Are Kentucky’s National Title Odds Being Overstated?

In the next few weeks, we will be re-releasing our March Madness Bracket Simulator which will be located on our free College Basketball odds page. In the past year we have made a number of alterations to the simulator, which should lead to more accurate predictions come tournament time. However, before that time we wanted to determine which teams were being overrated by the national media and which teams were offering value to bettors.

One of our primary questions concerned the title aspirations of the Kentucky Wildcats. Perhaps one of the deepest teams in recent history, the Wildcats currently boast 10 players rated among Chad Ford’s top 100 NBA draft prospects. This depth has lead Kentucky to an undefeated record and many offshore sportsbooks have taken advantage by posting a number of interesting prop bets.

Sportsbook.com, a prominent (and very square) offshore sportsbook, currently lists Kentucky at -140 to win the National Championship and +250 to accomplish this feat with their undefeated record still intact. To determine whether coach Calipari’s team was being over-hyped, we consulted our bracket simulator which has been enhanced by adding more data sources, improving the accuracy of our ratings and tweaking the volatility of our bracket simulations.

Because each simulation includes a level of randomness to account for upsets and the inevitable emergence of Cinderella teams, single simulations aren’t necessarily the best predictor of future results. However, by running one million simulations we begin to see patterns as certain teams consistently advance deep into the tournament and are eventually crowned the champions.

The table below uses the current NCAAB Championship Futures from 5Dimes to produce an implied probability of winning the title. We then compared those implied probabilities with our own simulation results to determine which teams were offering value in the futures market, and which should be avoided like the plague.

School Line Implied Probability Simulator Difference
Virginia +750 11.76% 18.10% 6.34%
Villanova +4000 2.44% 5.50% 3.06%
Arizona +1600 5.88% 8.90% 3.02%
Oklahoma +7500 1.32% 2.10% 0.78%
Butler +75000 0.13% 0.40% 0.27%
Northern Iowa +17500 0.57% 0.80% 0.23%
Xavier +125000 0.08% 0.20% 0.12%
Wichita State +10000 0.99% 1.10% 0.11%
Georgetown +30000 0.33% 0.40% 0.07%
Seton Hall +100000 0.10% 0.10% 0.00%
Texas Tech +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
St. Bonaventure +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Northwestern +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
St. Joseph's +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
DePaul +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Creighton +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Clemson +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Georgia Tech +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Massachusetts +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
UTEP +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Arizona State +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
St. Louis +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Pittsburgh +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Wake Forest +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Colorado +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
California +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
LaSalle +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Missouri +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Boston College +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
New Mexico State +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Vanderbilt +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Illinois State +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
USC +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Penn State +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Fresno State +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Auburn +500000 0.02% 0.00% -0.02%
Richmond +350000 0.03% 0.00% -0.03%
Florida State +350000 0.03% 0.00% -0.03%
Washington +200000 0.05% 0.00% -0.05%
UNLV +200000 0.05% 0.00% -0.05%
Michigan +200000 0.05% 0.00% -0.05%
Nebraska +200000 0.05% 0.00% -0.05%
Memphis +200000 0.05% 0.00% -0.05%
Marquette +200000 0.05% 0.00% -0.05%
Minnesota +200000 0.05% 0.00% -0.05%
New Mexico +175000 0.06% 0.00% -0.06%
BYU +175000 0.06% 0.00% -0.06%
St. John's +100000 0.10% 0.00% -0.10%
NC State +100000 0.10% 0.00% -0.10%
George Washington +100000 0.10% 0.00% -0.10%
Purdue +100000 0.10% 0.00% -0.10%
Illinois +100000 0.10% 0.00% -0.10%
Dayton +50000 0.20% 0.10% -0.10%
Providence +100000 0.10% 0.00% -0.10%
Texas A&M +50000 0.20% 0.10% -0.10%
Arkansas +50000 0.20% 0.10% -0.10%
Oklahoma State +50000 0.20% 0.10% -0.10%
Iowa +100000 0.10% 0.00% -0.10%
Kansas State +100000 0.10% 0.00% -0.10%
LSU +100000 0.10% 0.00% -0.10%
UCLA +100000 0.10% 0.00% -0.10%
Tennessee +100000 0.10% 0.00% -0.10%
Alabama +100000 0.10% 0.00% -0.10%
South Carolina +100000 0.10% 0.00% -0.10%
Harvard +95000 0.11% 0.00% -0.11%
Baylor +8000 1.23% 1.10% -0.13%
Murray State +75000 0.13% 0.00% -0.13%
Louisiana Tech +75000 0.13% 0.00% -0.13%
Colorado State +50000 0.20% 0.00% -0.20%
Oregon +50000 0.20% 0.00% -0.20%
Mississippi +50000 0.20% 0.00% -0.20%
Georgia +30000 0.33% 0.10% -0.23%
Stanford +30000 0.33% 0.10% -0.23%
Miami Florida +30000 0.33% 0.00% -0.33%
Indiana +30000 0.33% 0.00% -0.33%
Cincinnati +30000 0.33% 0.00% -0.33%
Kansas +3300 2.94% 2.60% -0.34%
Maryland +18000 0.55% 0.10% -0.45%
Connecticut +18000 0.55% 0.00% -0.55%
Va Commonwealth +10000 0.99% 0.30% -0.69%
Michigan State +10000 0.99% 0.20% -0.79%
SMU +10000 0.99% 0.20% -0.79%
San Diego State +10000 0.99% 0.10% -0.89%
Notre Dame +4500 2.17% 1.20% -0.97%
Syracuse +10000 0.99% 0.00% -0.99%
Iowa State +6600 1.49% 0.50% -0.99%
Florida +10000 0.99% 0.00% -0.99%
Utah +2500 3.85% 2.50% -1.35%
Texas +6600 1.49% 0.10% -1.39%
West Virginia +5000 1.96% 0.50% -1.46%
Ohio State +4000 2.44% 0.80% -1.64%
Gonzaga +750 11.76% 9.30% -2.46%
Louisville +1500 6.25% 2.30% -3.95%
North Carolina +1500 6.25% 2.10% -4.15%
Wisconsin +700 12.50% 6.70% -5.80%
Duke +750 11.76% 4.00% -7.76%
Kentucky -115 53.49% 27.20% -26.29%

It’s interesting to see that Virginia (+750) has an 11.76% implied probability of winning the National Championship; however, they were crowned the champs in 18.10% of our simulations. This 6.34% gap was by far the largest and indicates that bettors should consider shopping for the best line and betting the Cavaliers to win it all.

Other undervalued teams include:

  1. Villanova (+4,000)
  2. Arizona (+1,600)
  3. Oklahoma (+7,500)
  4. Butler (+75,000)
  5. Northern Iowa (+17,500)
  6. Xavier (+125,000)
  7. Wichita State (+10,000)
  8. Georgetown (+30,000)

While Virginia emerged as the most undervalued team in the nation, readers may be surprised to find out that our analysis pinpointed Kentucky as the most overvalued team. The Wildcats remain the only undefeated team in the country and are actually listed at -115 to win the National Title. Some sportsbooks have gone so far to offer odds on Kentucky versus the field — a practically unprecedented move. Our suggestion? Take the field.

Despite a 53.49% implied probability of winning the Big Dance, Kentucky was crowned victorious in just 27.20% of our bracket simulations — a figure that is only 9.1% higher than Virginia. Considering the lack of depth in the SEC this season, it seems safe to say that coach Calipari’s team hasn’t faced the type of adversity as many ACC, Big Ten or Big 12 schools.

This isn’t to say that Kentucky isn’t the best team in the nation — our bracket simulator clearly agrees with that opinion. The issue is that their competition is a lot closer than the mainstream media would have you believe.

We will continue to update this piece as the tournament draws near, but we want to know what you think. Can anybody knock off Kentucky? Will you be taking any College Basketball futures? Do you agree that Virginia is being overlooked nationally? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

David Solar is the Content Manager at Sports Insights and can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com.

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David Solar

David Solar has been the Content Manager at Sports Insights for over four years. He specializes in sports betting analytics and has created several popular data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

4 Comments Permalink
4 comments on “Are Kentucky’s National Title Odds Being Overstated?
  1. David- all of your articles are fantastic and valuable. Your simulation shows what I have thought since the beginning of the season. I live in Reno where it is legal to bet, and I took Virginia at 35-1 odds very early on- also got Northern Iowa after their first seven wins at 700-1 odds ( yes, 700-1). And a number of other value bargains. There is no question in my mind that Kentucky can be beaten. As your simulation shows, prime candidate is Virginia. ” True” line if Kentucky played Virginia in the final would be Kentucky minus 4, no more than that. The one comment I would make is that I think there are maybe 5 superior teams; Kentucky, Virginia, Wisconsin, and perhaps a few others. The others you can all throw in a hat as far as I am concerned. Anyway, please keep us posted with these March madness article updates- Great job and Best Regards always

    • Thanks so much, and kudos for grabbing such good lines on those futures. We’ll definitely be updating this piece throughout the remainder of the season and will update the bracket itself as ESPN’s Joe Lunardi releases new bracketology projections.

    • Frank, the Big Dance is a crapshoot but tell me why you dont think UVA is a top-8 team in the nation…??? At 35 to 1 and 700 to 1 odds, he got great value. You are an idiot, plain and simple.

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