By Scotty P - AlgaLytics Staff
Welcome to the month of madness, also known as college hoops amateur hour. That’s right, this is the month that everyone becomes a college basketball fan. It’s also the month that many so-called college basketball “experts” come crawling out of the woodwork. They’re literally everywhere, just like cockroaches when the lights are suddenly turned on.
Most of these “experts” are talking heads who get paid far too much money to run their mouths in hopes of generating social media likes and website clicks. If you’ve been following the sport closely all year long there is no reason to believe that these loudmouths know any more than you about a sport they only follow on the periphery.
The bad news is that human nature makes it hard to tune out the same message when you are beaten over the head with it time and again. The good news is that human nature makes it hard to tune out the same message when you are beaten over the head with it.
Millions of fans who only follow the sport closely for five weeks out of every season and rely on their memories about what has happened in tournaments pasr and what the highly visible blowhard “experts” are saying provide those of us who follow the sport closely with tremendous betting advantages.
Lines, futures odds and game totals will be skewed and inflated as mass amounts of misinformation lead to the temporary fans betting enormous sums of money on the popular picks. The insane amount of public money being wagered – which should reach a record high this year with so many states having legalized sports betting – also will make it easier for us to determine where the “sharp” or professional bettors are putting their money. When the lines don’t move or even move the opposite direction of where the vast majority of bets are being placed, it becomes very easy to figure out who the “pros” like.
Don’t fall into the trap. Stick with people like the guys at AlgaVision, who rely solely on the same algorithm they have used to win at well over a 60-percent rate since 2017 – including a current 12-1 streak that is part of a 19-3 run during what usually is the most difficult time of year to handicap college basketball.
Why is it so difficult to win this time of year, and why do the AlgaVision guys keep winning while others struggle? They tune out the noise and stay the course. The same numbers are run every day. The same rules and restrictions are applied to the data that is produced. And all the selections are strictly based on that information with no human emotion or subjectivity involved.
They have no idea who Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith or Colin Cowherd are saying, and they don’t care. Their sole objective is to provide us with the best analytical information on the market and make winning selections. Period.
So, even if you don’t use AlgaVision or use their information in combination with other analytics, follow their lead and stick with your plan. If you have used their numbers and been successful, stay the course. If you have your own system and been successful, rely on that. If you used a combo platter of info, remain consistent. Fade the noise.
Don’t change anything just because this is the biggest college hoops event of the year and there is more information available at your fingertips. Keep in mind that much of the information out there is nothing more than clutter. Don’t be swayed by public opinion or what “experts” are saying if you’ve been successful. Whether you are working on your office-pool bracket or looking to enjoy a nice ROI to put away to buy something you want or need, don’t let the extra information make you doubt yourself or successful number-crunchers like AlgaVision.
Right now, because of what people are hearing and reading multiple times a day, thousands if not millions of folks are sprinting to their mobile apps or local sportsbooks to bet on the following games – or are adding these “expert” selections to their personal office-pool brackets:
Michigan State -2 or -2.5 over UCLA
For several weeks we’ve been listening pundits tell us how great Michigan State is playing, how Coach Tom Izzo’s teams always play best in February and March and how dangerous the Spartans are. Well, they suffered two double-digit losses to No. 10 seed Maryland in the last three weeks, including one in the Big Ten quarterfinals, and are 2-3 in their last five games and 5-5 in their last 10. No one is giving UCLA a chance; the overwhelming money and bets are on the Spartans, but if you just look at raw numbers and the various analytics that are available to all of us, multiple models have UCLA winning the game outright and almost all of them have the Bruins covering the spread. Many “pros” seem to concur. One thing you can bet on is that AlgaVision will be taking a close look at this one.
#3 Arkansas -8 or -8.5 vs. #14 Colgate
Colgate. Colgate. Colgate. All we’re hearing is that they were under-seeded as a 14, that they play an exciting, fast-paced style and that they can really shoot the three. Coming out of the Patriot League as huge underdogs they are media darlings already, everyone’s favorite big-upset selection and an overwhelming public and media pick to cover the spread. Well, they’ve played a limited schedule that didn’t start until January because of their league’s COVID rules, and because of those restrictions they also played zero non-conference opponents. That means two things: They’re strength of schedule is 313th out of 356 teams, and they never have had to play against the type of athletes or at the pace they will in their first-round matchup against Arkansas. Oh, and the Razorbacks are one of the hottest and highest-scoring teams in the nation, having won nine of their last 10 games in the tough SEC. Lower-ranked teams that give strong teams problems this time of year usually play a completely different style that their highly touted foes haven’t seen or aren’t comfortable playing. Colgate plays exactly the same way Arkansas does with nowhere near the same level of talent. This game screams potential blowout, while the “experts” will tell you Colgate has a chance to win outright.
#4 Oklahoma State -7.5 vs. #13 Liberty
Everyone loves Liberty, and many are saying that the red-hot Cowboys, who have won eight of their past 10 with one of those wins and one of the losses coming against No. 1-seed Baylor, are going to struggle to cover the spread and may be ripe for an upset. Their other loss in the last 10 contests was against nationally ranked Texas in the Big 12 title games, while OSU also knocked off nationally ranked foes West Virginia (twice) and Texas Tech during that run. Liberty’s offense is based on a slow tempo and shooting 3-pointers. They are second in the nation in terms of percentage of points scored via 3-point shots (41 percent). Certainly, if they are shooting the ball well that could present problems for the Cowboys, but they have played the 314th-strongest schedule out of 356 teams this season and never have had a bunch of long, athletic defenders running at them every time they shoot. Teams that live and die by the three this time of year tend to be boom or bust, and it seems unlikely that Liberty will be able to shoot the ball like they are used to against a team that will play at a pace and provide challenges that no other opponent has. This one also has potential blowout written all over it, but my bet is that AlgaVision might look to pair a game like this with Arkansas on a money-line parlay. One “mathematical” model on the market has Liberty winning by a point. This is why you have to be wary of any information you use and must monitor results over time. No other model available to the public has Liberty winning – and the margins are between six and nine points. Don’t just assume because someone says that something is computer-generated and unbiased that it is. AlgaVision has proven you can trust their numbers over many years and hundreds of games. Complete transparency.
#5 Villanova -6.5 vs. #12 Winthrop
Yes, Villanova is missing one of its top players. Sure, Winthrop is 23-1. But Villanova has been a top-10 team for most of the year with a coach and players who have advanced deep into NCAA tournaments on a regular basis. Meanwhile, Winthrop has played the 309th-hardest schedule in the nation out of 356 teams and also ranks among the top-30 in the country in terms of percentage of points produced by 3-pointers. This sounds like a similar scenario to the Oklahoma State-Liberty matchup. Given their injury situation and late-season struggles in the Big East, it doesn’t look like the Wildcats are likely to advance deep into the tournament, but this coaching, experience and athleticism advantage doesn’t appear to be one that will allow David to knock off Goliath. A back-door cover by the underdogs is a possibility considering that Villanova is likely to get a lead and may back off a little, which could give Winthrop the space it needs to bury some threes. But a look at the analytics indicates this isn’t a game likely to produce an upset no matter what the “experts” are saying.
#4 Virginia -7.5 vs. #13 Ohio
Virginia is known for controlling the tempo, playing at a slow pace, being disciplined, avoiding turnovers, shooting threes and playing very tough defense. That formula led to a historic upset loss to 16th-seeded UMBC one year and a national championship the next. The fact that UVA has not been as strong defensively and a little more inconsistent shooting 3-pointers this season is a bit of a concern as the Cavaliers have struggled down the stretch. Those concerns were only heightened when Virginia was forced out of the ACC Tournament because of positive COVID tests. One of their players mentioned that they would only practice once before this game against the Bobcats. Remember, though, that the Cavs are well-coached, and have multiple players who have won a national championship. Ohio likes to get up and down the floor and ranks among the top 40 percent of all teams in terms of pace and is 30th in offensive efficiency. The Bobcats also have a legitimate NBA prospect in Jason Preston and won nine of their last 10 games after a less-than-inspiring regular season to capture the MAC championship and earn an NCAA Tournament berth. With its depth, experience winning a title and coaching, the Cavaliers don’t appear to be a likely upset candidate, however this is a game to wait on as it remains unclear which – if any – UVA players will be unable to play because of COVID. When factors other than numbers come into play, AlgaVision almost always produces red flags that tell us to stay away.
Stats & Facts
Those are three games that everyone is talking about as potential upsets, but here are some facts to go along with any selections AlgaVision provides to help you make your bets and figure out your brackets:
The last three national champions have been No. 1 seeds, and 14 No. 1 seeds have captured the title since 2000.
No seed outside of the top five has won the national championship since Kansas in 1988.
At least one double-digit seed has advanced to the Sweet 16 since 2008.
A No. 14 seed has beaten a No. 3 seed in seven of the past 10 tournaments.
Multiple No. 11 seeds have won first-round games in five of the past six years.
Two No. 14 seeds won games in both 2015 and 2016, but none have won since.
Multiple No. 11 seeds have advanced to the second round in five of the last 11 years.
Multiple No. 11 seeds have advanced to the Sweet 16 in 8 of the past 10 tournaments.
There have been only five tournaments without a No. 12 upsetting a No. 5.
No. 7 seeds are 99-65 all-time vs. No. 10 seeds.
No. 11 seeds are 102-58 all-time vs. No. 6 seeds
No. 12 seeds are 107-53 all-time vs. No. 5 seeds.
No. 3 seeds are 119-21 all-time vs. No. 14 seeds.
I will be consulting with AlgaVision as an analyst to analyze, document and review their picks as they aim to provide full transparency. AlgaVision uses a proprietary algorithm to provide professional and college sports selections to its clients that have won at better than a 60-percent rate over hundreds of picks dating to 2017. The results have been verified by a CPA and are available to review.
AlgaVision will be launching its website and engaging in a full grand-opening marketing campaign very soon. In the meantime, you can track the picks by following my AlgaLytics Twitter account @G_LovesWinning. If you are interested in coming on board as a customer before this blows up and the prices go up, feel free to shoot me a DM there. Good luck!