For the past month, I have utilized our bracket simulator predictions to determine which schools were offering value in the college basketball futures market. By converting each school’s future price into an implied probability, I have been able to identify several schools with a positive expected value. My initial analysis highlighted Florida, Louisville, and Gonzaga, but the odds for all three of those schools have gotten significantly shorter, which means much of that original value is gone.
Since the initial analysis was published, Florida’s odds of winning the national championship have improved from +4000 to +2200 at 5Dimes, which means their implied probability improved from 2.44% to 4.35%. Despite this major line move, our latest projections have the Gators winning the title in 5.9% of all simulations. That means although much of the value is gone, Florida has consistently remained an excellent value to win the national championship.
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 latest odds and implied probabilities at 5Dimes with the probabilities from our bracket simulator. Any values of above “1” indicate positive expected returns. Many sportsbooks have their futures off the board right now, but we always encourage bettors to shop for the best line before placing a wager.
|School||Probability||5Dimes||5Dimes Implied||5Dimes Value|
|Saint Marys CA||1.3%||15000||0.66%||1.963|
Based on these simulations, there are eight schools offering value at 5Dimes. The following list shows them ranked in order:
- Gonzaga (+900)
- Wichita State (+8,500)
- Saint Mary’s CA (+15,000)
- West Virginia (+2,800)
- Baylor (+3,500)
- Virginia (+3,500)
- Florida (+2,200)
- Louisville (+1,600)
With the exception of Saint Mary’s, all of these schools were identified as values in our initial analysis of the futures market. Although the odds have gotten shorter for the majority of these schools, bettors can actually get longer odds on Baylor (+2,200 to +3,500), West Virginia (+1,800 to +2,800) and Virginia (+1,900 to +3,500). Our numbers have liked these teams for four consecutive weeks, and all three schools represent fantastic buy-low opportunities.
Wichita State moved from +10,000 to +8,500 in the past week, but they remain an interesting dark horse. The Shockers, who have already clinched a berth in the NCAA Tournament after winning the Missouri Valley Conference, have the 12th highest probability (2.3%) of winning the national championship according to our bracket simulator. Their current odds translate into an implied probability of just 1.16%, which makes them an excellent value.
North Carolina (+650) is listed as the favorite to win the national championship, but our bracket simulator ranks the Tar Heels as the fourth best team in the nation. UCLA is tied for the second-best odds (+700) of winning the national championship, but our bracket simulator gives the Bruins the 17th best probability of winning the title. These are both marquee programs, but bettors should avoid these schools at all costs.
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