March Madness 2021

NCAA Tournament Betting In Michigan

The NCAA Men’s Division 1 basketball tournament, also known as March Madness, is one of the most popular and beloved annual sporting events in the world. The tournament’s seeding and single-elimination format has led to countless moments of drama, intrigue and unlikely heroism.

According to Forbes, roughly 100 million people tune in to watch the games play out in March. Many of them also fill out brackets and participate in pools.

Of course, outright sports betting on March Madness is also big business. The American Gaming Association (AGA) estimated that 47 million Americans wagered $8.5 billion in 2019.

Since Michigan has joined the sports betting fraternity, Michiganders will soon be a part of the annual sports betting frenzy for college basketball. 

So, here is a handy guide to detail all the ways that you can get into the “madness” this year.

Compare the latest lines for March Madness in Michigan

How to download a sports betting app to bet March Madness

New sports bettors in Michigan could be forgiven for being a bit hesitant to try a sportsbook app. After all, if you’ve only bet in retail sportsbooks before, it could seem both far-fetched and confusing.

However, if you already have a smartphone or mobile device, downloading a sportsbook app is not much different than any other type of app. 

Simply follow the instructions below:

  • Find a link to your chosen sportsbook app above and click the “Play Now” button. It’s important to use our link because we often have exclusive bonus offers and deals that you cannot find elsewhere.
  • Look for the appropriate download button for your device’s format. You will either need to download the Apple version or the Android version of the app.
  • Apple users (iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches) can download their apps through the usual process. It’s no different at all.
  • Android users will need to allow “Unknown Sources” to download before they can get the .apk file for the app. You can complete this action by visiting the “Security” portion of their device’s settings.
  • After downloading the app, either register for a new account or log in with your existing username and password. Make sure to double-check our site for any promo codes you could enter during registration.

Betting on March Madness

There will be a multitude of wagers available during March Madness. The sheer number of games played yields numerous permutations of bets that sportsbooks can offer. Note: The Michigan Gaming Control Board has final say on approved betting markets. As such, not all bets listed below have been approved. Bookmark this page to get updated information.


One of the most common bets during March Madness is a futures wager. These bets are usually not as popular, but the format of the tournament lends itself to this kind of wagering.

A futures bet is a wager on whether a particular event will occur after a specific time. Typically, futures bets are predictors of eventual champions or individual award winners.

Since 68 basketball teams make the field in March Madness (in one form or another), there are 68 different options on betting on which team will be the national champion

The higher seeds are more likely to win, but in the history of the tournament, teams seeded as low as No. 8 have become the champion.

There are also some expansions to the typical field of futures bets in March Madness. You can make futures wagers on the progress of any team in the field, in most cases, in terms of how far they go.

Futures bets are usually expressed as moneylines, but they are easily convertible into straight odds if you prefer. 

Since they are all positive moneylines, simply divide the number by 100 to get the straight odds. For example, a team at +3000 is a 30-1 underdog, since 3000/100 = 30.

Other common types of March Madness bets

Of course, the other standard types of bets are available for individual March Madness games. The following types of wagers will be available for each game in the tournament:

  • Point Spreads: These are bets that concern themselves with the final margin of victory. Either the favorite will exceed the expected spread, or the underdog will cover the gap.
  • Moneylines: Wagers that are interested only in the outcome of the game, regardless of the margin. Payouts vary according to which team the sportsbook expects to win.
  • Totals: Bets regarding the combined number of points that the teams score. Players wager whether the teams will exceed or not exceed the sportsbook’s estimate. Hence, the nickname for the bet being the “over/under.”
  • Parlays: It is also possible to combine some of the wagers above into a single bet. All selections in a parlay must be correct in order to pay out, but the high-risk wager also bears the potential for a higher payout.
  • Live Betting: A form of proposition wager that proposes bets after a game is already in progress. These bets are quick and rough but can be a way to add excitement to the experience of watching a game.

Bracket contests

The schedule by which the 68 teams in the tournament abide is known as a bracket. It depicts the collisions between the teams in a tree-like format.

Because the schedule is published about a week before the tournament begins, bracket contests are the best-known way to place a wager on March Madness. Even people who don’t usually bet on sports get to fill out a bracket and participate in a pool.

In fact, according to Nielsen, Americans (and others) completed a mind-boggling 170 million brackets in 2019. So, many sites, including both Michigan sportsbooks and other sports-related entities, will host bracket challenges for March Madness.

Most of these contests are free to enter. Even those outside of their home states can play.

To participate, register for one of the many contests that you can find through a simple web search. Make sure to stick to challenges with known websites, e.g., DraftKings Online SportsbookYahoo! and ESPN, for each host their own contests.

These contests bear monetary prizes for the top finishers. Although it’s quite unlikely that you’ll be in that group, it doesn’t hurt to try.

Once you’ve finished registering, look for the button that opens a new bracket. Click through the rounds of play to select which team you believe will win each game.

Eventually, you will have picked a Final Four, a championship game and an eventual champion. You will also have to guess the score of the final game. This guess is in case of ties with other challengers.

After you’ve made your selections, submit your bracket. Make sure to bookmark your bracket, because watching your picks win (or not) is one of the most fun parts of the NCAA Tournament.

Don’t hesitate to make multiple brackets for both the same contest and in numerous contests. The chance of picking a perfect bracket is infinitesimal, so you may as well take some different approaches and spread the wealth around.

What’s the best spot for betting on March Madness in Michigan?

fanduel sportsbookAs one of the biggest sporting events of the year, March Madness is quite a festive time. You can now head out to watch the action while placing some bets in Michigan without missing out on the latest odds. Here’s where to go.

Greektown Casino-Hotel

  • Name: The Sportsbook at Greektown Casino-Hotel
  • Address: 55 E Lafayette St, Detroit, MI 48226
  • Phone: (313) 223-2999
  • Sportsbook hours: M-F: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. S/S: 9 a.m. – Midnight
  • Online sportsbook: Future deal with Barstool Sportsbook MI

If you head to the upper level of the casino, you’ll find The Sportsbook located next to Trappers Bar. There are five betting windows on site and 40 self-serve kiosks elsewhere in the casino. In the future, Greektown will have a book bearing the Barstool Sports name.

MotorCity Casino Hotel

  • Name: FanDuel Sportsbook
  • Address: 2901 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48201
  • Phone: (866) 782-9622
  • Sportsbook hours: 7 days – 9 a.m – 12 a.m.
  • Online sportsbook: FanDuel Sportsbook MI

FanDuel is more than a big player in the online and mobile space. There’s a retail sportsbook at MotorCity Casino which continually gets rave reviews. Dozens of HDTV’s, a sports ticker, six betting windows, and 54 self-service kiosks are among the amenities waiting for you.

Little River Casino Resort

  • Name: River Rock Sportsbook & Grill
  • Address: 2700 Orchard Hwy, Manistee, MI 49660
  • Phone: (231) 398-3976
  • Sportsbook hours: M-Th: 2 p.m. – Midnight. F/S/S: 10 a.m. – Midnight
  • Bar hours: 7 days – 10 a.m. – 2 a.m.
  • Online sportsbook: BetRivers Sportsbook MI

A full bar and food menu await visitors, and you’ll even find betting windows right inside of the restaurant along with plenty of screens. You can also get your bets in on the self-serve kiosks which are open around the clock.

For other options to consider come March Madness time, check out Dacey’s Sportsbook at FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek or the BetMGM Sports Lounge at the MGM Grand Detroit.

March Madness betting tips

For players in Michigan, March Madness is likely the first time that they have tried to bet on sports. So, here are a few strategies to maximize your results for March Madness wagering.

Keep track of lines

At the beginning of each bet, a sportsbook designates opening marks for the point spread, over/under, moneyline and other estimates for the game. However, these estimates are not always accurate, and smart bettors often flood to lines that seem off.

This flood of cash will provoke an adjustment from the sportsbook, which wants its potential payout liability balanced on each side of the bet. So, look for large swings from the opening position to the current mark.

If the smart money is going a certain way, there’s usually a pretty good reason.

Look for value in middle seeds early

One of the reasons that people love March Madness is the potential for upsets. The idea of a not-as-known school upsetting a perennial favorite excites even casual sports fans.

Nevertheless, the seedings in a tournament are usually fairly accurate — to a point. The higher-seeded teams (Nos. 1-4) are generally going to win their first and second games.

However, the games where the teams are closer together, offer a decent chance for some upset value. For instance, the No. 12 seed has beaten the No. 5 seed around a third of the time.

So, look for lower-seeded (Nos. 9-12) teams who have great records but placed low because of their schedule strength. A midtier conference champion usually has a pretty good chance to beat the fourth- or fourth-best team in a power conference.

Stick to higher seeds late

With that said, the higher-seeded teams tend to win in the end. Only 10 teams seeded below No. 6 have ever made the Final Four.

The reason for the dropoff is twofold. 

For one thing, the depth of higher-seeded teams tends to exert themselves as fatigue and inconsistency sets in. A lower-seeded team can be undone if its star player has an off night.

The other factor is that the element of surprise for the lower-seeded team is lost. The higher seeds will have fully scouted a lesser-known college in the first week by the time the second week rolls around.

Watch for momentum

It’s tough to win six or seven games in a row. In some cases, it may seem like the only reason anybody won the national championship is that somebody had to win it.

However, a team that catches fire at the right moment can sometimes run through the competition, regardless of their seed or previous performance. So, as the tournament progresses, keep an eye out for teams who seem to be putting it together.

In this vein, it might be worthwhile to look for teams who were highly ranked early in the season but fell off due to injury or chemistry issues. 

An underperforming team who has loads of talent might only need a spark to become the group everyone expected them to be.

A brief history of March Madness

The NCAA men’s Division 1 basketball tournament began in 1939. At the time, only eight teams competed for the title, and the Oregon Ducks claimed the inaugural championship.

Since then, the field has expanded dramatically. It is now possible for 68 teams to boast that they made the “Big Dance.”

However, since four teams are eliminated through play-in games, the tournament itself is effectively a 64-team, single-elimination contest. 

Teams in the main field receive seeds Nos. 1-16, and the eight teams who compete in play-in games have the same seeding.

The University of California-Los Angeles remains the most successful program in history with 11 titles to its name. Under legendary coach John Wooden, the Bruins won the title each year from 1967-73.

Other highly successful programs include the University of Kentucky (eight wins), the University of North Carolina (six wins)Duke University (five wins) and Indiana University (five wins).

Each conference tournament winner receives an automatic bid to the tournament, regardless of record. The remaining 36 teams are at-large bids and are determined by the NCAA Selection Committee, which uses multiple variables to select the strongest competitors.

At present, 16% of Americans are expected to fill out a bracket each year. They will also wager more than $10 billion on the games.

Dreamstime Stock photo

March Madness FAQ

What is the Final Four?

The Final Four are the four teams who meet on the final weekend of play. Reaching the Final Four requires a team to win four to five games in a row, which is considered to be a substantial achievement even if the team does not win the national championship.

How many teams play in the tournament?

There are 68. The proper bracket for the tournament features 64 slots, but beginning in 2001, the NCAA started adding play-in games to the tourney.

Eight teams play games that lead up to the actual tournament itself. This round of games is called the First Four.

How long does the tournament last?

The tournament lasts for three weekends in the month of March.

How many losses can a team incur before they are eliminated?

One. March Madness is a single-elimination format, so teams play until they lose or they win the national championship.

Who decides which teams are in the tournament?

The NCAA Selection Committee selects the teams to play in March Madness on Sunday before the tournament begins. Though there is always a bit of contention near the bubble, almost every good team makes the bracket.

Can I bet on March Madness?

Yes, Michigan residents and visitors can bet on March Madness games at both online and retail sportsbooks.

Is there DFS for March Madness?

Yes, top daily fantasy sports operators, like DraftKings and FanDuel, will have hosts contests for March Madness games.

Do No. 1 seeds always win?

No, though ranked the highest, a No. 1 seed is no guarantee of success. In fact, only one Final Four (2008) has featured the four No. 1 seeds.

Has a No. 1 seed ever lost in the first round?

Yes, once. In 2018, Virginia became the first No. 1 seed to lose its first game. The University of Maryland-Baltimore County became the first No. 16 seed to advance in history.

Shockingly, the game was not particularly close. The top-seeded Cavaliers ended up losing by 20 points, 74-54.

With that said, you should still bet the No. 1 seeds to beat the No. 16 seeds. A single occurrence in history does not constitute a pattern, and the top-seeded teams are usually there for a reason.

What’s the lowest-seeded team to win the national championship?

Villanova won the 1985 national championship as a No. 8 seed. The Wildcats defeated two No. 1 seeds and two No. 2 seeds en route to their historic victory.

What’s the lowest-seeded team to make the Final Four?

Four No. 11 seeds have managed to make the Final Four. They are:

  • LSU (1986)
  • George Mason (2006)
  • VCU (2011)
  • Loyola Chicago (2018)

What are the chances of selecting a perfect bracket?

It’s astronomical. Estimates have varied from 1-128 billion to a staggering 1-9.2 quintillion. To put that in perspective, you are 438 times more likely to win a Powerball jackpot than pick a perfect bracket.

What’s the best that anyone has done on a bracket?

Forty-nine straight games. In 2019, a bracket challenge player managed to rip off an incredible string of predictions before a loss. However, bear in mind that 67 games end up taking place each year. So, even the best anyone has ever done still isn’t all that close to perfection.

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