After a month of games, the number of unbeaten teams in college basketball has shrunk from 351 to just six. Arizona State, Florida State, Georgetown, Miami, TCU, and Villanova are the only squads without a blemish on their resume. Which undefeated team is the best bet win the Big Dance?
Not all perfect records are created equally. Nova and Georgetown play in the same conference but no one would say they are in the same league. The Hoyas have started the season with eight straight wins with an assist from easiest schedule in the country. If the two teams played on a neutral court, our simulations give Jay Wright’s team a 96.9% chance of winning.
Here is each undefeated team’s probability of beating the others. Read the table from left to right. Arizona State for example has a 46.9% chance of besting Florida State while Miami would beat TCU 55.8% of the time on a neutral court.
If Villanova were to play the other five teams with perfect records the Wildcats would win on average 4.06 games. Georgetown, which will likely be home underdogs to Syracuse on Saturday, would win 0.64 games on average.
Translation: Nova is the cream of the crop, Georgetown doesn’t belong, but do any of these teams offer value for bettors?
To determine if a team has value, we simulated the NCAA tournament 10,000 using Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology and then compared the results to the odds at 5Dimes. Duke is the betting favorite at +505. In order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Blue Devils, Coach K’s team would need to win it all 16.5% (which is 100/(100 + 505)) of the time. The Dukies though are projected to cut down the nets 6.1% of the time according to our metrics, the fifth-best mark in the nation. There’s no value in the Blue Devils at +505 odds.
We called out Villanova as a value bet before the season began and once again after Thanksgiving even though the team’s odds had shifted from +1850 to +1400. Another drop in the odds to +1100 still isn’t enough to scare us off. The Wildcats being undefeated is nothing new. Did you know in the past five years, the Big East bully is 60-3 straight-up in November and December and 40-18-2 ATS in games with lines. According to KenPom, Nova is the only team in the country that ranks in the top 10 in both offensive (2nd) and defensive (7th) efficiency. It’s going to be a while before Wright’s team loses but it won’t be long before the team’s odds to win the NCAA tournament drop below +1000.
Villanova is the only undefeated team with value to come out on top in March Madness. Here are two other teams bettors should consider wagering on.
Current odds: +5000, Implied Probability: 2.0%
UVA wins the tournament 6.7% of the time
Virginia came up short against West Virginia last week but there is no better time to buy a team than after a loss. The Hoos play ridiculous defense, holding opponents to 52.6 points per game and ranking first overall in defensive efficiency. The offense can be sluggish at times, but you can win a lot of games only needing 60 points of offense.
Current odds: +6600, Implied Probability: 1.5%
Purdue wins the tournament 5.6% of the time
Matt Painter’s team has wins over tournament-bound squads Arizona, Louisville and Maryland. This is a well-balanced unit that according to KenPom ranks 11th in offensive efficiency and 15th in defensive efficiency.
Below is each team with at least a 1-in-1000 chance of cutting down the nets according to our simulations.
|Team||Odds||Projected Chance (%)|