March Value Bets (03/14/16)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Bet the favorites to win March Madness.

The madness is about to begin but before the first game tips, we are going to tell you which teams are worth betting to win the NCAA Tournament.

To determine if a team has value we look at what their current odds are to win March Madness and compare that to our projected odds that they win the National Championship. For example, Oregon is listed at 14/1 to win the title, in order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Ducks they would need to cut down the nets 6.7% (which is 1/(1+14)) of the time. We project Oregon to win it all 7.5% of the time, meaning there is value in placing a bet at 14/1 odds.

Michigan State Spartans
Current odds: 11/2, Chance needed in order to place a wager: 15.4%
MSU wins the tournament 19.8% of the time

Around 20 percent of all the money coming in on tournament futures is on Michigan State, per Kevin Bradley at It isn't always wise to follow the crowd, but in this case the squares and sharps alike are on Sparty to win it all. MSU is the No. 1 team in our Power Rankings and our most likely champion.

Kansas Jayhawks
Current odds: 5/1, Chance needed in order to place a wager: 16.7%
Kansas wins the tournament 18.8% of the time

A lot of people are excited about this Kansas team including Wayne Selden Jr.'s uncle.

The Jayhawks enter the tournament as the betting favorite, having won 14 straight games including the Big 12 regular season and conference titles. Bill Self's team is one of just three in the nation to rank in the top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

Virginia Cavaliers
Current odds: 12/1, Chance needed in order to place a wager: 7.7%
Virginia wins the tournament 9.5% of the time

If you like Kansas, then you probably like the Wahoos as well. Virginia is another one of those teams we talked about ranking in the top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Plus UVA has Malcolm Brogdon, the ACC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

Below are the odds for each team with at least a 1% chance to win the NCAA Tournament.

Seed Team Odds Proj. Chance Proj. Chance Needed
2 Michigan St. 11/2 19.8% 15.4%
1 Kansas 5/1 18.8% 16.7%
1 UNC 7/1 12.2% 12.5%
1 Virginia 12/1 9.5% 7.7%
1 Oregon 14/1 7.5% 6.7%
4 Kentucky 10/1 6.1% 9.1%
2 Villanova 18/1 5.0% 5.3%
3 WVU 25/1 3.0% 3.8%
2 Oklahoma 14/1 2.6% 6.7%
3 Miami (FL) 33/1 2.4% 2.9%
5 Purdue 33/1 2.1% 2.9%
3 Texas A&M 33/1 1.9% 2.9%
5 Indiana 33/1 1.6% 2.9%
4 Iowa St. 50/1 1.3% 2.0%
4 Duke 25/1 1.3% 3.8%
5 Baylor 66/1 1.0% 1.5%