Tuesday, April 8, 2008

March Madness 2008 Wrap-up

My results against the spread:

All my picks 37-27 58%
My overdog picks 33-19 63%
My underdog picks 4-8 33%

A simple all-overdog strategy led the pack at 41-23 or 64%.

I might make March madness picks against the spread for the rest of my life and not do better than 58%. And, we might go several lifetimes before seeing an all-overdog approach better than 64%.

Historical data indicate a very slight -- so slight as to fail the test of statistical significance -- tendency for "light" overdogs in college basketball games to beat the spread and slightly stronger -- enough to be statistically signficant -- tendency for "heavy" underdogs to win outright or (more likely) beat the spread. Neither historical trend was strong enough to overcome the commission charged by oddsmakers.

In this year's small sample of 64 March madness match-ups (including the play-in game), the statistically insignificant trend favouring light overdogs came up trumps while the statistically significant play on heavy underdogs failed miserably. More proof that gambling is a loser's game and we should restrict our wagering jones to friendly, non-profit office pools.

I am still looking for any historical data showing whether March madness results against the spread differ from regular season college basketball outcomes.

I will be back for the NBA playoffs. And, I want to test whether major league baseball oddsmakers are correctly accounting for the American League's clear superiority over the National League.

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