Onlinesportsbetting's experts prepared a March Madness Ticket Buying Guide for you.
Everyone wants a bid to the "Big Dance" — coaches, players, fans, and bettors, alike. The first two groups must earn a trip after playing through a marathon college basketball season. But for fans and gamblers, a March Madness ticket is all that's needed to get the experience.
This guide is your primer to nabbing tickets to the NCAA Tournament. We've included a full schedule for the 2021 competition, the best sites for ticket-buying, and the cherry on top — how to gamble on the tourney games. There's a lot to cover so let's dive right in!
Where To Buy March Madness Tickets
Multiple avenues exist for purchasing NCAA Tournament tickets — some legit, some scammy. These next four options are your best bet for getting official game tickets in a trustworthy manner. Believe us, your hard-earned money is in safe hands with these platforms:
NCAA Official Site
Of course, NCAA's own site will have ticket-buying opportunities for every single March Madness contest. Typically, tickets come in one of two packages.
The first is a session ticket. This grants you admission to two games at the same venue during a single day. There's also an all-session or full-strip package. As the name implies, you get entrance to every game that a specific venue hosts during a weekend.
School Official Site
Teams that earn entrance to the NCAA Tournament will be allotted a portion of game tickets — for the matchup, it's participating in only — for its fan base. Typically, sales reps of those particular programs go straight to season-ticket holders for the buying opportunity. That's why it's critical to establish a relationship with those salesmen beforehand and make it clear you want first dibs on game tickets.
If you struck out with the NCAA and individual schools, you can buy tickets through the secondary market. In this scenario, everyday fans or ticket scalpers are re-selling their already-bought game passes to regular folks. Most of this is done online and dozens of sites exist to fill this void.
One of the biggest players in the aftermarket is StubHub. With splashy marketing and former naming rights to LA Galaxy's arena in the MLS, most consumers are aware of the site. Beyond name recognition, StubHub makes the ticket buying and selling experience hassle-free.
Like StubHub, SeatGeek is a prominent player in the secondary marketplace. All transactions are handled on-site and it's done in a secure manner. This ensures your purchasing information is safe and you're getting real game tickets to March Madness.
2021 March Madness Schedule
As you prepare to buy tickets to the "Big Dance", here's the tentative 2021 playing schedule for planning purposes:
- March 14 — Selection Sunday (not attendable, but viewable on TV)
- March 16 and 17 — First Four (in Dayton, Ohio)
- March 18 through 21 — the first and second round (eight separate locations)
- March 25 through 28 — the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight round (four unique hosting sites)
- April 3 through 3 — the Final Four round and national championship game (in Indianapolis, Indiana)
If you're a fan of a particular team, you'll want to wait until Selection Sunday to see which side of the bracket they're placed in. This will tell you the exact location of their first game so you can book a trip to see the action in-person. Taking a wait-and-see approach also applies to the rounds after since there's no telling whether that school will advance or not.
However, if you want to get a big game experience regardless of a school, the Final Four should be on your radar. That's because the Final Four is played inside a football stadium, not a traditional basketball arena. With three times the fan capacity, the live viewing experience doesn't get grander than the Final Four.
Since demand for the Final Four is so high, the NCAA randomizes the ticket process. Interested attendees can submit an application online to attend — which runs $25. If randomly selected, applicants will receive seating in the upper deck. The deadline to apply for 2021 Final Four tickets was August 31, 2020.
Best Sportsbooks For March Madness Betting
Whether you're live in-person at the event or watching the big game from the comfort of your home, you'll need an online sportsbook to handle your NCAA Tournament gambling.
If you fall into the latter group, you'll want to place a bet before attending the live matchup. Internet speeds are usually throttled while at the game given the crowd size, so betting in-play is usually off-limits.
Anyway, literally hundreds of bookies exist to serve that purpose — and the number is seemingly growing by the day. If you're new to this online betting thing, that may be option overload for you. But we're here to assist.
After reviewing hundreds upon hundreds of online betting sites, we know the good from the bad, the elite from the great, and so forth. When it comes to March Madness betting, it's hard to go wrong with these next three sportsbooks:
March Madness Betting at Bovada
One of the most recognized names in all of online gambling is none other than Bovada. Essentially it's the U.S. counterpart of Bodog and since launching in 2011, has steadily grown its user base.
Bettors flock to Bovada for many reasons, but chief among them are selection and it's user experience. When it comes to the latter, the site is stock-piled with betting lines from an array of sports and leagues across the world. Of course, NCAA basketball is a part of that and Bovada supports the league with lines for just about every Division I hoops game.
Second, there are few competitors that outdo Bovada in terms of its playing experience. With a slick and intuitive design, bettors should have no problem finding and placing a wager at Bovada. This goes for both desktop and mobile users since the interface is one and the same across either device type.
MyBookie's Markets for the March Madness
Not only is MyBookie an inviting name for a sportsbook, but it also lives up to the billing. MyBookie is effectively a one-stop-shop for online gambling. College basketball bettors won't miss a beat on MyBookie. The site offers it all — spreads, moneylines, over/unders, futures, props, and then some.
But here's where MyBookie separates itself from the crowd. The site has one of the best bang-for-your-buck sign up bonuses industry-wide. The first deposit made by a new player into the platform will be matched dollar-for-dollar (100 percent) in free play by MyBookie. When maxed out, the promotion can top out to $1000 in free play.
A cool $1000 prize is no small thing and when March Madness wagering, that can really go a long way. For one, it's a great way to bankroll your betting during the three-week marathon. Heck, you can even funnel it all into one high-risk, high reward bet — though, we'd advise against this. But hey, it's not our money, it's your courtesy of BetOnline's killer deal!
Plenty of March Madness Lines at GTBets
Rounding out our recommendations is GTBets. Not unlike Bovada or MyBookie, the very best NCAA odds are available at GTBets. Not only in terms of pure selection but the betting prices they're available in, too.
However, where GTBets earns its keep is its GameTimeRewards program. Essentially, its a loyalty program for bettors of the site. Every time you bet on GTBets — whether on the March Madness tourney or an entirely different sport — you earn back points.
These points come with perks, of course. For one, you'll be tiered into a rewards level based on how many points you rack up. Each tier has its own unique benefits. But regardless of what level you're in, reward points can be converted to cashback. So in theory, it pays to play at GTBets.
For NCAA Tournament betting, you can't go wrong with any one of these sportsbooks. If you're looking for more suggestions, glance at the table below. Collectively, this is the "cream of the crop" of online sports betting. We've also linked in-depth site reviews and details about their sign-up bonus to help you make a better decision.
More March Madness Resources
Want more March Madness-related guides? Check out the articles below for further reading.
- March Madness odds: There's no one way to bet on the "Big Dance." We cover all the March Madness betting methods here and believe us, there's plenty.
- March Madness futures: One such wagering method is futures, and it's mighty popular among bettors. This article breaks down futures betting in-depth.
- March Madness bracket predictions: Everyone and their mother fills out a bracket for March Madness. Here are some tips about doing so successfully — including why a perfect bracket is virtually impossible.
- March Madness favorites: Who are the betting favorites heading into the tourney? We cover that, plus more, in this handy guide.
- March Madness locations: We touched on this slightly, but this article has the full list of hosting sites for the 2021 NCAA Tournament.