During one special month each year, the NBA takes a back seat. Whenever the annual NCAA Tournament is in play, as college teams battle for the national championship, it is the primary focus of attention for millions of Americans who love basketball. If you thought that results can sometimes be crazy in the NBA, try predicting the winning teams in March Madness.
March Madness Bracket Frenzy
The 2021 #Sweet16! 👏
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 23, 2021
Much of the excitement surrounding March Madness is filling out the NCAA Tournament bracket. Even people who don’t usually follow basketball or sports get involved, aiming to make as many successful team picks as they can. Millions of people throughout the United States participate, including many who fill out brackets at the official NCAA website.
Of all the participants at the NCAA site this year, it took just 28 games for all the registered brackets to be busted, which just goes to show the improbable nature of making so many successful predictions. That said, nobody has ever predicted all 63 games, plus the odds aren’t exactly in anyone’s favor. According to the experts on basketball and sports betting odds at Betway, the chances of correctly predicting all 63 teams at random is 9.2 quintillion to one. To highlight the enormity of those odds, the CDC recently calculated that during any given year, the average person stands a one in 500,000 chance of being struck by lightning.
Chances of Turning Professional
Should he be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft? pic.twitter.com/KOx3YoDbyc
— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) March 23, 2021
During a typical men’s high school basketball season, there are estimated to be around 540,000 players participating. Of those players, less than one in 35 goes on to play college basketball, and only one in 75 NCAA seniors get drafted to the NBA. Just one in 3,300 high school players make it all the way to professionalism in the NBA.
But here’s the fun part: The average high school player still has 36 million times more chance of eventually playing in the NBA than they ever would of predicting a perfect March Madness bracket. If becoming good enough to feature in the NBA Draft wasn’t hard enough, going on to become a top baller in the NBA itself is a monumental challenge.
In reality, crazy as it seems, most of us actually stand more chance of becoming professional basketball players ourselves, than actually predicting the perfect March Madness bracket, along with participating in bracket pools or making bets on the NCAA Tournament. March Madness wagering in 2021 will top $8.5 billion, which is more than ever before say Forbes.
Making Wiser Basketball Bets
In betting terms, the March Madness brackets are akin to the most improbable accumulator. Essentially, the more teams you have in an accumulator, the lower the chances are of any bet being successful. Rarely will any sensible punter bet on more than five or six games at once, and when they do, winning that bet still requires a huge amount of luck.
When it comes to making multiple game predictions with any level of success, in some respects, it’s a little like trying a “Hail Mary” shot from the opposite end of a basketball court. The chances of that ball reaching the net are extremely slim, with more luck than judgment involved most of the time. Still, that should never stop us from trying once in a while.