March Madness Perfect Bracket Odds: Hold My Beer, Mega Millions And PowerBall

Zinger Key Points
  • The odds of a perfect bracket are similar to picking six random people on the street and they all have the same birthday as you.
  • With a perfect bracket being near impossible, several companies have taken advantage of playing the odds with huge promotional events.

Millions of Americans will fill out a March Madness bracket ahead of the 2023 NCAA Men’s National Tournament in hopes of winning an office pool, a pool with friends and family, winning a national competition or filling out the first-ever perfect bracket.

Just how rare is a perfect bracket — and is it even possible? Here’s a look at the odds.

What Happened: The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament expanded in 1985 to a field of 64 teams competing in 63 games. While the field has expanded to include some play-in games, the main tournament follows the same format.

The 2022 NCAA Men’s National Tournament saw a one seed named National Champion, with the Kansas Jayhawks defeating North Carolina in the championship game.

The odds of getting a perfect bracket in 2022 were significantly worse than previous years, with North Carolina being an eight seed. The championship game is typical a matchup of teams that are 1, 2 or 3 seeds.

Another item that would’ve made a perfect bracket tough in 2022 was the Cinderella run of Saint Peter’s, a 15-seed. Saint Peter’s became the first 15 seed to reach the Elite 8 and only the third to ever make it to the Sweet 16. Not a lot of brackets saw that coming.

Perfect Bracket Odds: A verified perfect bracket has never occurred since the field expanded in 1985, according to

The closest a bracket came was in 2019, when an Ohio neuropsychologist picked games correctly through the first 49 games. The bracket from Gregg Nigl marked the first time someone correctly predicted the games through the Sweet 16 correctly and is the longest perfect bracket of all-time.

Prior to 2019, the longest a bracket has made it was 39 games in the 2017 tournament.

In 2021, no brackets made it through the first two days of games, with the 28th game featuring the only 16-seed to ever win the opening round game against a 1-seed, knocking all brackets out of the running.

The upset by 15-seed Saint Peter’s and a loss by 5-seed Iowa in the 2022 Men’s Tournament opening round knocked out all but 161 brackets in the ESPN Tournament Challenge on the first day of games. The last perfect bracket lost a game on the following day.

The Odds Of A Perfect March Madness Bracket: The odds to correctly predict the outcome of all 63 games during the tournament are 1 in 9.2 quintillion based on a 50-50 coin flip and all possible outcomes (that’s 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 in numerical form).


Late DePaul professor Jeff Bergen projected the odds could be 1 in 128 billion for those who know about basketball and follow seed trends.

Bergen estimated it could take 2,300 years for every person on the planet filling out a bracket every minute to fill out all 9.2 quintillion outcomes.

The DePaul professor said that you would have a better chance of winning the Powerball and Mega Million in the same week after buying one ticket in each lottery than having a perfect bracket.

Here’s some other similar odds from Bergen:

  • Predicting the winning political party for each of the next 62 presidential elections
  • Picking six people at random on the street and they all have the same birthday as you
  • An NBA player making 414 free throws in a row (the current record is 97)
  • An MLB pitcher striking out 31 batters in a row (the current record is 10)

Georgia Tech professor Joel Sokol used statistics to come up with some models for predicting the March Madness tournament. The professor sees odds of 1 in 120.2 billion for scoring a perfect bracket based on past odds and statistics.

Sokol estimates that if every person in the U.S. filled out a bracket that was around 66.7% accurate (a recent average), a perfect bracket would likely occur 366 years from today, or in the year 2385.

Here’s a crazy analogy from the NCAA on the odds of a perfect bracket. If an acorn was hidden in one of the 3 trillion trees on the planet, you would have a 3 million times greater chance of finding the acorn on the first guess than picking a perfect bracket.

Related Link: Here's How Much Could Be Bet On The 2023 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

Big Payouts: With the odds of getting a perfect bracket being near impossible, several companies have taken advantage of playing the odds with huge promotional events.

BetMGM, a unit of Entain and MGM Resorts International MGM, offers a $10-million prize for anyone with a perfect bracket. If no one has a perfect bracket, the sports betting company will reward up to $100,000 to the person with the most overall correct picks.

In 2022, a contest was hosted by Bally’s Corp that offered to pay out $100 million for a perfect bracket.

Back in 2014, Berkshire Hathaway Inc CEO Warren Buffett offered a $1-billion prize in partnership with Yahoo Sports and Quicken Loans for a perfect bracket.

In 2023, a total of $15.5 billion is expected to be wagered on March Madness across sports betting platforms, among friends and through bracket competitions by 68 million people.

Around 35% of U.S. adults will tune in to CBS, a unit of Paramount Global PARAPARAA, and Warner Bros. Discovery WBD channels TNT, TBS and truTV to watch the games. The first round games begin Thursday. 

Read Next: 6 Biggest Upsets In NCAA March Madness History 

Photo via Shutterstock. 

Market News and Data brought to you by Benzinga APIs
Posted In: Sports BettingSportsTop StoriesETFsGeneralCBSMarch MadnessMega MillionsNCAA Men's National TournamentPowerball
Benzinga simplifies the market for smarter investing

Trade confidently with insights and alerts from analyst ratings, free reports and breaking news that affects the stocks you care about.

Join Now: Free!