Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
3/20/2007 11:16:00 AM
Pitting Odds Against Efficiency
The oddsmakers like Jo Noah's Gators more than the efficiency numbers do.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
The SI tourney team re-assessed allfourregionalstoday in regular space, covering everything from clutch players, to X-Factors, to Final Four picks. (I was assigned East Rutherford and took Georgetown). That leaves the Blog free to examine the bracket from more esoteric angles.
For the second week in a row we have a guest contribution from Emory University student Jacob Wheatley-Schaller, who has added a new dimension to his odds-based analysis. In the chart below, Wheatley-Schaller has used futures odds from four online sportsbooks (bodog.com, betus.com, sportsbetting.com and vip.com) to calculate a "Vegas Percentage" -- the percent chance oddsmakers are giving teams to win the national title. He then compared those figures against Ken Pomeroy's efficiency-based percentages to see where bettors and stat-heads don't see eye-to-eye.
Four quick observations, followed by the full chart:
• Vegas' favorite teams are Florida, Kansas, UNC and Georgetown, in that order. The average percentages come out the same way. Seems like a bad sign for Ohio State. • Kenpom's favorites are Kansas, UNC, Florida, Ohio State, in that order. • According to the percentage gaps, Kenpom's numbers most differ with Vegas on the subjects of North Carolina (the efficiency-based percentage is 10.03 higher for the Heels) and Kansas (9.45 percent). • Conversely, Kenpom's percentages say that Florida (by 3.40 percent) Memphis (by 3.07 percent) are the most overrated in Vegas.
Odds vs. Efficiency
How Vegas, Kenpom Handicap the National Title Picture (arranged by region)
It would be interesting to see how these numbers have held up in the past. Is there a similar analysis of these numbers from last year's tournament, at the same point in time within the tourney (i.e. before the Sweet 16 round?
You mention that Vegas prefers Florida, Kansas, UNC, and Georgetown, and you say that's bad for Ohio State. I think Vegas is talking strictly about winning the tournament, but, of course, UNC and Georgetown are in the same bracket, so the numbers are slightly misleading when it comes to Ohio State. Ohio State is favored to go the the final four for the South, whereas either UNC or Georgetown will be out since they have to play through each other to get to the final four. Given that, it does seems that Ohio State would be the underdog against either UNC or Georgetown in the final four.