Last week in this space we utilized our bracket simulator predictions to determine which schools were offering value in the futures market. By converting each school’s future price into an implied probability, we were able to find several schools with a positive expected value including Florida (+4000), Louisville (+1700) and Gonzaga (+1000). In the past week, all three of those schools have seen their odds to win the championship improve, and many readers have asked whether that previously mentioned value still exists.
For anybody unfamiliar with our bracket simulator, it combines information from our historical database along with data from well-respected basketball sources including ESPN, Ken Pomeroy, and Jeff Sagarin. Although the actual tournament bracket won’t be released until Selection Sunday, we are able to use Joe Lunardi’s weekly Bracketology predictions throughout the regular season.
After importing these Bracketology predictions, we run 10,000 simulations to determine the probability for each team to win the national championship. By comparing these probabilities with the implied odds for each team to win the national championship, I’m able to determine which futures are offering a positive expected value. This becomes more complicated with lower seeds since there’s no guarantee they make the tournaments, but it provides an excellent overview of which teams are being overvalued and undervalued.
The table below compares the implied probabilities at 5Dimes and The Greek with the probabilities from our bracket simulator. Any values of above “1” indicate positive expected returns. This only represents two offshore sportsbooks, and we always encourage bettors to shop for the best line before placing a wager.
|School||Probability||5Dimes||5Dimes Implied||5Dimes Value||Greek||Greek Implied||Greek Value|
|Saint Marys CA||0.6%||8000||1.23%||0.486||12500||0.79%||0.756|
Based on these simulations, there are eight schools offering value at both sportsbooks. That said, the odds for five of these teams are significantly more favorable at The Greek. It’s also worth noting that although Bookmaker recently took their college basketball futures down, they were offering better prices on West Virginia (+2600), Florida (+2900) and Baylor (+3150) on Thursday evening.
Additionally, the odds for nearly every team here — with the exception of West Virginia, who blew a huge lead against Kansas earlier in the week — have dropped since the last analysis. Despite these shorter odds, the following teams are still offering value:
*Indicates best price
- Gonzaga (+900 to +650)
- *Louisville (+1700 to +1500)
- West Virginia (+1800 to +2000)
- Florida (+4000 to +2500)
- Virginia (+1900 to +1800)
- SMU (+15000 to +8000)
- Wichita State (+15000 to +10000)
- Baylor (+2200 to +2000)
- *Gonzaga (+1000 to +800)
- *Virginia (+3000 to +2500)
- *SMU (+12500 to +12500)
- *Wichita State (Unchanged at >+15,000)
- West Virginia (Unchanged at +2,000)
- *Baylor (+3500 to +3000)
- Florida (+4000 to +2500)
- Louisville (Unchanged at +1200)
Technically Minnesota (+50000) qualifies as a value play, however, I didn’t feel comfortable including them in this analysis. They’re hardly a lock to make the tournament based on their current record (18-7, 6-6 Big Ten) and their difficult upcoming schedule. Even if there’s a 90% chance they make the tournament, that would be enough to change their expected value from positive to negative.
It’s interesting to note that all of these teams were offering value when I did this analysis last week with the exception of SMU (+12,500). That’s because their probability of winning the national championship improved from 0.66% to 1.5% while their implied probability at The Greek has remained 0.79%. The Mustangs have largely flown under the radar this season despite their impressive record (22-4, 12-1 AAC) and current eight-game winning streak. Furthermore, Duke-transfer Semi Ojeleye (18.2 PPG, 6.7 RPG) may be one of the more underrated players in the country.
Joe Lunardi releases his updated Bracketology projections every Monday morning, so make sure to check back for the latest bracket simulations and undervalued futures.
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