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The Best Free March Madness Bracket Contests & More

Updated March 15th, 2021
Published March 12, 2021

Filling out a March Madness bracket is a favorite annual tradition amongst American sports fans.

It’s common to compete with your friends and coworkers for bragging rights, but did you know several top US sportsbooks and media companies run free March Madness contests offering upwards of $1 million in cash prizes?

If you have a knack for picking winners, try these free-to-play NCAA tournament contests for a chance to win big with no risk whatsoever.

Here are the best free March Madness contests for 2021.

#1: DraftKings March Mania Survivor Pool

DraftKings Sportsbook encourages you to “stay alive” during March Madness with its free March Mania Survivor Pool presented by KFC.

If you’re good at spotting upsets, you definitely want to enter this contest with a guaranteed prize pool of $1 million. You’ll get a chance to win $10,000 for each March Madness upset you pick. But you’ll want to be confident when choosing underdogs as you’ll be knocked out from the Survivor Pool if you pick a team that loses. Just like the basketball teams, if you get eliminated, there’s no way back in.

You must be a DraftKings accountholder to participate, but you don’t have to be in a legal sports betting market to enter the contest. Here’s how to join:

  1. Log in or sign up for a DraftKings Sportsbook account.
  2. Find the March Mania Survivor Pool within the “Pools” page and click on it to get started.
  3. Pick one team to win each day during the NCAA tournament. During the Elite 8, you only need to pick one team across the four Monday and Tuesday games.
  4. If your pick wins, you advance to the next day!

Prizes will be distributed amongst the longest surviving participants. The contest starts on Friday, March 19, 2021.

#2: BetMGM $2 Million Bracket Challenge

BetMGM’s free-to-play Bracket Challenge has a guaranteed top prize of $100,000, but if you create the perfect bracket, you’ll be taking home a cool $2,000,000.

Creating a perfect March Madness bracket is nearly impossible, which is why we love that this contest has a solid consolation prize for the participant(s) that predicts the most correct outcomes throughout the tournament. Plus, unlike most other bracket contests, BetMGM assigns equal weight to all wins, regardless of the round in which they occur. This means you’ll still have a fighting chance even if the team you picked to win the title is knocked out early.

To enter, sign up for a BetMGM account and fill out your bracket by 11:59 am Eastern on March 19, 2021. Note that you do not need to live in a state with legal sports betting to participate.

#3: Yahoo Tourney Pick’Em

Yahoo! Fantasy is giving away $50,000 in cash prizes to over 10,000 users with their free Tourney Pick’Em contest.

The rules are straightforward:

  • Sign up here and fill out a complete March Madness bracket once the tournament seedings are confirmed on Selection Sunday
  • Don’t forget to make a final score prediction for the title game – this serves as a tiebreaker
  • Sit back and watch the games

The one lucky participant with the highest-scoring bracket will win the grand prize of $10,000 and a getaway to MGM Resort in Las Vegas. More than 10,000 participants will be eligible to win smaller cash prizes of the following amounts:

  • 2nd place: $3,000
  • 3rd place: $1,500
  • 4th place: $1,000
  • 5th place: $500
  • 6th to 7th place: $250
  • 8th to 10th place: $200
  • 11th to 30th place: $150
  • 31st to 50th place: $100
  • 51st to 100th place: $50
  • 101st to 200th place: $25
  • 201st to 500th place: $15
  • 501st to 1,000th place: $10
  • 1,001st to 2,000th place: $5
  • 2,001st to 10,400th place: $1

The Yahoo Tourney Pick’Em contest opens on March 14, 2021, and brackets will be available to fill out until the start of the tournament on March 19, 2021.

#4: ESPN Tournament Challenge

The ESPN Tournament Challenge is the OG of free March Madness contests. The official broadcast partner of The Big Dance runs separate contests for the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments, so you have multiple chances to win a $10,000 Amazon gift card.

To enter, select the teams you think will win each game from the first round all the way through the championships. You’ll get points for each winner you pick correctly, with the points increasing throughout each round.

The Men’s Tournament Challenge opens at 8 pm Eastern on March 14, 2021, following Selection Sunday, while Women’s Tournament Challenge brackets will be available at 8 pm Eastern on March 15, 2021.

You must make all of your picks for each tournament before the first round tips off. To win one of the two $10,000 Amazon gift cards, you’ll need to finish in the top 1 percent of all brackets submitted for the men’s and women’s tournament, respectively. From there, a random winner will be selected for each.

Want more chances to win? ESPN will allow you to create up to 25 different brackets for each tournament, so you can mix it up when making your selections. Pro tip: far fewer women’s brackets get filled out each year, so you have a much better shot at the grand prize in the women’s Tournament Challenge.

Check Back for More Free March Madness Contests

You can’t win if you don’t play, so we recommend signing up for as many free March Madness bracket contests as you can find. It’s sure to add some extra excitement to following the tournament.

We’ll keep our eye out for additional March Madness contests you can enter. Our team will update this list as more information becomes available.

In the meantime, head over to SBD Play to practice your betting skills ahead of The Big Dance. In our weekly free-play betting competition, you can bet real odds with no real risk. Best of all, the top finisher each week takes home $500 in cash.

Be sure to check out our tips for creating your March Madness bracket to help improve your chances of winning one of these contests. Or, if you prefer, keep browsing our interesting articles on sports and betting.

Have fun and enjoy the action!

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