NH Lottery Projects Players Will Bet Over $15 Million on Men’s College Basketball Tournament


Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Lottery expects players to bet more than $15 million on this year’s Men’s College Basketball Tournament, making the three-week tournament the largest sports betting event of the year. Last year, New Hampshire players wagered more than $15.1 million on the tournament, and the New Hampshire Lottery expects to exceed that total this year with heavy betting volume anticipated now through the championship game on Monday, April 4. The Men’s College Basketball Tournament begins in earnest with first-round games Thursday, March 17.

Between conference tournaments that took place earlier this month and the Men’s College Basketball Tournament, New Hampshire players have already placed more than 188,000 wagers totaling more than $20 million on college basketball this month, according to the New Hampshire Lottery.

“The Men’s College Basketball Tournament is our biggest sports betting driver each year with three weeks of sustained action and given the momentum sports betting has generated in just over two years, we can’t wait for the first-round games to tip-off,” said Charlie McIntyre, Executive Director, New Hampshire Lottery. “The tournament is a tremendous opportunity to make a major impact on our ongoing efforts to maximize revenue for New Hampshire schools. Whether you are a new or current player, the tournament is the perfect time to explore the world of sports betting, and there’s still time to get in on the action before games get underway!”

Johnny Avello, of DraftKings, who has spent more than 30 years as an oddsmaker in Las Vegas, expects to see close to non-stop betting action Thursday through Sunday this week as the tournament gets underway.

“With the tournament fully back to normal this year for the first time since 2019, we expect this to be the biggest tournament we’ve ever had and quite possibly the biggest event we’ve ever had,” Avello said.

Given that there are thousands of ways to bet the tournament, Avello provided some insight for DraftKings customers in New Hampshire:

  • Start with the basics – Bet games on the point spread, total points scored or moneyline. “Those are really the big three and if you haven’t bet before, I would stick with those initially,” Avello said.
  • Consider thinking ahead – Instead of betting an individual game, players can bet who they think is going to win the overall tournament or make it to the final four. That type of betting is called “futures,” and players are seeing some “pretty lucrative odds” if they approach the tournament that way, Avello said. Thus far, Duke, Gonzaga, Arizona, UConn and Kansas are the most popular New Hampshire picks to win the tournament. 
  • Start free – DraftKings and the New Hampshire Lottery offer free-to-play introductory pools where players still have the chance to win. In addition, to encourage new players to join the sports betting community during the Men’s College Basketball Tournament, the New Hampshire Lottery and DraftKings are offering new customers a $10 live free bet when they place a minimum bet of $20 on college basketball. The promotion runs through April 4, 2022.
  • Do some research – Sports fans don’t need to know all the ins and outs of every team but if players are looking at a particular matchup, Avello suggested doing some baseline research to understand each team, who they played this season, their records, and how they performed against the point spread during the season. “It’s a little more fun if you put just a little work into it,” Avello noted. 
  • Have fun – “Sports betting is about having a fun and entertaining experience, so don’t forget that. Don’t get frustrated. Have some fun with it,” Avello said. While the New Hampshire Lottery and DraftKings encourage players to explore sports betting, they remind players to always bet responsibly within their limits.

Each tournament has its nuances that keep bettors on their toes. Typically, the selection committee tends to place higher-seeded teams in locations offering some home court advantage, but that was not the case this year, Avello said, noting instead of having Duke play games in North Carolina, the team is instead set to play in South Carolina where crowds would presumably be much less friendly. That change makes it potentially harder on some of the higher seeds, adding a bit of a twist for bettors, Avello added.

Smaller schools have consistently gotten better over the past decade, Avello said, and sports fans are starting to see considerably lower point spreads for games between the tournament’s highest- and lowest-seeded teams. Historically games between number one seeds and 16 seeds carried point spreads in excess of 30 points, but it’s more common now to see points spreads of less than 20 points in those games.

Avello noted a few teams he’s paying attention to as the tournament gets underway. The University of Tennessee is coming in on a hot streak after winning the SEC tournament. Despite just 17 wins on the season, the University of Michigan made the tournament on its strength of schedule. Murray State and Loyola are examples of “small school darlings” who have captivated fans in the past with deep runs, Avello said.

Remember, Avello said, to win the tournament, teams need to win six games and “you have to be fortunate in a couple games to do it, either hit the last shot or hope the other team misses it. You have to have the ball bounce your way.”

In addition to mobile sports betting, the New Hampshire Lottery and DraftKings have opened three retail sportsbook locations. DraftKings Sportsbook at The Brook in Seabrook opened in August 2020 and DraftKings Sportsbook at Filotimo in Manchester opened in September 2020, with Filotimo opening a sister location in Dover in October 2021.

Since the New Hampshire Lottery and DraftKings launched mobile sports betting in New Hampshire on December 30, 2019, bettors have wagered more than $1 billion. Thus far this fiscal year, players have placed more than 10 million wagers totaling more than $508 million.

New Hampshire residents can download the DraftKings Sportsbook app to place wagers through DraftKings, the exclusive digital operator in New Hampshire. Sports fans can place bets on the DraftKings Sportsbook app via iOS and Android or online at Sportsbook.DraftKings.com. Together, DraftKings and the New Hampshire Lottery take responsible gaming seriously and the state-of-the-art app offers consumers a number of responsible gaming tools including limit setting, cooling-off periods, and self-exclusion.

For more information and to download the app, visit: https://nhlottery.com/Sports/Mobile-Internet-Sports-Betting.