ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., March 18, 2019 — The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament could draw $400 million in legal wagers at online and retail sportsbooks across the country — a total that includes $300 million in Nevada and $75 million in New Jersey, according to the analysts for TheLines.com.
The NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed on Sunday, officially tipping off one of the largest sports betting holidays in the United States. In seven of the eight legal sports betting jurisdictions in the U.S., this will mark the first time bettors will get a chance to make a legal March Madness bet, and the fervor should be significant.
“In Nevada, the NCAA Tournament trails only the Super Bowl in popularity for sports bettors and actually generates more bets because of the number of games,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for TheLines.com. “New Jersey, which is the second-largest legal sports betting market, is not as event-driven as the Silver State. But the overall handle should propel the state into a record month for handle.”
In 2018 and as the country’s only legal sports betting jurisdiction, Nevada accepted a record $459 million in bets in March 2018, and about $300 million of that came on NCAA Tournament wagers. By comparison, the Super Bowl in 2018 generated a record $158.6 million in bets.
Nevada should see similar interest this year. Using the Super Bowl as a guide, New Jersey could draw about 25 percent of Nevada’s March Madness handle. Delaware, Mississippi, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia should generate around $25 million in NCAA Tournament bets.
“I am particularly bullish on New Jersey, where the interest in NBA and college basketball betting has been high,” Gouker said. “Basketball has drawn a higher share of wagering in New Jersey than it has in Nevada this season, and that will likely translate well to the NCAA Tournament.”
Some numbers to note ahead of March Madness:
- The consensus favorite to win the national championship so far is Duke (2-to-1), followed by Gonzaga (6-to-1), Virginia (6-to-1), North Carolina (7-to-1), Michigan State (12-to-1), and Kentucky (12-to-1).
- It’s not easy to pick the eventual winner of the National Championship. But it’s nothing compared to picking every game correctly in a bracket sweepstakes. The odds for picking a perfect NCAA Tournament bracket is roughly 1 in 9.2 quintillion.
- Farleigh Dickinson (New Jersey), Mississippi, Mississippi State, Nevada, New Mexico State, Seton Hall (New Jersey), Villanova (Pennsylvania), and Temple (Pennsylvania), are the only teams from schools in states where sports betting is legal. Bettors in New Jersey are barred from placing bets on games involving in-state institutions.
- The American Gaming Association estimates that $8.5 billion in legal and illegal bets will be placed on this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Need help picking a bracket? Let the professional oddsmakers give a helping hand. The latest March Madness odds and other important NCAA Tournament information and data can be found at www.thelines.com.
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