Postseason college basketball is one of the most highly-anticipated features of the American sports calendar every year and a large portion of that popularity comes from March Madness online betting, which takes on a life of its own leading up to and during the NCAA Tournament.
Another thing the American gambling public loves is live betting, also known as in-play betting or in-game betting, which allows you to place wagers on games after they’ve already begun. This feature is available at many online sports betting sites in the United States and is becoming increasingly common, especially when it comes to college basketball.
When the Big Dance arrives, millions of dollars in wagers and revenue are going to be produced, and plenty of that money is coming from in-game betting and NCAA bracket betting. We’re here to provide bettors with everything they need to know about online March Madness in-game wagering including how it works, the available markets, and the best strategies to employ.
So how does live wagering on March Madness work exactly? Simply, it allows you to place a wager on a given contest that is currently going on, even after its tip-off time.
For most of the history of sports betting, wagers were exclusively placed prior to a game beginning and the odds were locked after a tip-off. Luckily, that is no longer the case during the Madness thanks to live betting on NCAA basketball, and the in-play option is part of the reason why online sports gambling as a whole continues to grow in the US.
The above photo is an example of what the interface looks like while using the FanDuel Sportsbook app to make NCAA basketball betting picks while a game is going on. Most sites will feature some type of color change to indicate an in-game odds change, so you’ll be able to tell the direction of the most recent adjustment.
March Madness betting may be done as a necessity for those who cannot possibly catch the tip-off of every game with so many going on at once. It can also be done as a strategy to hedge other wagers, double up on winnings, or create a ‘middle’ from which you can attempt to win by betting both sides of the same game.
Whatever the method or reasoning, the convenience that comes with live sports betting has made it increasingly popular and sportsbooks have responded during the most action-packed times of the year such as March Madness.
Compared to other bet types, NCAA Tournament live sports betting odds open up markets that are still relatively new and we are seeing in-game betting flourish thanks to the mobile sports betting component.
The improving technology allows operators to offer something unique and integral to bettors: the convenience of betting from a location of your choice. This is exactly what March madness live betting apps offer during the NCAA basketball postseason.
If you keep an eye on your mobile device during a game, it’ll be easy to notice that whichever of the online sports betting apps you’re using will constantly update and modify the odds as a game moves along and the score changes. Bettors can place wagers on the Madness in-play betting odds at any time with the current spread instead of the pregame spread set by oddsmakers before the start.
It should be noted that college basketball doesn’t grant operators access to official league data to compute live lines, as is the case with live betting on professional sports, but that has no impact on the popularity of the sport among bettors.
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Nobody can blindly go into conference tournament play or the NCAA Tournament and expect to make any money. In order to achieve success while live wagering on March Madness, you will need to employ a little bit of strategy.
We aren’t talking about using betting systems, which selects teams based on trends, certain stipulations and sample data that can span months or years. This information is useful, but committing to systems without checking context is a huge mistake because there’s a chance it may not apply to your particular game, even if the system says it’s a match.
Keep the following Big Dance betting strategies in mind if live betting during conference tournaments or the big dance:
If you know you’re going to be taking part in live wagering, try to concentrate on games you’re following from the start. The idea behind this March Madness betting strategy is to gain a better feel for the game than you would have before it started.
Information like the pace of play, team statistics, the foul situation, any potential injuries, and how the refs are calling the game can be of huge help when making live betting picks throughout the college basketball postseason.
There will be plenty of occasions where you see a large favorite losing early, maybe even to a significant underdog. This could present a great opportunity to get huge value on the better team while the odds are reacting to the early portion of the game. Upsets are regular in the NCAA Tournament, but so is fast starts for inferior teams before the better group finds its footing.
This can go hand in hand with the above strategy but can apply to all teams. Basketball is a game of runs and almost every team has at least one at some point in the game. If you’re eying a program that has yet to make a run and is down early in the first half, pulls the trigger early rather than wait to see if they get back in the game.
It’s easier said than done because there’s a risk they never come back, but this is one way to make March Madness in-play wagering more lucrative than normal.
There are quite a few advantages that come along with in-game betting during the Madness, including the chance to earn more value when gambling with your hard-earned money. Below are a few of the biggest amenities you receive:
The clearest benefit of in-play wagering is that bettors are no longer required to make a decision by a certain time in order to get action. Whether you miss the start of the game or strategically hold off on betting a pregame line, live wagering on March Madness provides endless opportunities to get your money down on moneylines, spreads, and totals.
Thanks to top-of-the-line technology, the usage of online sports betting apps has never been easier, especially when live betting on events such as the NCAA Tournament. Mobile betting is increasingly popular and operators will always ensure their apps are offering the best customer experience possible, which lends itself to more convenience when live betting.
The process of opening up an online sportsbook app and placing in-game wagers is a simple one, and it’ll only lead to additional betting options in the future. March Madness live betting odds are restricted to just a few markets at this time, so the NCAA is one of the leagues with room to grow in that area.
People might consider hedging with the Madness live bets for many reasons. If you stand to win a large amount, a hedge can cut into your winnings but also guarantee a profit of some kind. It’s possible to run out of confidence in the original wager and cancel it out entirely with a hedge. Live betting lines also offer chances to double (or triple, etc.) up on one particular side or create a ‘middle’, which is an attempt to wager on both sides of the same market.
Prior to March Madness games, oddsmakers have ample time to look over every angle of a game. This is a huge advantage since this is precisely their job, and they do it well. The line can be set where they see fit and then adjust lines based on public action later on if necessary.
The luxury of time is taken away when discussing March Madness live betting lines because the game is in progress so sportsbooks rely heavily on software and technology to react in instantly to update in-game odds. Without an ability to pour over lines as closely on the fly, odds will be less accurate and value is created.
There are far more advantages to having March Madness in-game odds available than disadvantages. With that said, there are always things to look out for when gambling, so consider these cons to in-game wagering during the college basketball postseason:
Most of these apps are reliable and provide a positive user experience, but there are some that are prone to freezing and crashing, or modifying odds a bit slowly. Especially when you consider how many games and lines are being updated at once. Make sure your app is always updated if there is one available, and help yourself by using only the best online sports betting apps.
Any type of in-play wagering forces bettors to make decisions on the fly, and that’s exactly the case here. NCAA Tournament live betting odds update as quickly as any other basketball game does, which means it may only be a few seconds until those odds update again.
It can be a scoring play, a foul, turnover, missed shot, or any number of events within the game that causes an odds change. Be prepared by watching the game and also having the lines set in your head that would trigger a wager, so you waste no time pondering if the odds reach that point.
Many bettors choose to take advantage of time-outs, the ends of quarters, and halftime because there’s usually a bit more time to place wagers than doing so between specific plays.
If you can clearly see your current wagers are losing, there’s always a temptation to place other bets. With so many March Madness games to choose from and live betting lines available for all of them, a bit of discipline is required because chasing money is an easy error to make.
There aren’t quite as many options for in-play betting on March Madness as we see for the NBA. Even though you are limited to moneylines, spreads, and totals, there is still value to be found on lines that many bettors don’t pay enough attention to. Below is an example that can help us take a closer look at how each type of wager works:
Moneylines are the simplest form of betting there is, requiring you to only pick which team will win a given game, regardless of any point spread. This is the same whether betting the moneyline before or during the contest and throughout the season during the tournament, live odds are updated constantly according to a myriad of in-game factors.
The above photo is helpful to see how live lines change throughout a game. UCLA was a heavy favorite to start at somewhere around -330 on the moneyline (trust us on that). But as Washington State kept the game close and the clock began to dwindle away, that line was cut down to -210 with over seven minutes remaining.
Live betting moneylines can be profitable during March Madness basketball tournament if you select a team that is currently trailing, which will boost the odds for the losing team. Basketball is a game of runs and most teams go on at least one, so perhaps a team trailing in the first half can open up an opportunity on the in-game line. These are also popular wagers for bettors who may have been interested in an underdog but wanted to see that team perform well in-game before laying money down on a bet.
The point spread that oddsmakers set prior to the game adjusts as the game progresses when live betting on Madness basketball games. The spread is a little bit like the moneyline in the sense where a team that is currently losing can mean getting more generous odds, so early wagers on trailing teams are common here, too.
Let’s use the same example as we did above. UCLA was -8 against the spread to begin this game but as the action dictated a close battle, the spread dropped to -2.5 instead. If UCLA was winning the game by more points, the live line would be inflated to match that score. If Washington State was ahead at this stage of the game, the line would reflect that as well.
Live spread betting can also be used as a chance to hedge or ‘middle’ your bets during March Madness, which means having both sides in the same game and looking for the result to land between your two wagers. An example would be having Washington State +8 prior to the game, but placing a wager on UCLA -2.5 at the time of our photo above.
This way, you have both sides of the same contest and middle ground to attempt to win two bets at once. And as a matter of fact, UCLA went on to win this game by three points, which would’ve won both wagers.
Totals are extremely easy to wager on, as you’re selecting over or under a total number of points set by the sportsbook. As the pace of the game presents itself, in-game over-unders are adjusted quite often depending on other factors like shooting percentages, fouls, injuries, and a few other factors.
It just so happens that the total of the game in our example was 137 to start and the pace of the action most of the way kept it on track, evidenced by the line of 136.5 with just a few minutes left in the contest. In any college hoops game, hot shooting will cause that number to jump a bit, while a cold spell for the teams or a slow-down of pace will cause a decrease in the number.
It’s also good to remember that college games tend to have more points in the second half than the first half. Generally, the pace picks up and more fouls are called following halftime, leading to free throws and more points.
One March Madness betting strategy that involves live totals is to seek out games featuring teams scoring a large amount early on. This will cause the total to inflate, and it’s likely that the offenses will regress to the mean over the course of the game. This strategy can be used the other way as well, which would be taking the over in games with poor offensive starts.