Tournament time is here and it’s time to look at some available prop bets, if you’re into that sort of thing. For starters, I ran my NCAA Bracket Simulation 100,000 times, keeping track of who advanced through each round. So, knowing that 47% of the time Kentucky can be expected to advance to the Final 4, is useful information. If not for filling out a bracket, then for betting. In filling out your bracket, I’d recommend using Bill Mill’s semi-randomized bracket generator, which also uses KenPom’s log5 formula to simulate the games.
One thing to point out is that the KenPom rankings did not think that any one team was outstanding, nor did they like 1 seeds as a whole.
They liked the Big 10:
Now, onto the best prop bets available on bovada, since I don’t have access to the Hilton’s lines, of which there are probably many more.
Bet #1. The winner is not a 1 seed. (-110). This probably has the most edge of anything on the board. Here are the fair odds (in this case, fair would be -133 against the event happening):
Bet #2. At least one 15 seed advances. (+350). The simulation thinks it should be +154, but also thinks Lehigh beats Duke 23% of the time, so this one has to be discounted a little bit.
Bet #3. A Big 10 team wins the championship. (+220). Ohio State is right up there with Kentucky — Michigan State and Wisconsin are no slouches either.
Bet #4. The combined seeds in the Final 4 is Over 10.5 (-115). This is akin to a bet on the field. The simulator thinks the mean of combined seeds is 13.4. Since, this is really a bet on the median, and that’s less than the mean (I didn’t run it, but it’s a tailed distribution), that should be considered. Nonetheless, there’s probably enough edge here to play.
Bet #5. The ACC stinks or (separately) North Carolina (+300) and Duke (+145) will not make the Sweet 16.
In summary, it looks like there are some juicy prop bets, but you need to have some faith in the KenPom power ratings. I think most anyone could agree that there is a lot of parity in this field and finding a way to capitalize on that is a good way to go.
Note: After I wrote this, I realized that KenPom did the same exact thing, in terms of a log5 simulation. Nonetheless, the results were the pretty much the same and the analysis stands.