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Perfect March Madness Bracket: The Odds!


The only sports bettor on Forbes’ recent list of Gambling Gurus, RJ Bell of explains the eye-popping math behind the odds of a perfect NCAA Tournament Bracket

Las Vegas, Nevada (March 15, 2009) – This week over 40 million Americans in offices across the country are expected to fill out brackets for the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The purpose is to pick the most winners, but many dream of picking the perfect bracket (not to mention the many contests associated with this feat). RJ Bell of breaks down the stunning odds against achieving this improbability:

There are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 possible brackets. That’s the number nine follow by eighteen zeros. That’s over 9.2 quintillion. Some examples of just how big this number is:

If everyone on the planet each randomly filled out a bracket, the odds would be over ONE BILLION to 1 against any person having a perfect bracket.

If one bracket per second was filled out, it would take 292 TRILLION years to fill out all possible brackets (that’s 20 times longer than the universe has existed). If all the people on earth filled out one bracket per second, it would take over 43 years to fill out every possible bracket.

If all possible brackets were stacked on top of each other (on standard paper), the pile would reach from the moon and back over 1.1 million times.

All possible brackets (on standard paper) would weigh 90,000 times more than every man, women, and child on earth combined.

Even if a person had a 90% chance of winning each game he picked, his odds would still be 763 to 1 against picking a perfect bracket.

Calculation assumptions: The odds of winning each game is assumed to be 50%. The odds do not consider the play-in game, since most brackets ignore this game – consider that game would double all the numbers above.

For all of RJ Bell’s unique March Madness reporting, visit:

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RJ Bell of is the only sports bettor on Forbes’ recent list of Gambling Gurus and has been called “a true insider” by ESPN, “incredibly astute” by AOL and a “point-spread maven” by USA Today. Mr. Bell has been featured on CBS News with Katie Couric, ABC News with Charles Gibson, Nightline, Sportscenter, Outside the Lines (ESPN), First Take (ESPN2), Mike & Mike, Colin Cowherd, Jim Rome, Dan Patrick,,, Yahoo, and in the Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, LA Times,, Bloomberg, Maxim, and Sports Illustrated. is the largest sports betting news website compliant with US Law.



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