Selection Sunday has come and gone, which means it’s time for the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball tournament to get underway. 68 teams will hit the hardwood with dreams of grandeur. Some teams have more realistic chances than others, of course, but at this time of year hope springs eternal.
Last year’s tournament marked the first time a No. 16 seed (UMBC) ever defeated a No. 1 seed (Virginia) in the first round. It was the biggest upset in the history of March Madness, so it will be interesting to see what 2019 has in store as an encore. Interestingly enough, Virginia is a No. 1 seed once again. Lightning can’t strike twice in the same place, right?
My typical approach to March Madness is to fill out multiple different brackets, with a different team winning the title in each of them. Hedging bets is a pretty popular strategy when it comes to filling out tournament brackets, especially among those that would not be considered experts in the field of college hoops.
Whether you’re an expert or not, a college basketball diehard or simply a casual fan, filling out a bracket is the most fun aspect of college basketball’s signature event. Office pools are the most popular way to get in on the action, but a number of prominent sports betting sites are also offering competitions of their own.
Two of the sports betting sites offering big-money prize pools are MyBookie and BetOnline.
MyBookie’s Bracket Contest
For just $15 per entry, you can enter as many brackets as you want over at MyBookie.ag. The contest includes a guaranteed prize pool of $50,000, and there is no limit on how many entries you may purchase. MyBookie has a banner right at the top of the home page advertising the bracket challenge.
The first step, of course, is to sign up for a membership at MyBookie. They make the process quick and easy. Most importantly, it’s free to do so. If you’re using a web browser, simply click the green “JOIN” button in the top right-hand corner of the window. Doing so will take you to the account creation screen, where you need to fill in a little information, such as your name, email address and a few other details, like a password.
Be sure to notice the promo code offered near the bottom of the screen just before you submit your information. That code can be used to take advantage of one of the many bonuses MyBookie offers for first-time deposits.
For example, MyBookie is offering to match your initial deposit by 50 percent if you deposit at least $100. MyBookie will credit your account with 50 percent of your deposit up to $1,000 if you are putting betting money into your account for the first time.
Once you have created your account and gotten your deposit bonus from MyBookie, you are officially ready to enter the March Madness bracket challenge.
The rules of the game are simple. You have until 12:15pm Eastern on Thursday, March 21, to enter your brackets. If you enter the contest but forget to actually fill out your bracket by the time the contest locks, your entry will be nullified and your account will be re-credited with your entry fees.
Only brackets that have been fully filled out will be eligible for prize money. Once you submit your bracket, you’re locked in. After submission, you will no longer have the chance to go back in and make edits, so make sure everything looks the way you want it to before officially entering.
Correct selections in the first round will earn you 1 point. You get 2 points per correct selection in the second round, 4 points for correct picks in the Sweet 16, 8 points per correct pick in the Elite 8, 16 points for every correct pick in the Final Four, and a whopping 32 points if you correctly pick the winner of the National Championship Game.
If you are among the 100-plus entrants that wins, you will be notified via email. If you wind up with the most accurate bracket in the field, you will take home $5,000. Second place wins $3,000, third place gets $2,000, fourth wins $1,500 and the participant that finishes in fifth gets $1,250. The payouts continue, with finishers 101 through 125 earning $150 apiece.
BetOnline offers a few different kinds of games for their March Madness promotions. BetOnline has a $50,000 March Madness challenge in addition to a $10,000 Sweet 16 bracket challenge. The site is also offering a $35,000 March Madness blackjack tournament.
The sign-up process for BetOnline is similar to that of MyBookie, and BetOnline does offer a 50 percent welcome bonus for first-time deposits. Once you create your account, the site will match your first deposit by 50 percent. BetOnline also offers a refer-a-friend contest with a $10,000 prize pool that you may enter if you successfully convince someone you know to deposit on the site using a referral code.
Each of the aforementioned competitions has a different entry fee. The “Bracket Madness” challenge costs you $15 to get in, the Sweet 16 game costs $10 to participate, while the blackjack tourney has a $5 entry.
As is the case with MyBookie’s bracket challenge, the main event at BetOnline will close just before tipoff of the first tournament game on Thursday, March 21. You do have the ability to change your picks if you so choose prior to the beginning of each game. Once the game starts, those picks are locked in. Only completed brackets will be eligible to win cash prizes.
You may enter up to 20 different brackets, and BetOnline does offer a discount per entry based on how many you enter. One entry costs you $15, but entries 2 through 5 cost just $10 apiece to enter. Entries 6 through 20 are just $5, so BetOnline is encouraging you to enter as many brackets as possible. Obviously, the more brackets you enter, the higher your chances of actually winning.
Like MyBookie, BetOnline is offering a $50,000 prize pool that uses the exact same scoring system (1 point for a correct first-round pick, etc.). The payout structure is different, however, with first place taking home $10,000. Second place gets $8,000, while third place wins $5,000. Only the top 20 finishers will win money, with $500 being the lowest prize (16th-20th place).
The Sweet 16 contest will open when the tournament reaches that round, while the blackjack tournament is open as we speak.
Winning your office pool may bring bragging rights, but placing in MyBookie’s or BetOnline’s big-money competitions would fatten your wallet considerably. Both sites offer you no shortage of chances to win the big bucks, so I can’t think of a better way to dive into the March Madness action.
The competitions get underway soon, so don’t wait. Fill out your winning brackets today and head on into April with a few extra Benjamins in your bank account.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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