March Value Bets (03/17/14)

By John Ewing
After 50,000 simulations of the 2014 NCAA Tournament using the Bracket Simulator, we find value in the March Madness future odds. Odds courtesy of

This year's NCAA Tournament could be the maddest of them all. In the Predictalated Bracket, only one No. 1 seed is projected to reach the Final Four, and twenty-two teams have at least a 1.0% chance of winning it all. Below, we look for value in the future odds for all twenty-two teams with at least a 1.0% chance of winning the NCAA Tournament. For championship odds for every team, check out our Bracket Odds.

To determine if a team has value we look at what their current odds are to win the National Championship and compare that to our projected odds that they win the tournament. For example, Kentucky is listed at 33/1 to win the title, in order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Wildcats they would need to win the tournament 2.9% (which is 1/(1+ 33)) of the time. We project the Kentucky to win it all 0.9%, meaning there is no value in placing a bet at 33/1 odds.

Creighton (26-7, 14-4 Big East)
Odds: 20/1, Odds needed in order to place a wager: 4.8%
Creighton wins the tournament 5.9% of the time.

We first said the Bluejays could win it all back in February. Not much has changed since then to deter our thinking. There is a lot to like about Creighton including: Player of the Year, Doug McDermott, the Jay's offensive efficiency, and the team's ability to knock down jumpers from behind the arc (42.1%, No. 1 in the country). There are some strong defensive teams in the West region (Arizona, Wisconsin), but none can match Creighton's offensive firepower.

Michigan (25-8, 15-3 Big Ten)
Odds: 20/1, Odds needed in order to place a wager: 4.8%
Michigan wins the tournament 5.5% of the time.

The Wolverines got a tough draw. The Midwest features 12 teams ranked in the top 40 and six in the top 20 of our final Power Rankings. Nonetheless, Michigan has the eighth best odds to win it all. Plus, Kate Upton is a fan of Michigan.

VCU (26-8, 12-4 Atlantic 10)
Odds: 66/1, Odds needed in order to place a wager: 1.5%
VCU wins the tournament 2.6% of the time.

The Rams are making their fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament and have won at least one game in each appearance. VCU, ranks 2nd in defensive efficiency, and is counting on its 'Havoc' defense to overwhelm opponents. If the Rams can reach the Sweet Sixteen (40.7% likely), anything is possible, just like VCU's 2011 run to the Final Four.

Below are the odds for the teams with at least a 1.0% chance of winning the tournament, plus the odds needed in order to place a wager and our projected odds for each team to win the title.

Team Odds Odds Needed Projected Odds
Florida 11/2 15.4% 10.8%
Michigan St. 6/1 14.3% 8.9%
Louisville 13/2 13.3% 8.8%
Virginia 11/1 8.3% 7.7%
Wichita St. 10/1 9.1% 7.0%
Duke 12/1 7.7% 6.8%
Creighton 20/1 4.8% 5.9%
Michigan 20/1 4.8% 5.5%
Arizona 9/1 10.0% 3.9%
Villanova 20/1 4.8% 3.6%
Wisconsin 20/1 4.8% 3.5%
VCU 66/1 1.5% 2.6%
UCLA 40/1 2.4% 2.2%
Kansas 12/1 7.7% 1.9%
Iowa St. 33/1 2.9% 1.7%
Ohio State 66/1 1.5% 1.5%
Syracuse 20/1 4.8% 1.4%
San Diego St. 50/1 2.0% 1.3%
Pittsburgh 66/1 1.5% 1.2%
New Mexico 100/1 1.0% 1.1%
Baylor 100/1 1.0% 1.1%
Oregon 100/1 1.0% 1.0%