Here’s a Few Other Ways to Wager on March Madness

NCAA Bracket
There are alternatives to the traditional bracket out there.

Is your “sheet of integrity” ready to go for Thursday? Have you exhausted your daily amount of white-out on your hard copy bracket? Or perhaps you’re one of those thousands of workers who will cost your company millions of dollars in lost wages.

Give the brackets a rest will ya? I’ve got a couple of other ways you can enjoy some tournament wagering action without having to do much if any research at all. If you have enough folks at work, in the dorm or maybe just in your group of buddies, here’s a couple of formats to consider.

Game 1

Number of Players:  16

Typical buy-in: $20 (any will work frankly)

Level of college hoops knowledge required to play: ZERO

How to do it: Have each of the 64 teams in the field written on small pieces of paper. Divide the teams into four groups. Seeds 13-16, 9-12, 5-8 and 1-4. Each person selects a team in the lowest (highest number) grouping and then the order of selection reverses for seeds 9-12.

Start with person #9 and go down for seeds 5-8 and then start with person #8 and go up for seeds 1-4.   In order to be fair about the selection order, use a random generator (you could use Excel) to put the players in drafting order 1-16.

Once all 16 players have their four teams, have the “gaming commissioner, “ or ‘GC’as we call it, record the teams of each player. The GC will distribute a sheet for all players and is responsible for being the scorekeeper for the tournament.

Payouts include the following:

First place: $120, Second Place: $80, Third and Fourth Place earn $40 each and there is a $40 award for the ‘Cinderella’ of the tournament as well. This is the player with most wins for a seed 13-16.

The winner will be the person who has the national champion. Second goes to the Finals’ runner-up and 3rd and 4th go to players who round out the Final Four.

Tom Izzo
Izzo's Spartans are always a good bet to reach the Sweet 16.

Game 2

Number of Players:  Any

Typical buy-in: Any amount.  Depends on your players financial standing.

Level of college hoops knowledge required to play: Some hoops knowledge definitely required.

How to do it: So you’ve been completely massacred through the first two rounds of the tourney and your final four teams have been eliminated. Here’s a second chance… This is a Sweet Sixteen pool. Simply create a bracket of the remaining 8 games and select the winners through the national champion. Tie breaker is total points in the final game. Make sure players write in a final score however as margin of victory will serve as second tie-breaker. Split the pot to get more people involved. The more chances to win the more people get involved, right?

1st place 70%, 2nd place 20% and third place 10% of the pot.

One other way to avoid ‘bracket meltdown’ is to weight your selections. Perhaps you think Davidson, a 14 seed will knock off 3 seed Marquette in the opening game for both teams. If this is the lowest seed you have winning then you would weight it the most.

It’s a little more for the ‘GC’ to keep track of, but there are ways to use Excel to your advantage in a pool like this one too.

Whatever you do, don’t limit yourself to just the boring old bracket. You could be out of that pool before the first game Saturday ever begins. If you happen to be around a good group, take advantage of a number of ways that you can enjoy the tournament besides your basic bracket this year. If anything, it opens up more winning opportunities right?