I tried to run some similar analyses to help fill out my March Madness bracket as what I do for the NFL confidence pools. Basically, I found some win probabilities (thanks to Nate Silver’s site, fivethirtyeight.com) and paired them up with what the public is picking (which I found on Yahoo’s version of the picks). Here’s what I found. The green highlighted picks are teams that have a pretty good probability of winning but not many people are picking them (so don’t choose these teams for upsets) and the yellow ones are lower win probabilities, but high in relation to the number of people pick them. These are some good upset picks.
Couple of caveats, as I kind of did this in a rush. All the numbers are supposed to be percentages (I didn’t have time to convert the “Picks” into decimals, or vice versa). I also didn’t have time to really figure out what the Prob percentages really meant and to figure out the play in games, so the games don’t really add up to 100%. But this is what I used for my bracket.
To summarize:

  • Pick is the percentage of people according to Yahoo who are picking that team
  • Prob is the probability according to fivethirtyeight.com that the team will make it to that round (I think).
  • Green are picks you should NOT pick as upset picks (high probability of winning, not many people picking them)
  • Yelloware potential upset picks (lower probability of winning, but high relative to a low amount of people picking that team)

Good luck! And please check back here during the NFL season for confidence pool picks… Enter your email in the box on the right so you’re up to speed on NFL picks next year!
NCAA picks