Bracket Simulations Reveal Five Sweet 16 Prop Bets Offering Value
Kelly Ross-USA TODAY Sports
There are many ways to bet on the NCAA Tournament. The spread and over/under are classic bets, but after 40 minutes of play the thrill is over. Those looking for extended action should consider prop bets that can keep you invested in the Big Dance until the confetti falls in San Antonio.
The oddsmakers are offering a handful of props that allow you to wager on the winning conference, the number of No. 1 seeds to reach the Final Four, and which seed will cut down the nets. Which of these propositions are offering value heading into the Sweet 16?
Using The Action Network’s Bracket Simulator, I crunched the numbers (don’t worry, no math required) to determine which wagers you should place. Without further ado, here are Sweet 16 props offering value.
Will an ACC Team win the NCAA Tournament?
- Yes: +275
- No: -350
The ACC has a good chance to win the NCAA tournament with four teams still in the bracket, tied with the Big 12 for the most, including Duke, the betting favorite. “Yes” has +275 odds, which gives the conference a 26.7% implied probability of winning.
Duke is the favorite according to our model with a 22.0% chance of winning the title, but Clemson (2.6%), Florida State (1.3%), and Syracuse (0.5%) are long shots. Combined, the ACC has a 26.4% chance to win after 10,000 simulations of the NCAA tournament, meaning there is no value in placing a “Yes” bet at +275 odds. “No” is overpriced as well at -350 odds. Sometimes knowing which wagers not to place is just as valuable.
Lean: No Bet
Will a Big Ten Team win the NCAA Tournament?
- Yes: +550
- No: -900
The simulations like “Yes” at +550. Michigan and Purdue are favored to win their Sweet 16 matchups and the Wolverines (8.8%) and Boilermakers (8.2%) have the fourth and fifth best odds to win the tournament, according to our simulations.
Will a Big 12 team win the NCAA Tournament?
- Yes: +350
- No: -500
At -500 odds, the implied probability of “No” suggests there is an 83.3% chance the Big 12 doesn’t win the tournament. Of the four teams still dancing, only Kansas is favored in the Sweet 16 and none of the Big 12 teams have better than a 1 in 4 chance of reaching the Final Four. By our math, there is an 86.8% chance the Big 12 doesn’t win it all.
Will an SEC Team win the NCAA Tournament?
- Yes: +500
- No: -800
Kentucky is one of the most overvalued teams in the tournament. The Wildcats have an easy path to the Final Four, but Coach Cal’s team would be a projected underdog in San Antonio. Combined, Kentucky (92.8%) and Texas A&M (97.7%) have a 90.7% chance of not adding a banner to the rafters.
How many #1 seeds will make the Final 4 of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship?
- Over 1.5: +400
- Under 1.5: -600
Villanova and Kansas are the last remaining No. 1 seeds. Nova (46.2%) is the favorite to represent the East region in the Final Four while Kansas, because it would be an underdog to Duke, only has a 23.4% chance of reaching the final weekend. To bet the over you need Villanova and Kansas to reach the Final Four and there is a 10.8% chance that occurs.
The sharp play is under 1.5 teams. The betting market implies there is an 85.7% chance that at least one No. 1 seed doesn’t win its region. Our model puts the figure at 89.2%.
What seed will the NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion be?
- No. 1: +220
- No. 2: +250
- No. 3: +800
- No. 4: +650
- No. 5: +350
- No. 7: +1400
- No. 9: +3300
- No. 11: +4000
After adding up each team’s chance to win the tournament and calculating the implied probabilities, the seed that is mispriced and thus offering bettors value is No. 3. At +800 odds, the oddsmakers think there is a 11.1% chance of Michigan or Texas Tech winning the tourney. The simulation model puts it at 12.2%. If you believe defense wins championships, then this prop bet is for you. Big Blue and Tech each rank in the top 5 in KenPom’s Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
Lean: No. 3 seed
Pictured Michigan guard Jordan Poole
Photo via Kelly Ross-USA TODAY Sports