March Madness Perfection: The Incredibly Low Odds Of Correctly Nailing 63 NCAA Games

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.
  • A perfect March Madness bracket has never happened and likely never will.

The 2024 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament will see millions of people tune into games and billions of dollars wagered with sportsbooks and bracket pools.

Since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, no one has ever had a verified perfect bracket. The huge odds of this actually happening may surprise you.

Perfect March Madness Bracket: The 2024 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament has Connecticut as the betting favorite to win back-to-back championships with odds of +360 at DraftKings Inc DKNG.

Those who select the champion correctly often have a chance to win bracket pools as points often double each round. The problem is that selecting a winner is only a part of the challenge, considering the tournament comprises 63 games, excluding the four initial play-in matches.

A verified perfect bracket has never happened and it might never happen. The closest a bracket came to acheiving the feat 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. Some tournaments see no perfect brackets surviving after the first two days of games, including the 2021 tournament.  

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.

Based on 1 in 9.2 quintillion odds, here are some things that you have a better chance at:

  • Winning the Powerball and Mega Millions in the same week after buying one ticket in each lottery
  • 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)

The NCAA used an analogy of an acorn hidden on one of the three trillion trees on the planet. A person would have a three million times greater chance of finding the acorn on the first guess than picking a perfect bracket.

Related Link: March Madness Indeed: Here’s How Much A $100 Bet On 2023 Final Four Would Have Paid Out

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 offered a $10 million prize for anyone with a perfect bracket in 2023.

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


Legendary investor and Berkshire Hathaway Inc BRKBRK CEO Warren Buffett got in on the March Madness fun in 2014. Buffett teamed up with Yahoo Sports and Quicken Loans on a $1-billion perfect bracket prize that was offered.

In 2024, PepsiCo PEP is getting in on the fun with a "No Right" challenge in partnership with DraftKings. The company will pay out $100,000 to the person who gets the most games wrong in an attempt for someone to have the best overall imperfect bracket, and also promote Pepsi Zero along the way.

What's Next: The 2024 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament has shared rights between Warner Bros. Discovery WBD and Paramount Global PARAPARAA.

The games will be broadcast on Warner's TBS, TNT and truTV along with Paramount's CBS. Games will also be streamed on Warner's Max platform and Paramount's Paramount+.

The Final Four (April 6) and Championship (April 8) games will be aired on TBS.

This article was previously published by Benzinga and has been updated.

Read Next: 6 Biggest Upsets In NCAA March Madness History 

Image created using artificial intelligence with Midjourney.

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Posted In: Sports BettingEducationSportsbasketballICYMIMarch MadnessNCAANCAA Men's BasketballNCAA Men's Basketball TournamentWarren Buffett
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