March Madness Parlay Betting
How To Pick The Best Parlays
By Eric Uribe
As office pools around the country flock to fill out a complete 68-team bracket — which if you didn’t know, is impossible to even come close to accurately picking — you should remember the bread and butter of wagering:
Now, we’re not saying to roll the dice on a six-team parlay. No, with so much madness, that’s almost as hard to hit as a bracket. However, we scoured all the first-round matchups and picked some of our favorite bets, ranging from almost locks to under-the-radar teams.
We hate to say lock, because in March Madness, anything can really happen — except a No. 16 beating a No. 1, which has never happened. But it’s too easy to bet a No. 1 in the first round, and the payoff is almost nonexistent. With that said, here are two solid favorites that provide more value for your buck.
Once upon a time, the Bulldogs symbolized the Cinderella story. That’s no more, as they are now in their third straight NCAA Tournament. Butler opens as 11-point favorites over little known Winthrop. Above all, the Bulldogs are battle-tested as they’ve handed defending champions Villanova two of their three losses this season. The Bulldogs know what it’s like to be overlooked, so don’t expect them to take the Eagles lightly.
St. Mary’s Gaels
Playing in the same division as Gonzaga, St. Mary’s is use to being overlooked. As the seventh seed, they are four-and-a-half-point favorites against Virginia Commonwealth. The Gaels always seem to have an international superstar. In the past, it’s been Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova. This year, it’s Australian big man Jock Landale. His 6-foot-11 frame will give VCU plenty of trouble.
Enough of the favorites, though. What makes the Big Dance so special — and boosts the payoff of your parlays — is the bracket-busting upsets. No seed pairing is more prone to upsets than the No. 12 vs. No. 5 matchup. At least one twelfth seed has topped a five seed in 15 of the past 16 NCAA Tournaments. This year’s twelve seeds are Middle Tennessee, Nevada, Princeton, and UNC Wilmington. It’s almost assured one of them will advance, but which one?
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Is this even an upset alert? Oddsmakers currently have Middle Tennessee and Minnesota at pick ’em — the lone first-round matchup with that distinction. Behind an explosive offense, the Blue Raiders have lost just four games this season. They are no stranger to pulling off the upset either, as they stunned No. 2 Michigan State last tournament.
Moreover, Minnesota is very vulnerable. Team captain and point guard Akeem Spring will be sidelined with an Achilles injury suffered a week ago. His absence immediately throws a wrench in the team’s chemistry.
Nevada Wolf Pack
The Wolf Pack open as six-and-a-half-point underdogs against Iowa State. On paper, these two are eerily similar teams. Both rode a small-ball lineup to conference championships and neither have much production outside their starting five.
However, the Cyclone have one clear weakness: rebounding. Out of 351 Division I programs, Iowa State ranked 295th in notching down boards. Only one player on their team, a guard, averages at least five rebounds a game. Expect the Wolf Pack to pound them on the glass to, at the very least, cover the spread.
Our advice is to pick three of the above teams for a parlay. If you want to play it safe, pick two favorites and one underdog. But if you’re feeling lucky — and you should because it’s March after all — then pair the two underdogs with a favorite for a huge payoff.