About 40 million Americans fill out at least one March Madness bracket every year, and about 70 million total brackets are played. Warren Buffett even has an offer where if you fill out a perfect bracket, he’ll give you $1 billion.
With online sports betting now legal, Massachusetts will see an influx of March Madness bracket contests (both free and paid-entry) at legal online sportsbooks. So what are the best contests offered? See below for the top sportsbooks with March Madness bracket contests.
Check here for the latest March Madness game lines.
Best free March Madness bracket contests
These are some of the best Massachusetts sportsbooks to use if you wish to participate in a free contest.
DraftKings Sportsbook MA
The DraftKings MA Sportsbook app has one of the best deals out there, and there are two options for March Madness bracket betting.
The first is called the March Mania Survivor Pool. Here, you have to pick one team to win each day of the tournament until the Elite 8 (where you choose one team for the round).
You advance in that pool if your team wins. However, the catch is that you can use a team only one time, so you will need to plan ahead. First place in that pool gets the grand prize of $30,000.
The second option is the $50,000 Bracket Battle. This contest is a more standard bracket pool, with the value of a correct pick escalating as the rounds go on.
BetMGM Sportsbook MA
The BetMGM MA Sportsbook has a special offer that puts them above most other sportsbooks: if you somehow pick a perfect bracket, you get $2 million.
Since that is very unlikely, they have a more standard prize for whoever has the best bracket. First place receives $100,000, so BetMGM is putting a little more money on the table than DraftKings is.
These sportsbooks offer NCAA bracket contests every year. They’re available now that Massachusetts sports betting has launched.
Second-chance bracket contests
Hope springs eternal every March, but most people’s brackets are busted by the end of the first or second round. Don’t let that ruin your March Madness fun. You have the option of looking for a second-chance bracket contest.
Most of these contests begin when the tournament reaches the Sweet 16. At that point, you can submit a new bracket and do your best to get the remaining 15 games correct.
How to fill out an NCAA Bracket online in Massachusetts
There are several ways to sign up, but the best and easiest is to click one of our links above.
Then, you will have to register and fill out some personal information such as your name, address, and email. After that is complete, you can make your first deposit, claim any available MA sports betting bonuses, and start betting on college basketball.
While you do that, you can look for March Madness odds and other available contests.
How March Madness brackets are scored
Most sportsbooks score contests with an escalating point scale, making later rounds worth more than games in the early rounds.
Let’s use DraftKings as an example. Its March Madness bracket contests are scored as follows:
- Correct picks in first round are worth 10 points
- Second-round games are worth 20 points
- Sweet 16 games are worth 40 points
- Elite 8 games award 80 points
- Final Four matchups award 160 points
- Picking the champion earns 320 points
As you can see, picking the champion is worth as many points as getting all 32 first-round game correct, so it pays to get those later rounds right. This scoring format is pretty standard for March Madness bracket contests.
How much can you win in bracket contests?
How much you can win depends on what contest you enter. Every contest has slightly different prizes, but the big ones are worth at least five figures.
DraftKings offers up to $5,000 for the winner of their bracket contest. Then, second and third place would receive $1,000 each.
Fourth and fifth place would claim $500 each. They even offer $1 for people who come in as low as 7755th.
If you win cash, you can click on the “cashier” option under your player profile and withdraw your winnings. They’ll post to your bank account or cash app within 72 hours. Some contests award site credits, and in that case, you have to play them.
Three absolute no’s when picking March Madness bracket contests
Very few people expect to have a perfect bracket, but some make many rookie mistakes. Here are three traps you should avoid when filling out yours.
1. Picking all chalk
Don’t just pick all of the higher seeds. The NCAA tournament is unpredictable, and there will likely be a few big upsets along the way. In short, lower-seeded teams will win on occasion.
Not accounting for an upset is a big mistake because that can be a quick way for your bracket to become irrelevant. That can especially be the case if a lower seed makes a serious run in the tournament. In 2022, North Carolina was a No. 8 seed and made it to the national championship game.
Our best advice here is to anticipate some upsets in your bracket. Remember that basketball is a game of matchups, and the single-elimination rules make that more important than ever. Lower seeds may not have the most talent, but they might play a style of basketball that makes them a better pick than the higher seed.
2. Picking too many upsets
On the opposite side of the spectrum, some bettors get a little bold and fill their brackets with upsets. While upsets can and do happen, this can be overkill. You are not likely to get all of them right.
The best approach is balance. Do not be afraid to pick a couple of upsets, but at the same time, that should not be your entire bracket.
3. Picking the same conference
It is usually uncommon for every team that makes a deep run in the tournament to be from the same conference. Some conferences get a lot of teams in the tournament, and some bettors tend to pick from there.
While a conference can be deep and well represented, it does not mean that those teams will all be there in the end. Diversify your picks.
How is the March Madness bracket determined?
A committee selects teams once their conference tournaments are over. This committee actively evaluates team performance over the course of the season and down the stretch into the tournament.
Conference winners in Division I get an automatic berth in the tournament. The committee then decides which teams are the most worthy of the remaining at-large bids.
In total, 68 teams make the NCAA tournament. These teams split into four regional brackets with teams seeded No. 1-16 in each region.
That equates to 64 spots, but four of those come after the “First Four” play in Dayton, Ohio, before the Thursday tip-off of the tournament proper. These games are between the four lowest-ranked automatic qualifiers and the four lowest at-large teams.
March Madness brackets FAQs
Here are some common questions that new bettors may have about March Madness bracket gambling.
When do March Madness brackets come out?
The brackets are released after conference tournaments finish. The bracket announcement is known as Selection Sunday and takes place the Sunday before the tournament begins.
How many bracket contests can you enter?
You can enter as many bracket contests as you like. Some contests may only let you submit one bracket, while others may allow you to fill out as many as you want.
How many combinations are there for March Madness brackets?
There are 63 games in a typical NCAA Tournament bracket, and the possible outcomes are 2^63. That number translates to 9,223,372,036,854,775,808, or 9.2 quintillion combinations.
What are the odds of a perfect bracket?
With so many possible outcomes for these games, there are insane odds for a perfect bracket to happen. If you flip a coin on each game, the odds of a perfect bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillions.
Your odds are far better if you are a college hoops expert, but even then, your odds are 1 in 120.1 billion.
How many March Madness brackets are filled out every year?
There are about 70 million brackets submitted by Americans every year for this tournament.
What’s the best-ever March Madness bracket?
In 2019, an Ohio man posted a perfect bracket into the Sweet 16. The NCAA claims it has never seen a perfect bracket before.