Perfection in college basketball is rare. The last team to enter the tournament without a blemish on its record was the 2015 Kentucky Wildcats (34-0) who eventually fell to Wisconsin in the Final Four. By my count, 28 teams since 1938 completed a perfect regular season and only eight, the last being the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers, capped the season with a tournament championship.
There are no undefeated teams left in college basketball this season but that doesn’t mean we won’t have a chance to witness perfection. On Sunday, the selection committee will reveal the field for the NCAA tournament. I don’t care which teams earn a 1-seed or which bubble teams get snubbed. What I want to know, as will you if you bet this prop, can Joe Lunardi (pictured above) predict all 68 March Madness teams?
5Dimes is offering a slew of prop bets for the Bracketologist, including odds on Lunardi correctly predicting the 68-team field. Think Joey Brackets can go 68 for 68? “Yes” is listed at +340 (bet $100 to win $340) while “No” is the chalk at -510 odds.
The real question we need to answer before placing a wager is how accurate have Lunardi’s predictions been over the years?
The table below displays how many teams the analyst picked correctly since 2006, based on his final Bracketology.
Lunardi has tasted victory twice, once in 2008 and again in 2013, when he correctly identified each team to get a bid before the selection committee revealed its bracket. Last year, Lunardi got 67 of the 68 teams correct with his lone miss being Syracuse.
Lunardi is good, there is no denying that, but at +340 odds there just doesn’t seem to be any value given the subjective nature of bracket predictions. For my money, I’ll bet against Lunardi. Last year, 5Dimes offered the same prop and listed “No” at -1500 odds, making this year’s -510 odds look that much more appealing.
The oddsmakers are offering three over/under bets for the total number of teams Lunardi gets correct. Since the field expanded to 68 teams in 2011, Lunardi has averaged 66.4 correct picks a season.
My initial lean is Over 65 correct teams. The one bet I’m not going to place is Under 64 (+1000). The last time Lunardi got fewer than 64 teams correct was 2007 and he hasn’t been under 65 teams since the tourney went to a 68-team field.
You can also bet on how many “at-large” teams Lunardi will correctly predict to play in Dayton. The odds don’t favor Lunardi getting them all right. At +2000, the implied probability of the analyst getting four teams correct is 4.8%.
No. 1 Seeds
Joe Lunardi predicts all four #1 seeds:
- Yes -140
- No +100
Last year “Yes” was listed at -385, an implied probability of 79.3%. This year the oddsmakers have set odds that Lunardi will get all four 1-seeds correct at -140, an implied probability of 58.3%. This makes sense as there has been a lot of turnover at the top of the college basketball rankings. Eighteen teams have been in the top 5 of the AP Poll and seven eventually fell out of the ranking. Virginia looks like a lock for a 1-seed, but an early conference tournament exit could knock Villanova, Xavier or Kansas, the other current 1-seeds in Lunardi’s Bracketology, off the top line.