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How to Make Money on March Madness

It was estimated that employers lost $13.3 billion in productivity during March Madness in 2019.


Employees are researching stats and power rankings to try and fill out the perfect bracket. There are office pools abound, and of course, people are discreetly watching the games on their phones or laptops.


It’s only about 6 hours of work time per person … but when you spread that out over roughly 75 million workers in the US … it adds up.


So, how do we capitalize on this on the fact that our friends and co-workers are all college basketball-crazy? How can we make money from March Madness?


Win Your Office NCAAB Pools

Start loading up on analytical data and get a head start on making the best bracket in your office.


Luck comes into play, but if you stick with the teams that have the highest probability of winning, instead of just going with your gut – or your heart, if it’s a team you like– then you have a good shot at being one of your office pool winners.


When looking at the analytics, stick to the pace of play and don’t worry so much about points per game. The reason for this is because some teams run fast offenses, getting up and down the floor, a good past example of this is Gonzaga, while others favor slowing it down and playing a half-court game, e.g. Michigan State. So, trying to make your prediction on how many points one team normally scores versus how many the other normally scores doesn’t make sense unless they are running the same pace. Instead, compare how often they score per possession.


Ed Fang from the Power Rank uses this formula: POSS = FGA - ORB + TO + (0.475 * FTA)


So, field goal attempts minus offensive rebounds plus turnovers plus .475 x free throw attempts.


This is a great start for figuring out how two teams that you are unsure of how they match up, might end up playing out.

Bet the Dogs Early

Last year, the underdogs absolutely dominated against the point spread early on in the tournament. It is important to remember that for many of these young men, this is the biggest stage they will see, so even though they may be outclassed by a top team, they end up playing their hearts out and keep it closer than we might expect.


The betting public has a tendency to do two things: bet the favorite and bet the over.


Well … that’s exactly what the sportsbooks want you to do. So, don’t! Look for qualified dogs and take them instead … go against the grain, so to speak.


On the first Thursday of last year’s tournament, underdogs went 7-1 against the spread in the first half of games and ended up totally out 10-6 ATS.


     Minnesota 86, Louisville 76 — Minnesota +5.5

     Auburn 78, New Mexico State 77 — New Mexico State +5.5

     LSU 79, Yale 74 — Yale covers +6.5

     Florida State 76, Vermont 69 — Vermont +8.5

     Maryland 79, Belmont 77 — Belmont  +3

     Michigan State 76, Bradley 65 — Bradley +18.5

     Kansas 87, Northeastern 53 — Kansas -6.5

     Murray State 83, Marquette 64 — Murray State +3.5



Get in on the Futures

The top four teams in the NCAA at the Power Rank are Kansas, Baylor, Gonzaga, and San Diego State.


But what are the actual odds for each team to win it all?


Kansas is the clear leader at +450 on Bovada, Baylor and Gonzaga are both sitting at +800 (8 to 1), but San Diego State is way back at 20 to 1 (+2000). This is a disparity on the odds boards and shows some real value on the Aztecs. A $10 bet would win you $200 if they won the tournament. So, What would happen if we bet $100 on Kansas, $100 on both Baylor and the Zags, and then $100 on SDSU?


Well, we would be in for $400 dollars. If Kansas won we would lose $300 and profit $150. If Either Baylor or the Zags won we would lose $300 and win $800, bringing our net profit to $500. If the Aztecs won, we would lose $300 but win $2000, bringing our total to $1700!


Obviously, there are a couple of teams that could throw a wrench in this … like Duke, Dayton, Kentucky, Michigan State, or Oregon. But if we are playing the probability, it is most likely that one of those four aforementioned teams wins it all.

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