March Madness: Who has the best bracket so far?

March 19, 2012  |  Sports

With the first two rounds of March Madness complete, let’s see how the pundits fared with their brackets. We scored pundits from ESPN, Yahoo, Sports Illustrated, and CBS Sports, throwing in President Obama, LeBron James, and Nick Lachey for good fun (all three made their brackets available on ESPN).

As a reminder, our “$1 Bet Yield” metric calibrates predictions for boldness by measuring the average payout (using Vegas odds) had you placed $1 bets on each of the pundit’s selections. This approach fits well with March Madness, since it mimics bracket scoring systems that award extra points for predicting upsets.  We used standard Vegas odds for Round 1 and Sweet 16 futures odds for Round 2 (courtesy of sportsbook 5Dimes).

$1 Bet Yield

Jeff Goodman, CBS          $1.22
Peter Tiernan, CBS          $1.19
Jay Bilas, ESPN          $1.19
Barack Obama          $1.19
Nick Lachey          $1.16
Rob Dauster, SI          $1.11
Jeff Borzello, CBS          $1.08
“Chalk” (higher seed)          $1.02
Dan Wetzel, Yahoo          $0.98
Matt Norlander, CBS          $0.96
Colin Cowherd, ESPN          $0.96
Joe Lunardi, ESPN          $0.95
Dennis Dodd, CBS          $0.93
Luke Winn, SI          $0.92
Vegas Favorites          $0.92
Jerry Palm, CBS          $0.91
Andy Staples, SI          $0.90
Pat Forde, Yahoo          $0.88
Gary Parrish, CBS          $0.87
Dick Vitale, ESPN          $0.85
Greg Doyel, CBS          $0.84
Andy Glockner, SI          $0.84
Andy Katz, ESPN          $0.80
Stewart Mandel, SI          $0.78
Seth Davis, SI          $0.77
Brad Evans, Yahoo          $0.74
LeBron James          $0.73
Mike Huguenin, Yahoo          $0.71

 

Jeff Goodman of CBS took first place, thanks to his picks of both Xavier and Florida to make the Sweet 16. It was a tough first weekend for the pundits overall, however, with only 7 of the 26 returning a $1+ yield . Vegas, the best proxy for crowd consensus, significantly underperformed “Chalk” because it incorrectly predicted lower seeds such as UConn and Alabama to win their first round matchups and Wichita State to make the Sweet 16.  Meanwhile, Obama and Lachey did quite well; King James did not.

ESPN’s Jay Bilas had the most accurate bracket based on the standard hit rate approach (# of correct calls divided by # of total calls).

Hit Rate

Jay Bilas, ESPN          75.0%
Barack Obama          72.9%
Jeff Goodman, CBS          70.8%
Peter Tiernan, CBS          70.8%
Nick Lachey          70.8%
“Chalk” (higher seed)          68.8%
Rob Dauster, SI          66.7%
Dan Wetzel, Yahoo          66.7%
Jeff Borzello, CBS          64.6%
Colin Cowherd, ESPN          64.6%
Vegas Favorites          64.6%
Joe Lunardi, ESPN          62.5%
Luke Winn, SI          60.4%
Jerry Palm, CBS          60.4%
Andy Staples, SI          60.4%
Gary Parrish, CBS          60.4%
Dick Vitale, ESPN          60.4%
Matt Norlander, CBS          58.3%
Dennis Dodd, CBS          58.3%
Andy Glockner, SI          58.3%
Pat Forde, Yahoo          56.3%
Andy Katz, ESPN          56.3%
Stewart Mandel, SI          56.3%
Greg Doyel, CBS          54.2%
Seth Davis, SI          54.2%
Brad Evans, Yahoo          52.1%
LeBron James          52.1%
Mike Huguenin, Yahoo          52.1%

 

For a breakdown of these two metrics by round, click here.

We will update these rankings following the Championship game, using Final Four and Championship futures odds.

 

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