Odds of a Perfect March Madness Bracket?
Previously, we set out to calculate the odds of a practical, perfect March Madness bracket. The number of possible brackets is unthinkably big (about 9 quintillion) and much larger than the real, implied odds of stringing together a 63-leg parlay of basketball winners.
After tallying up the first round’s outcomes, the “perfect” first-round parlay weighed in just shy of 16 million to one. Naturally, that number will spike when another 16 legs get added.
Calculating Perfect Bracket Parlay
Five of this year’s Sweet 16 teams advanced despite being underdogs. Led by the No. 15 seed St. Peter’s Peacocks, a No. 8, a No. 10 and two No. 11s move on to third-round play. All five seeding upsets corresponded with upsets at the sportsbook — St. Peter’s the largest of the winning underdogs in the second round, catching 7½ points.
East Region Underdogs Continue to Bust Brackets
The East Region continued defying oddsmakers’ expectations into the second round, which opened with a wild upset as eight-seed North Carolina fended off a frantic Baylor comeback — squandering a 25-point lead and finally closing out the win in overtime. While the Tar Heels ousted the first No. 1 seed in the tournament (and last year’s champion), they cashed as just +185 underdogs — not even the biggest second-round upset in the East.
Not with the St. Peter’s Peacocks establishing themselves as this year’s Cinderella with a solid victory over seven-seed Murray St. at +290 on the moneyline.
St. Peter’s +290
North Carolina +185
Thanks to the underdogs, the four-team, all-East second-round parlay paid out at +2910. With St. Peter’s Cinderella run, it puts a 12-team East Region parlay into nosebleed odds of +472403.
Cyclones, Hurricanes Boost Barometric Midwest Odds
Iowa State and Miami exceeded their seeding and bookmakers’ expectations when they won outright as four and 6½-point underdogs, respectively. The 11- and 10-seeded teams advanced to the Sweet 16, cashing moneyline odds of +160 and +235.
Iowa State +160
The Midwest Region four-teamer paid out more modestly than did the East, at +1421. Still, added to the first-round March Madness betting odds and the Midwest 12-teamer clocks in at +281990.
All Chalk Dominates West Region
All four top seeds in the West Region advanced into the Sweet 16, which came as no surprise to oddsmakers who lined all four winners as favorites.
Texas Tech -380
A four-teamer in the West Region would only have netted +172 odds. It’s hard to describe +12368 odds as stingy, but for a 12-leg parlay, that’s what the West had to offer.
Wolverines Crash Through South Region Chalk Wall
No. 11 seed Michigan advanced past third-seeded Tennessee on Saturday, cashing moneyline tickets at +240. Their advancement into the Sweet 16 represents one of the few surprises in the region, which has mostly broken along its rankings.
The South paid +860 for its second-round four-team parlay, but it’s results have so favored the chalk that it’s the lowest of the 12-team odds at +11216.
Second-Round Perfect Bracket Parlay Odds
After 48 coin flips, it really starts to thin out at the two ends of the bell curve. In the CBS Sports March Madness 2022 pool featuring millions of entries, a single entry stood alone in top spot after the second round with roughly 92 percent correct guesses. Still, the top entry contained four incorrect guesses (and had Miami in the Final Four — ouch!)
Even millions upon millions of March Madness predictions isn’t enough when the current odds suggest only 0.0000000005% would be perfect after the second round. As a payout, that would be $188,048,235,706.70 on a one-dollar bet. Odds of about 188-billion to one.
That’s staggeringly high, of course, but pales in comparison to the odds on 48 consecutive coin flips, which is somewhere in the range of about 281 trillion to one. Still, in terms of the real odds of the perfect march madness bracket, there are still 15 more games to come — which should add at least one more comma to that final number before this year’s NCAA championships come to an end.