Legal March Madness Betting Guide 2016

BasketballNo two words evoke emotion among basketball betters more than "March Madness." Utter these words, and some gamblers may start salivating. But what is so special about March Madness that it not only stirs so much emotion but also drives the exchange of so much money? Let's have a look at what March Madness is, different strategies for betting on the tournament, and even a look at why so many people love it. First we will discuss the legalities surrounding March Madness betting and college basketball betting in general. This part of the betting equation can be confusing, so we've delivered the information in an easy to digest and understand format that really eliminates a lot of the complexity regarding the legal status of the US gambling landscape.

Is it legal to bet on the March Madness college basketball tournament in the US?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. It really boils down to the location of the sportsbook destination at which you want to participate. There are two federal laws that govern sports betting in the United States: the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and the Federal Wire Act. These two laws combined prohibit USA based online and offline sports betting, with the exception of four specific regions that were exempted from the PASPA law when it was enacted. Those 4 states are Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon. Of those four, only Nevada and Delaware offer their residents and visitors any type of sports betting, and Nevada is the only big player in the scene. Betting options are extremely limited in Delaware.

While these two gambling laws do effectively restrict US based sports betting, they do not have any impact on legally sanctioned offshore sports betting. These federal laws do not prohibit US residents from placing bets on the March Madness basketball tournament through online sportsbooks that are legally licensed, regulated, and located outside of the United States. The kicker here is to be sure you restrict your betting action to only those destinations that are verified to indeed posses legitimately licensing and certifications. Should you participate in any type of unlicensed sportsbook gambling, you may be in direct violation of state and federal laws. The sportsbooks that we recommend are all vetted by professionals and are guaranteed to offer licensed betting services.

While you may have heard that the UIGEA makes it illegal for US residents to participate in online gambling, I can assure you that this is not the case. In fact, the UIGEA bill does not even address player participation. The law is directed at online gambling site operators and payment processors. The law simply places regulatory oversight regarding how gambling related transactions can be processed in the US. You will never hear about a player who was investigated on charges of violating the UIGEA, because the law deals with industry professionals, not those who participate in their services.

Take for example the 2011 Poker Black Friday events. No players were investigated or permanently deprived of the funds associated with their account. Some players did experience delays in gaining access to their funds when the business assets were frozen, however this was a temporary situation that was resolved.

Legal March Madness Betting Sites

As mentioned several places on this page, it is imperative that you restrict your betting activities to only legitimate sportsbooks that are verified to be operating legitimately within the industry, such as the sportsbook brands you see recommended in this guide. Our team has carefully reviewed and evaluated every element of these sportsbooks and their operation. We not only verify their credentials, but we take a close and thorough look at their security profile, the quality of their betting lines, paylines, banking suite, customer support, user interface, and many more components to their business.

Most Recommended USA Online Sportsbook

Bovada Sportsbook - $250 Bonus 5 Star Site Rating

Bovada is the highest rated online sportsbook that caters specifically to US players. They currently offer a 50% matching bonus up to $250 to bet on March Madness basketball. In addition they also offer some incredible free contests and brackets to existing customers where players can win their share of over $25,000 in prize money.

One of the reasons Bovada is so popular with players is due to the fact that in addition to sports betting, they also offer casino and poker action all from the same players account. And the fact that they are extremely reputable and pay off players like a bank makes them a perfect choice.

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Top Online Sportsbooks To Bet March Madness In 2016

Many of the sites we recommend below offer some killer march madness promotions. But it's a little premature to list these promos since we are still a couple weeks away from the tournament tip off and the sportsbooks haven't posted their bracket contests yet. We will update this page accordingly once we have a good idea on which sites are offering what.

Top Rated March Madness Sports Betting Sites

Bovada Sportsbook 50% Max $250 5 Star Site Rating USA Friendly Visit Site Review
Betonline 25% Max $1,000 5 Star Site Rating USA Friendly Visit Site Review 25% Max $1,000 5 Star Site Rating USA Friendly Visit Site Review
Bookmaker 15% Max $2,500 5 Star Site Rating USA Friendly Visit Site Review
GTBets 100% Max $250 5 Star Site Rating USA Friendly Visit Site Review
Topbet 100% Max $1000 4 Star Site Rating USA Friendly Visit Site Review
        Sportsbook Reviews

Best Strategy for Betting on the March Madness NCAAB Tournament

Many people have strategies for betting on their basketball brackets when March Madness rolls around, but let's be honest here: Few of them are actually lucrative. By and large, most strategies are just wives tales or some variation of a numbers scheme created by people who aren't exactly mathematicians. This leads to a lot of money lost. Do we have more solid strategies for you to use? Yes and no. First, don't take these as gospel. There is no way to be mathematically sound for a sure bet. It's just impossible. However, there are different ways to limit your risks and to increase your odds of success. Those are the methods we'll be touching on below.

The particular strategy is one we'll refer to as a thinned field. When the tournament first starts up in March Madness, you have 68 separate teams. Attempting to bet on this opening round will be incredibly difficult, as you can be sure of many upsets and a whole lot of things being shaken up. The next round, which consists of 34 teams, is easier to grasp, but still a minefield of upsets and heart-breaks. The most sound strategy is to wait until the Sweet Sixteen to begin your betting. Once the field has been set with teams that have already won two games, you start to get a solid feel for what teams can do. You have more stats to go by. You can see if the team you like has been playing well; you can check their team stats for offensive and defensive output, and you can juxtapose them against their opponent for a measured decision. This also gets you past the curse of the high seed. For instance, you may no longer be tempted to take a #1 just because it's a #1. You may run into a 1 vs. 4, with the 4 actually looking more favorable.

By waiting until the round of 16 to study and bet, not only do you have a broader body of work to look at for your decision, but you also have less general chaos. Things have settled down and you can simply judge teams based on merit and not only on seeding and knockout potential.

How March Madness 2016 Is Expected To Play Out From Our Point Of View

While we are writing this preview for NCAA men's basketball fans prior to Selection Sunday, we're still going to give our take on how March Madness is expected to play out. Other than the Super Bowl, this 64-team single-elimination race to the National Championship is the most exciting and most-watched event of the year. It also gives people ample betting fodder, from betting on who will even make it into the tournament to who's going to do well and go deep into Final Four territory.

This particular season hasn't had any big standouts, like the Kentucky Wildcats of last year. While there have been solid teams, some of the most popular teams might not even make the tournament. LSU with freshman phenom Ben Simmons, for instance, might not even get in. However, there are some tournament mainstays and powerhouses that we can see easily competing for the Final Four. For instance, the Kansas Jayhawks have been a tough out all year, and they're likely going to be seeded #1 overall in any respective of the four district branches. Likely is the case that at least six teams from the ACC will get into the race of 64, with the team that wins likely being another #1 seed. North Carolina and Virginia are both strong coming out of the ACC, and it is assumed that, so long as these teams are split up into separate branches, both could end up in at least the Elite Eight. We see North Carolina being the strongest of the ACC teams, but it all depends on holding off Virginia and even Miami.

In the Big East, you have Villanova looking fantastic to earn a #1 seed and to win their respective conference. Georgetown has been weak all season, and the second-best team in conference, Xavier, doesn't provide much competition to Villanova. So we see the Wildcats being a top-seeded team and another tough out in the tournament. Lastly, we see that Indiana is making a big basketball comeback this year, reminding everyone that the Hoosiers can still play, while Michigan State, in the same Big Ten conference, is nipping at their heels. We suspect that one of the Final Four teams will also pop out of the Big Ten, and it might not necessarily be the winner. This has proven to be the toughest NCAA conference this year, so even Maryland's 12-6 record is a bit deceitful. They can easily push into the Sweet Sixteen.

So, for our Final Four performers, the teams looking the strongest right now, depending on the field and the yet-to-be-completed conference championships, Villanova, Kansas, Indiana and North Carolina are looking great. However, Selection Sunday may end up pitting some of these teams against one another in the same bracket. Provided it does not end up that way, these four teams are looking the strongest in 2016.

Why Fans Love March Madness

If you were forced to bottle up reasons for why fans love March Madness, what would you say? The obvious is that it's the year's biggest, fastest tournament. But more than that, it's the type of story America loves. It's like Rocky Balboa every year, when a team that barely limped in makes it to the Elite Eight and threatens to take it all. It never fails; it proves that motivated kids can truly control their fate. The one-off system is also something fans love. While many complain that the NFL's playoff system doesn't provide enough opportunity, since it's a one-off, this is actually an aspect of college ball that we appreciate more than the NBA. Sure, a seven-game series has its high points, but there's something about a one-off that's truly exciting. Anyone can beat anyone, and often we see this happen. It's an opportunity for smaller schools to become bigger names, and we love the total ambiance of the tournament.

Just remember to not allow your love for the tournament to lead to misplaced bets. Always study what you're betting on, and always make informed decisions. Try to wait until at least the Sweet Sixteen before you start gambling real money, and never neglect to look at team stats to get an idea of how teams play against stiff competition.

March Madness Dates And Schedule For 2016

Selection Sunday starts on March 15th, 2016. Final Four starts April 4th and the championship game is played on April 6th for the whole enchilada.

March Madness Resources

Downloadable March Madness Bracket From ESPN - Download your free bracket from ESPN

Official March Madness Site - From news, to tournament updates in real time, the official NCAA March Madness site has you covered.

Follow March Madness On Twitter - Follow march madness on Twitter to stay in the loop on everything.