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Unpredictable NCAA March Madness dashes gamblers hopes for winning millions

Zero perfect brackets left in March Madness
Zero perfect brackets left in March Madness tournament 13:48

A series of upsets by underdog schools in this year's NCAA March Madness tournament is ruining many gamblers' hoop dreams.

More than 20 million people completed a tourney bracket this year in hopes of correctly picking the outcome of every matchup and potentially winning millions of dollars. But any chance of winning big bucks has now vanished, as the NCAA reported Saturday that there are no more perfect brackets.  

Gamblers still have a chance to win some money, but they've officially lost their shot at the grand prizes offered by major sports booking platforms. BetMGM offered $2 million for anyone who completed a perfect bracket, while FanDuel has offered a total of $50,000 for accurate March Madness brackets. DraftKings was offering $2 million for NCAA brackets, with $1 million going to the most accurate bracket.  

Maryland's win over Connecticut, Loyola University Chicago's defeat of the University of Illinois, and Oral Roberts University's victory against the University of Florida in the tournament's first round were all among a series of upsets last weekend that frustrated gamblers and surprised sports insiders.  

"We are on pace for the wildest first weekend potentially in the history of the NCAA tournament," CBS Sports college basketball writer Matt Norlander told CBSN. 

All told, experts expect more than $8.5 billion worth of bets will be placed on the 2021 March Madness tournament, Forbes reported.

The last perfect bracket fell on Saturday after the University of Maryland defeated the University of Connecticut, the squad many gamblers expected to win as the UConn Huskies were ranked higher than Maryland.

There are 67 games in the March Madness tournament, and no sports bettor has ever filled out a perfect, verifiable bracket, the NCAA said. The longest verifiable streak came in 2019 when an Ohio man guessed 49 straight victories, meaning he perfectly predicted every team thaat would end up in the Sweet 16, the NCAA said. The tournament continues this week and ends April 5.

According to the NCAA, the odds of correctly predicting all the games in the March Madness tournament can be as high as 1 in 9.2 quintillion. People with more expertise can lower those odds to roughly 1 in 28 billion, according to data out of DePaul University.

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