BETTING ON MARCH MANIA
I’m not a mathematician or a statistician. But I do have have access to some fine statistical minds.
With the March Mania Keno event happening, I thought it would be interesting to delve into some of the odds and probabilities of winning. The matrix. Every game has one. It’s the result of the complex math that determines game odds, amounts and prizes. It’s how you get a fair chance to win a Lottery prize… the shape of the game, sort of. See the Keno matrix?
I wanted to compare the odds of picking a winning March basketball bracket versus picking winning Keno numbers plus the Slam Dunk Dough EZ PLAY® ticket you get with every $10 Keno purchase.
Is it a little unfair to compare? You have no idea. But it’s just for fun, right?
Here are some random stats I found online searching from my home computer (data from vegaswatch.com):
The odds of all your favorites making it through round one: about 1 in 19,000. The matrix widens greatly from there, ending with the odds of all your favorites winning out through the final round: about 1 in 3.475 billion.
TIME OUT: One of our experts here completed a bracket using a stochastic process (Google it) and projected a VERY strong probability that a University from the State of Ohio will appear in the finals. Can’t say who though…
According to University of Illinois computer science professor, Sheldon Jacobson, and his probabilistic seed-based prediction tool, BracketOdds, the odds of all four top-seeded teams reaching the final round is 0.026, or once every 39 years. The odds of all four 16th-seeded teams reaching the finals? A probable frequency of once every 800 trillion years. And of the 100 top seeds since 1985, only 44 have advanced to the final round.
Yes, the odds of one top seed making it to the finals are nearly 1:1. But two top seeds in the final? Not likely. And the odds you’ll correctly pick the final two teams are not very good.
Happily, while you’re out there at your favorite Keno bar battling your bracket probabilities, you can play some relatively great odds. For example, the odds of winning a prize on a Keno four-spot wager (picking four numbers out of 80) are 1 in 3.86. (Note: these are overall odds, we don’t mean to imply that you’ll win on every fourth game you play.) Odds on a ten-spot bet are 1 in 9.05. And the overall odds of winning a prize on Slam Dunk Dough are 1 in 3.41. With Keno plus a free Slam Dunk Dough ticket, the odds are about three times better.
That’s why we have a lot of Keno winners – like hundreds of thousands. The odds are relatively good you’ll win something. It may not always be a huge prize, but when you’re out having a good time with friends and watching a few games, it’s nice to occasionally win enough to buy a round for the house. Or put a down-payment on a house. It’s happened.
So enjoy the games and good luck beating the odds! And make sure you tell us when you’re a winner – post your story at ohiolottery.com/winners.