March Madness is in full swing and, for the first time, the action away from the court is almost as exciting as the shots going down on it.
Prior to the start of the NCAA tournament, the American Gaming Association (AGA) estimated that $8.5 billion will be wagered during March Madness. With states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware all offering betting options, consumers have anted up in their droves.
March Madness Bracket Bonanza
Scanning the online gaming sector, many of the leading operators have created their own bracket competitions. Either free to enter or costing around $20, brackets from the likes of Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel have added an extra dynamic to this year’s March Madness.
With interest in brackets and betting reaching new highs, NCAA.com has been tacking the action. According to its database, a new record has been set. In the history of March Madness, no one has ever picked a perfect bracket.
Prior to this year’s tournament, the previous record was 39 games. Set back in 2017, the unbeaten streak was the closest anyone has ever come to predicting the outcome of all 63 games. As impressive as that may have been, Gregg Nigl has blown that streak out of the water.
Following four days of action, Nigl entered the Sweet 16 as the only player with a perfect bracket. Correctly picking 48 games from 48, the neuropsychologist from Columbus, Ohio, is on the verge of doing what many consider impossible.
Sports Betting Makes Perfect Brackets More Likely
Depending on which mathematician you listen to, the odds of picking a perfect March Madness bracket can be as high as one in 2.4 trillion. Whatever the odds, basketball fans love to take part every year and, now, Nigl could be about to make history.
Catching up with the 40-year-old ahead of the Sweet 16, NCAA.com learned that Nigl wasn’t even aware his bracket had broken a record.
“This seems kind of unreal. How do I know that this is, you know, real?”
After being shown he was batting 48 for 48, Nigl explained that his bracket wasn’t for money but he was taking part in some of the online cash competitions. Ahead of March Madness, the tipster said he used a combination of strategy advice and intuition.
“I always watch bracketology, I listen to them, take into account what they say. And then, honestly, sometimes it’s which teams I like better. Some cities I like better, some teams I like better, some coaches I like better. I do look at the rankings too. It’s a combination of things. Don’t get me wrong, a bunch of this is luck. I know that. I’m not going to say I knew every matchup by any means,” he told NCAA.com.
Even if Nigl doesn’t make it through March Madness with a perfect bracket, a new record has been set. Although luck has a large part to play in the outcome, the evolution of US sports betting has at least some part to play.
Thanks to regulation opening up new opportunities in terms of odds and offers, more fans have been given a chance to take part. Because of that, more people than have been able to some extra value to March Madness.. With that being the case, the chances of a perfect bracket have improved. What’s more, as the expansion of US sports betting continues, those odds may continue to improve in the coming years.