March 18 (UPI) -- It's officially March Madness and we have you covered with the best bets and printable brackets for the 2019 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.
The tournament is expected to draw $400 million in legal wagers at online and retail sportsbooks in the United States, according to analysts at TheLines.com. That total includes $300 million in Nevada and $75 million in New Jersey.
Nevada accepted a record $459 million ($300 million for the tournament) in bets a year ago as the country's only legal sports betting jurisdiction.
The 2019 tournament begins with two First Four round matchups. Prairie View A&M battles Fairleigh Dickinson at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday before Temple takes on Belmont at 9:10 p.m. Both games are in Dayton, Ohio. The first round -- or, officially, the second round -- of the tournament begins Thursday.
Duke Blue Devils favorites to win championship
The Duke Blue Devils have the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament so it's no surprise the ACC champions open as the betting favorite to win the national championship.
Duke is a +255 bet to beat the field to the championship hardware, according to BetOnline.AG. Virginia (+550), Gonzaga (+600) and Duke rival North Carolina (+800) are also among the favorites to win the title April 8 in Minneapolis.
Fairleigh Dickinson, Prairie View A&M, North Dakota State and North Carolina Central have the longest odds at winning it all at +100000.
The Villanova Wildcats won the tournament last year, but have +5000 odds to repeat. Kansas, Michigan and Loyola joined Villanova in the Final Four in 2018. The Jayhawks are slated with +5000 odds, while the Wolverines have +1600 odds at championship glory. Loyola did not make the tournament field this March, following its Cinderella run a year ago.
Duke and fellow No. 1 seeds Virginia, Gonzaga and North Carolina are unsurprisingly favorites to win their respective regions. Michigan (west region) and Kentucky (midwest) have the second-best odds to win their regions at +275.
No. 15 seeds Montana and Bradley have better shots at winning their regions than No. 15 Abilene Christian and Colgate. Old Dominion has the best odds at winning its region of the No. 14 seeds at +6600. Fellow No. 14 seeds Yale and Georgia State are at +8000, while Northern Kentucky has +10000 odds at winning the west region.
UC Irvine has the best shot at winning its region of the No. 13 seeds at +6600. No. 13 seeds Saint Louis and Northeastern have +8000 odds, while Vermont is at +10000.
The No. 12 vs. No. 5 upset is a common trend every March. Of the four No. 12 seeds, Oregon (+4000) is the favorite to win its region. New Mexico State has +6600 odds at winning the midwest region. Murray State and Liberty each have long odds at +10000.
March Madness facts and brackets
Bracket pools are popular every March, but it's very unlikely to have a perfect prediction. The odds for picking a perfect bracket are roughly 1 in 9.2 quintillion. The American Gaming Association estimates $8.5 million in legal and illegal bets will be placed on the 2019 tournament.
An estimated $4.6 billion will be wagered on 149 million brackets by more than 40 million people.
Farleigh Dickinson (N.J,), Mississippi, Mississippi State, Nevada, New Mexico State, Seton Hall (N.J.), Villanova (Pa.), and Temple (Pa.), are the only schools in states where sports gambling is legal.