Final Four Value (04/01/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Is there any value in the NCAA Championship odds in the Final Four? Odds courtesy of

And then there were four.

Just days from tip-off in Indianapolis, we look for value in the odds to win the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. We utilize our updated Bracket Odds to find the likelihood of each Final Four participant cutting down the nets.

To determine if a team has value we look at what their current odds are to win the NCAA Tournament and compare that to our projected odds that they cut down the nets in Indianapolis. For example, Michigan State is listed at 8/1 to win the title, in order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Spartans they would need to cut down the nets 11.1% (which is 1/(8+1)) of the time. We project Michigan State to win it all 5.0% of the time, meaning there is no value in placing a bet at 8/1 odds.

Wisconsin Badgers

Current odds: 4/1, Chance needed in order to place a wagers: 20.0%
Wisconsin wins the tournament 26.2% of the time

There was value on the Badgers to win it all at 17/2 odds before the tournament started and then again at 8/1 odds before the Sweet Sixteen began. Nothing has changed in the Final Four.

Wisconsin entered the tournament with the country's most efficient offense and has proven how potent it can be averaging 1.3 points-per-possession during March Madness. The Badgers do not turn the ball over, rarely foul and Kentucky's typical height advantage is neutralized as Wisconsin ranks in the top four in the nation in effective height.

Wisconsin will prove to be a tough out for Kentucky. The Badgers have a chance to avenge their heartbreaking loss in the Final Four last year with a trip to the title game on the line.

Duke Blue Devils

Current odds: 3/1, Chance needed in order to place a wagers: 25.0%
Duke wins the tournament 26.2% of the time

Duke is a dangerous team. Coach K has been here before; in fact he is back in the Final Four for the twelfth time tying John Wooden for the most appearances all-time. The Blue Devils are one of the most talented teams outside of Lexington featuring Jahlil Okafor, the likely first pick in the NBA Draft. And don't forget, Duke has experience beating undefeated teams in the Final Four.

Team (seed) Odds Proj. Chance Proj. Chance Needed
Kentucky 2/3 42.7% 60.0%
Duke 3/1 26.2% 25.0%
Wisconsin 4/1 26.2% 20.0%
Michigan St. 8/1 5.0% 11.1%