March Madness Simulation 2022 | Simulating the NCAA Tournament

Posted: Apr 1, 2022Last updated: Apr 2, 2022

All season, I have been simulating the NCAA Tournament 25,000 times every week. With only three games left in the 2022 NCAA Tournament (the Final Four and National Championship game), there isn’t much left to simulate for March Madness.

Below, read about the only March Madness Final Four participant that I view as a good bet to win the NCAA Tournament championship, despite the “blue bloods" quartet remaining in the 2022 Final Four that comprises Kansas, Duke, Villanova, and North Carolina.

All odds and lines are current as of 2:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 29.

How The March Madness Simulation Works

The key to my March Madness simulation is in the power ratings that I assign for each team. Based on the remaining teams in the tournament bracket, I can simulate a team’s chances of winning based on the power ratings of the two teams playing each other.

How does this work?

  1. You take one team’s rating and subtract the other team’s rating, which gives you the number of points that team should be favored by.
  2. If a team has a power rating of 22 and their opponent has a power rating of 25, for example, they should be a three-point underdog in a neutral court matchup.

How do I make these power ratings?

Any experienced college basketball bettor is familiar with Ken Pomeroy, a former meteorologist who comes up with advanced college basketball statistics. His numbers are so good that most bookmakers copy his numbers to set NCAAB spreads.

In that spirit, I incorporate his power ratings to simulate March Madness brackets. After simulating the NCAA Tournament 25,000 times in Microsoft Excel, I then tabulate the number of simulations each team won the National Championship.

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If the odds of a team winning the championship are greater than my breakeven odds, I bet it.

  • Breakeven odds are the percentage of time a bet needs to win for you to break even. If the payoff is better than the breakeven odds, that’s the type of bet you should be making to be a long-term profitable bettor.
  • Example: Let’s say my model gives a team a 12.5% chance of winning the tournament for a breakeven price of (+700). If a sportsbook offers (+800) on that bet, I take it. If they are offering, say, (+500), I would not take it.

The point of breakeven odds and projections is to figure out when to make a bet.

March Madness 2022 Simulation

In the first Final Four game, Kansas is favored by 4.5 points against Villanova. Most importantly, they are (-190) moneyline favorites, which translates to the betting market believing that the Jayhawks have a 62.7% chance (implied probability divided by vigorish) of beating the Wildcats.

Not only do I subjectively disagree with setting Kansas as that large of a favorite, but KenPom only gives Kansas a 53% chance of winning.

Based on that, it should be no surprise that Kansas wins the tournament in 29.9% of my simulations, while Villanova wins in 25.3% of my simulations.

Overall, the tournament is won by the winner of the Kansas/Villanova game in 55.1% of my simulations.

TeamChampionship ChancesBreakeven OddsGood BetBorderline Good BetBad Bet
North Carolina12.2%723x

For the second Final Four game, there is a rivalry game between North Carolina and Duke. Not only is Duke a 4.5-point favorite, but like Kansas, they are a (-190) moneyline favorite, which implies that they have a 62.7% chance of winning. Not only do I personally disagree with this as I am more bullish on Duke’s chances, but KenPom gives the Blue Devils a 64% chance.

Unsurprisingly, Duke wins the tournament in 32.7% of my simulations, which is the highest percentage of any team. The problem with Duke is that in the National Championship, I have them as only a one-point favorite against Kansas, and in a pick ’em against Villanova.

The best way to back Duke is to bet on them to cover against North Carolina, rather than winning the National Championship.

March Madness Predictions & Bet Picks

Best NCAA National Championship Bet

Villanova To Win NCAA Tournament (+500) at BetMGM

Not only is Villanova the only National Championship bet that my model likes, but I have been recommending a bet on them all season in this column.

Since the season started in November, the Villanova Wildcats were one of my favorite teams to win the tournament and the Big East. They brought back several key players, such as Collin Gillespie, and their head coach, Jay Wright, has led them to two prior National Championships.

Villanova also has the experience to overcome the absence of Justin Moore, who tore his Achilles’ in the Elite 8 and will miss the Final Four.

They’re certainly battle-tested, having played the 11th-toughest schedule in the country, which helped fuel their seven losses. They have lost to UCLA, Purdue, Baylor, UConn, and Marquette (twice).

After a grueling Big East tournament that Villanova easily won, they initially had a relatively easy tournament path. As a two-seed, they beat Delaware by twenty points in the second-round and beat Ohio State by ten points in the Round of 32.

Once Villanova beat Houston convincingly in the Elite 8, I became more of a fan of betting on the Wildcats to win it all.

Kansas should beat Villanova, but I believe that the Wildcats are being overlooked. If the Wildcats can win in what essentially are two games that are a tossup (the Final Four and National Championship), then they will cash as a +500 underdog to win the tournament.


Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is a Betting Analyst at The Game Day residing in Hoboken, NJ. Previously a Bronx resident, Kevin got his start betting on sports at his local Bronx barbershop. When sports betting was legalized across the river in Jersey, Kevin was there on the ground floor making regular trips to the Hoboken PATH station or for soup dumplings in Fort Lee. Previously, Kevin has written for The Action Network, and Vegas Insider.

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