Maximizing Your March Madness Betting Payouts

Back in January, we published an article which explained how you could maximize your NFL playoff winnings by betting on the moneyline and continually rolling over your bet as opposed to simply betting the future odds of that team.

We discovered that a bettor could have won roughly $1,000 by betting the Ravens moneyline in succession as opposed to the $875 profit that you would have made by betting Baltimore’s futures before the Conference Championship round.

With the NCAA basketball tournament beginning this week, we were curious as to whether it would be wise to continue with this strategy for your March Madness betting, so we went to our historical archive to find out. To test this theory, we examined the past three National Champions to determine what the most profitable strategy was.

For quick reference, the past three champions have been Kentucky (+185) in 2012, UConn (+2,500) in 2011 and Duke (+650) in 2010. As always, the line data used is from the Pinnacle sportsbook.

Opponent Initial Bet Odds Winnings
Western Kentucky $100 -13,000 $0.77
Iowa State $100.77 -850 $11.86
Indiana $112.63 -583 $19.32
Baylor $131.95 -406 $32.50
Louisville $164.45 -430 $38.24
Kansas $202.69 -290 $69.89
TOTAL $172.58

In our first example, it would have been slightly more profitable to bet the Wildcat’s future odds. A bettor who started with $100 would have earned just $172.58 with our rollover strategy as opposed to the $185 they would have earned from betting the futures.

Still, that is only one year of data and Kentucky was such a large favorite in every game that there was no value to betting the moneyline. What would happen if you were betting on more of a long-shot to win it all? In 2011, Connecticut was the three-seed in the West region and opened the tournament with +2,500 odds of winning the National Championship. Would there still be value to betting on their futures?

Opponent Initial Bet Odds Winnings
Bucknell $100 -550 $18.18
Cincinnati $118.18 -172 $68.71
San Diego St $186.89 +126 $235.48
Arizona $422.37 -175 $241.35
Kentucky $663.72 +140 $929.21
Butler $1592.93 -164 $971.30
TOTAL $2,464.23

Once again, we can see that it has been more profitable to simply take the one-time future bet as opposed to our rollover strategy. Although it was close, a $100 bettor would have won an additional $33.77 ($2,500-2,464.23) by taking UConn’s future odds.

Our last March Madness betting test case comes courtesy of Duke’s 2010 National Championship. That team, led by Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer, opened the tournament with +650 odds to cut down the nets.

Opponent Initial Bet Odds Winnings
Arkansas-Pine Bluff $100 -N/A $0
California $100 -296 $33.78
Purdue $133.78 -415 $32.24
Baylor $166.02 -213 $77.94
West Virginia $243.96 -155 $155.39
Butler $399.35 -256 $112.18
TOTAL $411.53

There may have been a number of oddities in Duke’s championship run, but once again it proved a better value to take their futures. The Blue Devils were such large favorites against the 16th seeded Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions, that oddsmakers did not even set a line. That was probably a wise choice based on the amount of Duke money they would have undoubtedly seen.

A $100 bettor would have only earned $411.53 by betting consecutive Duke moneylines — a 36% drop off from bettors who took the Blue Devils future at +650.

If you’re looking to bet NCAA college basketball futures, Sports Insights customers can find Pinnacle’s prop bets, futures and series odds on their live odds page.

Also, don’t forget to check out our NCAA Basketball Betting Trends for all of your March Madness betting needs.

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