For a different view, this guide to March Madness was put together by the folks at Bet Refinery.
March Madness is upon us!
It’s hard to convey just how popular this betting event is, but over 47 million Americans (plus the rest of the world) are expected to bet on it. The turnover on the NCAA Tournament makes the Melbourne Cup look like a midweek at Muswellbrook.
In this article, we’re going to share with you:
- The NCAA Championship odds
- The rankings and ratings from a winning sports betting model; and
- The players to watch
March Madness: The market vs the model
In the following table, we’re going to show you the exclusive predictions from BetRefinery’s betting model.
You’ll see which teams the model ranks in the top 20, how they compare offensively and defensively (against all teams in the country), and what the current TopSport odds for the title are.
Pay particular attention to the third column, rating. That’s the Model showing you how much better each team is, in terms of points:
Gonzaga, the dominant favourite, is rated 25.42. Which means they are 11.41 points better than Maryland. Therefore, on a neutral venue, the line between Gonzaga vs Maryland should be Gonzaga -11.5.
That tells you just how dominant Gonzaga are. The number one offense in college, they are 5 – 25 points better than every team in the NCAA Tournament.
So Gonzaga deserves to be dominant favourites. However, it’s hard to chip up at $3.10 when they need to win six globally televised games in a row.
They also have a relatively tough draw in the West region. Which is another piece of the puzzle, as each team has a different strength of schedule to the Final Four and Title game.
One of the best ways to check out the schedule, and enter your bracket, is through ESPN.
You can see that Gonzaga shares the West with Iowa, Virginia and Kansas. That’s four teams that make our Top 10!
Looking at the table again, you can see that Houston appears incredible value.
According to the Model, The Cougars are the fourth best team in the country… and you might get even better than $19 if you shop around.
The best price roughies are probably North Carolina and Texas Tech.
Finally, if you normally skew to the top end of the market, Illinois is worth considering. They have been on a tear lately and just dominated Iowa. The Illini have terrific balance in their squad between bigs and guards, and come into the Tournament with nearly as much momentum as Gonzaga.
March Madness: Players to watch
The tournament is often where you find the next NBA star. But it’s also where the most mature players shine. And so whilst some freshmen from a big school might be selected in the top 10 of the 2021 NBA draft, they probably won’t influence the Tournament games.
We’re interested in the guys that will dominate the Tournament and fight for wins.
For example, Luka Garza is the most influential player on the court at both ends. But he’ll be lucky to get picked 50th in the next NBA Draft.
With that example in mind, here are the game influencing players to watch from our Player Model:
You’ll notice that the projected number one pick, Cade Cunningham, isn’t on the list. The model finds flaws in his defence and efficiency. So while lots of recreational money will be on his Oklahoma State Cowboys, and Cade’s player props, we’ll go against the market in each of Cade’s games.
Two other players that the media loves is Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert. Both Gonzaga Bulldogs, the Model rated Kispert just outside the top 10.
Of all the players on the top 10, we can’t wait to watch Cameron Krutwig and his Ramblers. They’ve been dealt a tough draw but any big fella with a dirty ‘mo who can play, is worth wagering and watching!
March Madness: Conclusion
Gonzaga are 5+ points better than every team in the tournament. They deserve to be short-priced favourites but there’s little value in the $3.10.
Baylor look too short as well, despite the talent, and we’re heavy against the Michigan Wolverines as a number one seed. Illinois is the best value of those three at $7.50+.
However, our favourite futures bet is the Houston Cougars at $19+. The Model makes them the fourth best team in the Tournament and they have a sound draw.
North Carolina ($67) and Texas Tech ($51) are your long range options at big odds.
Don’t forget to return to Bet Refinery’s Model all tournament long. It projects head to head, line and total outputs. Plus player points, which the bookies start offering with little to no experience.