Ohio March Madness Betting Guide

Written By Nathan Frederick on March 13, 2023
Ohio March Madness Betting

March Madness will be missing some Ohio teams this year.

Ohio State and Cincinnati are out. Dayton finished one win short of an automatic bid. Youngstown State had the best record in the Horizon League but had to settle for the NIT.

So Ohio only has two NCAA Tournament teams: Xavier and Kent State. But the beauty of March Madness is that you don’t need a hometown team to get into the action and excitement.

With sports betting in Ohio live in time for this year’s tournament, there are plenty of ways to find an angle or a fun team to follow. Of course, you can always fill out a bracket or join a pool.

This NCAA Tournament betting guide from PlayOhio will provide the information you need to prepare for the tournament — and whatever brackets or bets might be in your future too.

Let’s start with a quick look at Ohio’s tournament teams and then several betting options for the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

Xavier earns a 3-seed in the Midwest Region

Xavier reached the Big East Tournament final but fell to Marquette, so the Musketeers had to settle for an at-large bid. Senior guard Souley Boum leads Xavier with 17.0 points per game. Junior guard Colby Jones averages 15.5 and senior forward Zach Freemantle adds 15.2.

The team’s scoring depth could be an asset in the tournament, with a total of five players averaging in double digits. Xavier is also 19th in Strength of Schedule this season according to TeamRankings.com.

  • Last Tournament Appearance: 2018
  • Best NCAA Tournament Team: 2017 – Elite Eight
  • This year’s region: Midwest
  • Round of 64 Opponent: Kennesaw State
  • DraftKings Spread: Xavier -11
  • Moneylines: Xavier (-700); Kennesaw State (+510)
  • Total: 152.5

Kent State represents the MAC, will face Indiana

The Golden Flashes reached March Madness by winning the MAC Tournament Saturday night with a 93-78 victory over top seed Toledo. Senior guard Sincere Carry leads Kent State with 17.3 points per game. Fellow guard Malique Jacobs, another senior, averages 12.8.

The Golden Flashes could be a popular Cinderella pick because they have some experienced guards and played No. 1 Houston close during a game in November, only losing by 5 points (49-44). They also faced Gonzaga and lost that game by single digits as well.

  • Last Tournament Appearance: 2017
  • Best NCAA Tournament Team: 2002 – Elite Eight
  • This year’s region: Midwest
  • Round of 64 Opponent: Indiana
  • DraftKings Spread: Indiana -4.5
  • Moneylines: Indiana (-190); Kent State (+160)
  • Total: 141.5

Option 1: How to join a traditional March Madness bracket or pool

The 2023 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament begins with the First Four in Dayton on Tuesday, March 14 and ends with the National Championship game in Houston on April 3. The First Four games tip-off at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday on TruTV.

Tuesday, March 14

  • No. 16 SE Missouri State vs. No. 16 Texas A&M CC (-4)
  • No. 11 Pitt vs. No. 11 Mississippi State (-1.5)

Wednesday, March 15

  • No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson vs. No. 16 Texas Southern (-2.5)
  • No. 11 Nevada vs. No. 11 Arizona State (-1)

*Betting lines provided by Caesars Sportsbook Ohio

The NCAA Tournament will end with the Final Four and National Championship game in Houston in a few short weeks.

According to a recent survey by the American Gaming Association, 68 million Americans intend to wager a total of $15.5 billion on this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Certainly, a good portion of that will be in office pools or friendly bracket contests.

However, with the legalization of sports betting in Ohio, there are now numerous other options as well.

DraftKings Sportsbook has a College Basketball Millionaire Bracket Contest that features a prize pool of more than $1.25 million for a $100 entry fee.

Other sportsbooks may offer similar contests. Visit your favorite sportsbook to check for sign-up bonuses as well.

And remember not to worry about early-round losses. According to the NCAA, the odds of creating a perfect bracket are 1 in 9.22 quintillion.

Option 2: Single game betting on the 2023 NCAA Tournament

If your bracket gets busted or you want to focus on individual games, another avenue to March Madness is to place a bet on a single game or a solitary outcome.

The simplest avenue is a moneyline bet. Select a team to win and if they do, you’ll get paid out according to the sportsbook’s odds.

For a slightly more complex bet, you can wager on a team against the point spread. The point spread is the projected gap in scoring between two teams.

To win this bet, the favored team must win by more than the spread to “cover.” Or the underdog must win the game outright or lose by an amount of points lesser than the spread to cash bets.

Another popular single-game wager is the over/under or total points.

Sportsbooks and betting apps will set a number that estimates the total scoring of both teams combined. Bettors can then wager on whether it will go over or under that amount. Pick the right side and you win.

Option 3: Betting futures on March Madness

Futures bets are another option for March Madness betting. In addition to the eventual tournament winner (which usually carry longer odds), most sportsbooks also have pricing available for teams to reach the Final Four, Elite Eight, or Sweet 16.

For example, according to DraftKings Xavier is +6000 to win the entire tournament. They are +700 to win the Midwest, +360 to make the Elite 8 and +120 to make the Sweet 16.

Option 4: Parlay betting on tournament games

If you want to link a few bets together to chase a bigger payday, parlay betting is a good plan of attack.

All bets on the parlay ticket must win in order for you to cash your bet. But on a positive note, the parlay odds are multiplied.

Some players like to build parlays that extend across several games. Others might choose to link up games with similar start and end times. Approaches may differ. But the important thing is to win!

Option 5: Fun March Madness prop bets

A proposition bet is a wager you can make specific to a certain player, team, or result.

Some examples of prop bets include:

  • How many minutes will a certain player play?
  • How many assists or points will a player have?
  • Pit two players against each other and select who will score more points
  • Will a game go into overtime?
  • Which team will make more three-point shots?

All of these bets, and more, can be made as a single wager or also combined into a parlay.

Option 6: Live betting the NCAA Tournament

If you’d like to wager on a game you’re watching in real time, most sportsbooks now have live betting odds available on popular games.

The live odds usually differ in price from the numbers that were available pre-game and will adjust constantly as the game progresses. If you like a number, don’t wait. With live betting, the odds can change moment to moment once the games start.

Option 7: Betting on the Women’s NCAA Tournament

If you want to double down on your basketball betting, the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament begins on Wednesday, March 15. And that one has a few more Ohio teams, with Ohio State (+6500), Toledo (+40000), and Cleveland State (+50000) all offering decent returns if they can win it all.

Ohio sports betting apps and retail sportsbooks

So what are you waiting for? Now that you know all the possibilities, you’re ready to get in on the action. Whether you prefer to place a bet in person or with one of Ohio’s betting apps, there are numerous options available to make the process easy.

Here’s a list of Ohio’s retail sportsbooks for in-person betting:

  • Belterra Park (FanDuel)
  • FC Cincinnati at Taft’s Ale House (Superbook)
  • Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati (Hard Rock Sportsbook)
  • Hollywood Casino Columbus (Barstool Sportsbook)
  • Hollywood Casino Toledo (Barstool Sportsbook)
  • Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway (Barstool Sportsbook)
  • Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley (Barstool Sportsbook)
  • JACK Cleveland Casino (betJACK)
  • JACK Thistledown Racino (betJACK)
  • Northfield Park (BetMGM)
  • Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse (Caesars)
  • Scioto Downs (Caesars)
  • The Cincinnati Reds at the Machine Room (BetMGM)

And here’s a rundown of Ohio’s betting apps:

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Photo by AP / Paul Sancya
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Written by
Nathan Frederick

Nathan Frederick covers Ohio sports and sports betting for PlayOhio. He is an award-winning writer with more than 1,000 published bylines over two decades of journalism experience. He has also authored three books, one of which debuted as an Amazon No. 1 New Release.

View all posts by Nathan Frederick