Students try to win money with NCAA tournament bets

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Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 7:52 PM EDT
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(WFSB) - The madness continues this week for the UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Both teams are headed to the Sweet Sixteen.

The men play Arkansas. The women play Ohio State.

They’re massive games, which means millions of people are placing bets.

So many students are trying to win some money during the tournament.

It’s easy, it’s fun, and you can do it right on your phone.

The key is to make sure it doesn’t get out of control.

“I got UConn going all the way,” said Aiden Maloney, UConn senior.

Confidence is key during March Madness.

Not just for the players, but for fans too. Confident their team will win and their basketball bets will hit.

“Sometimes it’s really tempting,” said Zach Rychling.

Rychling works at the UConn cafeteria. He hasn’t had much luck on DraftKings or FanDuel.

Rychling said he lost a hundred bucks recently during the tournament.

“A lot of us lose a lot of money,” Rychling said. “I’ve recently deleted them because I’ve lost a lot of money on it.”

Tons of money is being wagered on the madness.

The American Gambling Association predicts 68 million people are betting on the tournament.

It’s a 51-percent increase from last year with a total $15.5 billion expected in bets.

UConn junior Tyler Velleca even placed a bet while walking to his car: $15 on the Texas men’s basketball team.

“Fifteen to win $12.50, let’s do it. And in two seconds you place the bet. Yes it’s that easy,” Velleca said.

It’s easy and fun, but it can also get out of control.

“There’s times where I think it’s a little much. It can become an addiction so you have to be careful,” said Grace Gibson, UConn junior.

“We want them to know that there’s a place to call,” said Grace Goode, the Executive Director of the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling.

She has tips for people planning to bet on the games this week including setting money limits, which you can set in the apps.

“The worst thing you can do is lose that money and think I have to get that money back. I’m going to keep gambling and then you end up losing a lot more than you want to you expected to and you can afford to,” Goode said.

You can’t bet on in-state teams in Connecticut.

Now that sports betting is legal in Massachusetts, some students said they may drive 30 minutes to across state lines, place a bet on UConn, and come back.

You can reach the Connecticut Council On Problem Gambling at 888-789-7777 and someone will be on the other line to help you 24-7.