Monday, March 17, 2014

NCAA March Madness 2014 ATS Recap

After losing all 3 Final 4 matches, I finished 36-27-4 against the point spread (ATS) good for 14th in my local pool.

Official Godiva toy boy fiancé Archibald can't get enough roundball. Every year he organizes a friendly, non-profit office pool for the NCAA men's tourney.

Instead of picking bracket winners, players in his pool pick winners ATS each and every day as the tournament unfolds. The winner of his winner-take-all pool is the contestant who picks the most winners against the spread over 67 matches including the play-in games. All matches are weighted equally.

To humour Archibald, I participate by relying on economists' studies showing that "heavy" underdogs win more than their fair share of college basketball games against the point spread, while "non-heavy" overdogs win slightly more than 50% (although this particular result is not statistically significant).

Over 7 years since 2008 of swimming naked (of roundball knowledge) in Archibald's pool, I am just barely ahead at 226-223-11.

Just by picking all overdog favourites in every NCAA tournament game for the past 7 years, you would be sporting a 233-216-11 or 52% record ATS. I tried something different the past 2 years by going with Cincinatti Professor Michael Magazine's tip that his statistical model shows No. 11 seeds as underseeded by the selectors and undervalued by oddsmakers and bettors. The No. 11 seed approach failed in 2013 but worked this year. And, I took a flyer on some No. 12 seeds on the grounds that they have won 35% of 1st round matches straight-up and that another 15%+ on points might be doable over the long run.

Lady G vs. Baracketer-in-Chief
President Obama picks winners straight-up with no point line for each bracket and round.

The President got UNC right as the 2009 winner. After a tough time in 2010 and 2011 with none of his final 4 picks coming through, he correctly picked 5 of the elite 8 in 2013 and 2014 as well as 6 of 8 in 2012. Not too shabby, but this year he only got 1 of the final 4 right.

When he picks upsets in the early rounds, I can identify games where Lady Godiva and the Baracketer-in-Chief disagree. In Obama's first 6 years in office, I am 16-26-1 womano-a-mano against the Baracketer including 1-0-1 this year.

Speaking of mano-a-womano, kudos to the President for also picking the women's NCAA brackets.

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