Sweet Value (03/21/16)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Feeling Sweet – bets to make as the NCAA Tournament heads to the Sweet 16.

March Madness lived up to its name with 13 upsets by seed in the first round (tied a record) and ten double digit seeds that won (the most ever) their first game. Your bracket is likely busted, thanks to these plays. Just because you are out of your pick'em pool doesn't mean you can't have some skin in the game.

Below are value bets you should consider placing based on our updated Sweet 16 Bracket Odds.

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 Houston. For example, Miami is listed at 28/1 to win the title, in order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Hurricanes they would need to cut down the nets 3.4% (which is 1/(1+28)) of the time. We project The U to win it all 4.2% of the time, meaning there is value in placing a bet at 28/1 odds.

Kansas Jayhawks
Current odds: 7/2, Chance needed in order to place a wagers: 22.2%
Kansas wins the tournament 24.1% of the time

Kansas rolled through its first two games of the tournament topping 100 points against Austin Peay and then easily putting away UConn as Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden combined to score 43 points. The Jayhawks have won 16 straight and are shooting 41.5 percent from behind the arc during this stretch play. It might be the first time in three years that KU has reached the Sweet 16 but the way Kansas is playing it would be surprising if they didn't march to the Final Four.

Virginia Cavaliers
Current odds: 23/4, Chance needed in order to place a wagers: 14.8%
Virginia wins the tournament 17.3% of the time

The Cavaliers are back in the Sweet 16 for the second time in three years. Tony Bennett's club is scary efficient ranking in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency in our Power Rankings. Butler found that out the hard way when UVA shot 77 percent from the floor in the second half of their victory over the Bulldogs. Virginia's odds of winning the tournament nearly doubled with its advancement to the Sweet 16 and Michigan State's unexpected departure.

Iowa State Cyclones
Current odds: 28/1, Chance needed in order to place a wagers: 3.4%
Iowa State wins the tournament 6.1% of the time

The knock on Iowa State is going to be their easy path to the Sweet 16. Sure the Cyclones got to face 13-seed Iona and 12-seed Arkansas-Little Rock but Steve Prohm's team took care of business – upset victims Michigan State, West Virginia, Cal and Baylor (to name a few) can't say the same. Led by Georges Niang, a two-time All-American, Iowa State has a championship caliber offense that could make a run to the Final Four.

Other teams with value: North Carolina (17/4) and Miami (28/1)

Seed Team Odds Proj. Chance Proj. Chance Needed
1 Kansas 7/2 24.1% 22.2%
1 UNC 17/4 19.8% 19.0%
1 Virginia 23/4 17.3% 14.8%
1 Oregon 12/1 7.0% 7.7%
4 Iowa St. 28/1 6.1% 3.4%
2 Villanova 12/1 5.3% 7.7%
5 Indiana 20/1 4.4% 4.8%
3 Miami (FL) 28/1 4.2% 3.4%
2 Oklahoma 15/2 3.3% 11.8%
4 Duke 18/1 2.6% 5.3%
11 Gonzaga 28/1 2.3% 3.4%
3 Texas A&M 20/1 1.8% 4.8%
5 Maryland 28/1 0.8% 3.4%
6 Notre Dame 33/1 0.4% 2.9%
7 Wisconsin 33/1 0.4% 2.9%
10 Syracuse 33/1 0.1% 2.9%