket predictions ranging from those of ESPN basketball experts all the way to those of local bars and furniture stores looking to grab a slice of the March Madness pie.

Almost every office will run a March Madness bracket as well and everyone is keen to maximize their chances of scooping the pool by making the best March Madness bracket predictions. The reality is though that it is virtually impossible to predict a perfect March Madness bracket.

It is 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 1 that anyone correctly completes a perfect March Madness bracket. That’s 9.2 QUINTILLION to 1. That means that in order to cover all possible permutations then each of the 8 billion people on the planet would need 1,152,921,505 (1.1 billion) entries.

It’s not only hard to predict the perfect March Madness bracket, it’s virtually impossible.

It’s therefore probably not worth worrying too much about every selection in your bracket, and definitely not worth copying the March Madness bracket predictions of experts. Instead, just take some of the consensus picks on what teams will progress and build your bracket from there. If you work backwards from the Final Four then you probably have a good chance of making some accurate March Madness bracket predictions.

How do you bet March Madness?

It may be impossible to predict a perfect March Madness bracket but it’s not impossible to make winning March Madness bets.

No-one will ever ask you to bet on getting a perfect bracket and if they do, don’t take the bet! However, what you can do is bet your March Madness bracket by looking through the March Madness Futures markets (after Selection Sunday) and make bets that correspond to your bracket predictions.

Now that legal sports betting is available across a majority of America, and legal online sports betting is now available in 13 states, there will be more options than ever for March Madness betting.

The more betting options that there are, the more March Madness picks that bettors can make, and this gives them more of an advantage. The lines available from the sportsbooks will be fairly accurate due to the volume of sharp money being taken on March Madness, but the more niche markets will have less volume and potentially more chance of winning.

The best way to start building your March Madness betting portfolio is to make your bracket predictions and then work backwards, finding betting markets that match your selections. In addition to being able to bet on March Madness winners, there will be March Madness Final Four Futures betting, March Madness Elite Eight betting and much more.

On top of that there is the individual match betting on March Madness. This is where most people tend to focus their attention once the NCAA Tournament begins.

If you have your bracket selections for Round One then you already have your March Madness match betting picks made. It then just becomes a question of whether you want to bet the teams to win on the Money Line, Against the Spread, Individually or in Parlays.

March Madness Parlay Picks

One of the more popular bets for those just starting out with March Madness betting will be a parlay. This kind of bet, where you make a number of selections and then place them into one single bet, is popular as it gives the chance of a big return from a small stake, and it is often a way for people to bet favorites in the early rounds of March Madness.

As we have noted, the top seeds tend to win the most matches during March Madness but the sportsbooks don’t tend to offer generous odds on selections that everyone considers a lock. The likes of Gonzaga, Vilanova, Michigan and Baylor will be prohibitive odds for singles bets in the early rounds but adding all favorites into a parlay could result in odds which become worthwhile.

Be warned though, there are upsets at March Madness and blindly betting all favorites in parlays is not a recommended betting strategy.

March Madness Betting Offers

Parlays can, however, be profitable if combined with some of the multitude of March Madness betting offers and promotions available from the sportsbooks.

Legal sports betting has created a competitive marketplace for online betting and that means that the big companies have to compete for customers’ business. They do this with promotions and bonuses and March Madness is one of the headline events for bespoke sportsbook bonuses.

Parlays are popular amongst recreational bettors and so they are often the feature of March Madness betting offers. If you shop around you’ll find money back on losing bets, enhanced odds on bets, plus bonuses and free bets as part of sportsbooks’ loyalty schemes.

All of these offers will be available to both new and existing customers throughout March Madness and we recommend having as many accounts as possible open and available so that you can always get the best odds and the best offers to go alongside your March Madness betting picks.

Best March Madness Betting Offers

All of the offers below are available to March Madness bettors in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Tennessee. Simply click the offer of your choice to claim the Free Bet or bonus.

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