March Madness – 2017 Betting Preview

In addition to using our models to fill out your bracket, we also have models designed to predict point spreads (i.e., margin of victory) and point totals (i.e., how many total points will be scored) that can be used in comparison to the Vegas spreads/totals for each game.

Point Spread Model

These models generate a point spread from the perspective of the higher seeded team (Team1) in each game. The table below shows the 2nd round predictions from last year’s tournament. Each of the MOV (the actual margin of victory for Team1), Vegas Spread, and 284 Spread can be interpreted as the number of points Team1 will win by. For example, in the second row, we predicted that Maryland would beat Hawaii by 10 points, while Vegas had them favored by 7.5 points, and they ended up winning by 13 (a win for the model). Positive numbers for any of these columns would favor Team2.

Team1Team2WinnerMOVVegas Spread284 Spread284 Correct
kansasconnecticutkansas-12-7.5-6.30
marylandhawaiimaryland-13-7.5-10.01
miami-flwichita-statemiami-fl-82.0-3.21
villanovaiowavillanova-19-6.0-11.81
oregonsaint-josephsoregon-5-7.0-5.31
dukeyaleduke-7-6.0-12.81
texas-amnorthern-iowatexas-am-4-7.0-5.91
oklahomavcuoklahoma-4-6.50.21
north-carolinaprovidencenorth-carolina-19-11.0-12.81
kentuckyindianaindiana6-3.5-3.90
notre-damestephen-f-austinnotre-dame-1-2.0-0.11
xavierwisconsinwisconsin3-5.0-6.40
virginiabutlervirginia-8-8.5-10.80
iowa-statearkansas-little-rockiowa-state-17-6.0-3.50
utahgonzagagonzaga231.0-1.20
syracusemiddle-tennesseesyracuse-25-6.0-6.11

The table below shows how our numbers have performed against the spread (ATS) dating back to 2001. As you can see in the previous table, there are games in which our spread does not differ all that much from Vegas’s spread. The right-most columns in the following table (ending with “3+”) show our record ATS in games where our spread differs from Vegas by at least 3 points (i.e., throwing out games where there is little difference between the two numbers). The ATS records see a jump when we only consider these games.

YearATS RecordATS %ATS Record (3+)ATS % (3+)
200146-16-174.2%34-8-181.0%
200244-17-272.1%31-6-083.8%
200340-21-265.6%30-10-175.0%
200447-16-074.6%35-7-083.3%
200547-14-277.0%37-9-180.4%
200642-20-167.7%33-9-178.6%
200738-23-262.3%31-15-267.4%
200848-15-076.2%38-7-084.4%
200945-18-071.4%27-7-079.4%
201042-18-370.0%30-6-183.3%
201145-17-172.6%32-8-180.0%
201248-13-278.7%34-7-182.9%
201347-16-074.6%34-6-085.0%
201440-19-467.8%24-5-382.8%
201536-27-057.1%21-9-070.0%
201640-23-063.5%21-8-072.4%
Total695-293-2070.3%492-127-1280.9%

Point Total Model

These models generate point totals for each game (i.e., predicting how many total points will be scored). As an example, the table below shows the model’s predictions from last year’s second round games. In the second row, we predicted a total of 138 points in the Maryland vs. Hawaii game, Vegas had a total of 144, and the game ended with 133 total points scored (an under, and a win for the model).

Team1Team2TotalVegas Total284 Total284 Correct
kansasconnecticut1341401430
marylandhawaii1331441381
miami-flwichita-state1221291191
villanovaiowa1551461481
oregonsaint-josephs133156.51451
dukeyale1351481471
texas-amnorthern-iowa1801301391
oklahomavcu166146.51501
north-carolinaprovidence1511521530
kentuckyindiana140157.51521
notre-damestephen-f-austin1511401390
xavierwisconsin129137.51321
virginiabutler1461301431
iowa-statearkansas-little-rock139143.51870
utahgonzaga141137.51441
syracusemiddle-tennessee1251291371

The table below shows how our point total models have performed ATS dating back to 2001. As you can see in the previous table, there are games in which our point total does not differ all that much from Vegas’s point total. The right-most columns in the following table (ending with “5+”) show our record in games where our total differs from Vegas by 5 points or more (i.e., throwing out those games where there is little difference between the two numbers). Similar to the spread models, the ATS figures see notable improvement after removing these games.

YearTotal RecordTotal %Total Record (5+)Total % (5+)
200148-13-278.7%36-4-290.0%
200249-12-179.0%32-4-088.9%
200340-20-366.7%28-10-373.7%
200442-21-066.7%33-9-078.6%
200548-15-076.2%26-6-081.3%
200652-11-082.5%47-8-085.4%
200748-12-376.2%40-10-080.0%
200846-17-073.0%34-8-081.0%
200940-23-063.5%34-13-072.3%
201044-19-069.8%34-7-082.9%
201150-12-180.6%35-4-089.7%
201244-18-171.0%31-8-179.5%
201348-15-076.2%38-7-084.4%
201437-26-058.7%22-14-061.1%
201533-28-254.1%19-13-159.4%
201644-19-069.8%25-6-080.6%
Total713-283-1371.6%514-131-779.7%

Check back once the bracket is released for our predictions for this year’s tournament