Betting on the Big Dance - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Betting on the Big Dance

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On Monday, March Madness officially comes to an end when Gonzaga takes on North Carolina in the NCAA championship game.

The consensus at the sports books in Reno is that March Madness wagers are up in 2017 compared to 2016.

However, Terry Cox, Director of the Peppermill Race and Sports Book, says money bet on the championship game won’t be quite as much as the amount spent on the first two rounds of the tournament.

“It's nothing like the first couple of days, because there are just so many games to pick from," says Cox. "But it'll be big, certainly the largest college basketball game we'll have all year."

Cox estimates that there has been a 25% increase in March Madness bets in just a year. That increase isn't just here locally. David Garduno, area manager with William Hill Sports Books, says they’ve seen a similar increase all across the state.

"We're up 30% overall, so it's been a great event for us, we've had some pretty big crowds, people coming in from Oregon and Washington, betting on Oregon and of course Gonzaga tonight, so far the early betting has been on Gonzaga, they're the underdog tonight," says Garduno.

While Gonzaga is considered the underdog, Cox says more money is expected to be put down on them before the game starts. He says that's because of the fan base that has emerged for this northwestern region team here in northern Nevada.

"Gonzaga contention has been here, every time they've played a game in the tournament, they'll be here again tonight too, they'll be wearing their shirts and screaming and yelling," says Cox.

The final numbers for the 2017 NCAA tournament aren't in yet, but according to the Nevada Gaming Commission $422 million were bet statewide during the month of March on basketball in 2016. It's estimated that 70% of that, or $295.4 million was specifically bet on college hoops.

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