March is around the corner, and do you know what that means?
March Madness and MLB’s spring training. Mostly, March Madness, though.
West Virginia sportsbooks are preparing to accept bets on the NCAA Basketball Championship for the first time in the state’s history.
And while March Madness doesn’t generate the enormous amount of interest like the Super Bowl does, it is still one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year.
Betting on March Madness in West Virginia
Sports bettors can wager on the NCAA tournament championship in person or online in the Mountain State. Currently, there are five WV sportsbooks and one mobile sports betting app.
WV sportsbooks include:
- Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
- Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort
- The Casino Club at The Greenbrier
- Mardi Gras Casino and Resort
- Wheeling Island Hotel
Currently, BetLucky is accepting bets on the NCAA basketball championship. As of Feb. 15, odds to win are:
- Duke +175
- Field +200
- Gonzaga +600
- Kentucky +700
- Virginia +800
- Tennessee +800
The odds fall in line with the NCAA selection committee’s assessment of the field.
NCAA selection committee gives a March Madness sneak peek
Selection Sunday is still one month away, but that hasn’t stopped the NCAA selection committee from beginning its deliberations during its annual orientation meeting.
It is the third year that the committee unveiled a look at the front runner’s for the top 16 spots ahead of Selection Sunday.
At the time of the meeting, the committee announced the top seeds if the season ended:
The No. 2 seeds would be:
- North Carolina
- Michigan State
The No. 3 seeds would be:
The No. 4 seeds would be:
- Iowa State
Bernard Muir, director of athletics at Stanford and the committee chair, talked about the deliberations:
“There was considerable discussion about the order of the top seven schools, but certainly those teams separated themselves from the others at this time. Duke and Tennessee were essentially 1 and 1a; it was that close.
“A slight edge in some of the metrics was the difference in Duke getting the overall top seed. Virginia was a solid No. 3 team on the top line, and Gonzaga got the fourth No. 1 seed based largely on the teams they’ve beaten and the quality of the opponents they’ve lost to.”
March Madness betting means big money
Now, WV sports betting on March Madness is not likely to reach those numbers, especially with West Virginia University and Marshall‘s slim chances of a bid.
However, there is no denying the appeal of the NCAA basketball tournament to both seasoned and casual sports bettors.
Currently, in addition to West Virginia, there are six states with legal sports betting:
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
That means there are a lot of college basketball fans without a place to place a wager — at least legally. Unfortunately, the illegal sports betting market will benefit from states without regulated sports betting.
In fact, the American Gaming Association estimates sports bettors wager over $10 billion on March Madness annually. That figure includes both legal and illegal bets. Last year, when only Nevada had legal sports betting, the state’s sportsbooks processed $437 million worth of bets.
The good news is with the addition of more states, including West Virginia, more bets will move into the legal category this year. Expect that trend to continue as the majority of US states have begun discussions or introduced legislation to legalize sports betting.