The Madness has already begun in Las Vegas.
ESPN Chalk will take you through the first week of the NCAA tournament -- arguably the most electric four days in sports betting -- with an updating file of the action in Las Vegas. Some of these futures bets were made earlier in the season as well.
Notable tourney spread bets
• On Friday, Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology took a $20,000 three-team money-line bet on Purdue, Virginia and North Carolina to all win straight up. If all three heavily-favored teams prevail, the bettor would net $870, according to CG Technology vice president of risk Jason Simbal.
• Biggest needs for the Westgate SuperBook to start the day on Friday: Texas A&M, Lipscomb, Arkansas, Bucknell, Wichita State and Clemson.
• The team that had attracted the most-lopsided action as of Friday morning at William Hill was New Mexico State. The underdog Aggies had attracted 81 percent of the money wagered on their game with Clemson.
• Biggest need for Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology at 11 a.m.: Lipscomb. The Bison are 20.5-point underdogs to defending national champion North Carolina.
• More bets were placed on Arizona to win the NCAA tournament than any other team at multiple Las Vegas sportsbooks. The Wildcats were upset by Buffalo on Thursday.
• At 10:15 a.m. on Friday, Texas A&M was the biggest need for Caesars Palace sportsbook. "That being said, (it's) not as much as anything yesterday," a Caesars sportsbook manager told ESPN in an email. "That will change at some point." The Aggies are 3-point favorites over Providence.
• A bettor at William Hill US has placed a $29,000 money-line bet on Kansas to beat Penn at -1,450 odds. A Jayhawks' win would produce a $2,000 net win.
• As of 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, William Hill US had taken 15 bets on 16th-seed Radford to beat Villanova straight up at 30-1. The largest bet on Radford was $50.
• As of 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, a total of 28 bets had been placed on Maryland-Baltimore County, Texas Southern and Radford to win the tournament at William Hill US. Each were sitting at 3,000-1.
• The biggest needs for the Westgate SuperBook as of 11 a.m. were Radford, Penn, Buffalo, Ohio State and UNC Greensboro.
• Iconic bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro of the South Point reported on Twitter taking a $10,000 money-line bet on Arizona at -500. The Wildcats are around 8.5-point favorites over Buffalo.
• The game that had attracted the most-lopsided action at William Hill as of Thursday morning was South Dakota State vs. Ohio State. Ninety percent of the money that's been wagered on the game was on South Dakota State.
• The biggest need for Caesars Palace sportsbooks as of 10 a.m. is the UNC Greensboro Spartans. "Public avalanche on Gonzaga," a Caesars sportsbook manager told ESPN in an email. Gonzaga is as high as a 13-point favorite over UNC Greensboro.
• On Sunday, shortly after posting lines on the opening round matchups, CG Technology took $2,000 limit bets on UCLA -3, Montana +12, Gonzaga -11.5 and North Carolina -18.
• The only game in the opening round that had seen a 2-point line-movement at the South Point was the First Four clash between Texas Southern and North Carolina Central. Texas Southern opened as a 6-point favorite, but quickly was bet down to -4. "Big money, limit bets from guys who seemed like they knew what they were doing" caused the move, South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said.
• The teams attracting the most-lopsided action in the Thursday games at Station Casinos: Michigan, Arizona and Gonzaga.
• MGM sportsbooks offer money-line odds on which team will be the first to reach 15 points on every NCAA tournament game. They've been offering the 'first to 15' wager for several years. At first, it was lightly bet, but not anymore.
"The 'first to15' has really become a widely popular bet with this crowd," MGM vice president of race and sports Jay Rood said. "It's a quick decision, and it has the potential to be really good payouts with some of these big underdogs."
Rood said the public generally gravitates to the underdog in 'First to 15' bets and has faced six-figure decisions on some games.
"We'll have more money on 'first to 15' on a 5-12 (seed) game than we will on a normal regular-season college basketball game," Rood said.
Duke and Arizona are the largest favorites in Thursday's "first to 15" odds. The Blue Devils and Wildcats are each -525 to reach 15 points first in their openers against Iona and Radford respectively.
• With the NCAA tournament often taking place around college spring break, the betting acumen in Las Vegas isn't at it's highest. Rood said the general public has improved, though, "getting better, but still fairly recreational."
"Parlays remain the attractive wager for the general public," Rood said, when asked to characterize the March Madness betting public. "They'll bet three or four teams and then throw them in a parlay. They're obviously not as disciplined as a professional, as far as their bank roll and what they do, but they're much more apt to take points than they used to be in the past."
Notable futures bets
• In first 24 hours after the bracket for the NCAA tournament was released Sunday night, William Hill's Nevada sportsbook took three bets on 16-seed North Carolina Central to win the whole thing. The largest of the three bets? $5. Still seems risky. The Eagles are 2,500-1 and open the tournament Wednesday in a First Four showdown against Texas Southern.
• A bettor at a Caesars sportsbook earlier this the week placed "big" wagers on Purdue to win the tourney at 14-1 and on Ohio State to win the West Region at 10-1.
• More bets have been placed on Arizona to win the national championship than have been placed on any other team at Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology. The Wildcats and Michigan are the two worst-case scenarios in the book's national title futures market.
• The MGM sportsbook at the Mirage will open at 5:30 a.m. PT, Thursday and Friday.
• At some point prior to the bracket being released, CG Technology took the following futures bets:
• $700 on Clemson at 150-1. The bet would net $105,000.
• $1,500 on Michigan at 60-1. The bet would net $90,000.
• $5,000 on Duke at 10-1. The bet would net $50,000.
• No team would be more costly for MGM sportsbooks than No. 1 overall seed Virginia, thanks to a five-figure wager on the Cavaliers to win that national championship at 20-1 odds that "would pay well into the six figures," according to vice president of sports Jay Rood.
• Virginia began the season at 100-1 to win the national championship at the Westgate SuperBook. The Westgate took five bets on the Cavs at that price.
• Virginia has the best record against the spread (21-8-1) of any major-conference team in the field.
• Most bets to win the NCAA tournament at Caesars Palace books:
1. Michigan State
• Most money wagered to win the NCAA tournament at Caesars Palace books:
2. Michigan State
• On Dec. 18, a bettor at a William Hill U.S. sportsbook placed a $1,234.56 bet on Syracuse to win the national championship at 300-1 odds. The bet would pay $370,368 if the 11th-seeded Orange win it all. It was the largest potential payout facing William Hill before the bracket was released.
Syracuse faces Arizona State in a First Four game Wednesday.
Additional notable national championship futures bets at William Hill include:
• $400 on Texas Tech, placed Aug. 30, 2017, at 400-1 odds. Bet would net $160,000
• $600 bet on Providence, placed Aug. 29, at 250-1 odds. Bet would net $150,000.
• $3,000 on Michigan, placed Feb. 24, at 50-1 odds. Bet would net $150,000
• Michigan is the worst-case scenario for the South Point sportsbook. "It's a team that got hot at the end of the year and have a really good coach," Andrews said. "I think they definitely have a chance to win it all."
• MGM took multiple bets on Gonzaga on Sunday night, shortly after updating the odds to win the tournament. "Couple bets to win six figures [on Gonzaga at 30-1]," Rood said.
• Prop bet at MGM: Will any No. 1 seed be behind or tied with a No. 16 seed at halftime? Yes +400 / No -600. The early money was on "Yes."