2023 Bracket Picks Writeup

Table of Contents

1. Introduction & Welcome

2. Early Predictions & Value Analysis

3. Initial Brackets: Highlights & Explanations

4. Comparing 2023 Tournament Predictions

5. Updated Predictions & Value Analysis

6. Pick Changes In The Wednesday Brackets

7. Strategy Notes For Non-Traditional Scoring

8. A Final Note On Expectations

1. Introduction & Welcome

If you’re a returning subscriber, it’s great to have you back with us again in 2023, and we appreciate your loyalty. Even when you have a big edge in pools, the outcomes from year to year are extremely boom-or-bust (and more often bust). You can go years with negative returns before a big win comes and makes it all worth it.

As a result, this site would not exist without the ongoing support of a subscriber base that understands that dynamic, trusts the process, and takes a longer-term view. Thanks y’all!

If you’re new this year, welcome to the neighborhood. We’re honored that you spent your hard-earned dollars to geek out with us on NCAA brackets this year.

About This Writeup

The purpose of this writeup is two-fold:

1) Share data-driven insights on the 2023 NCAA tournament

As of Monday morning, we were over the 100-hour mark in terms of time spent researching teams over the past two weeks, evaluating the 2023 seeding decisions, analyzing paths to the championship in each tournament region, and looking at public picking trends data. We’ll share the key highlights related to bracket picking.

(To see the results of all our team research, don’t miss our Teams page.)

2) Explain the rationale behind picks you might see in your brackets.

After our initial bracket release on Monday evening, you will be able to generate customized bracket picks for pools you set up in the My Brackets page. Reading this writeup should address at least some of the questions you may have about why we’re recommending certain picks this year.

(Fair warning: this product optimizes brackets for may different scoring systems, but given time constraints, we need to focus the majority of the writeup on the most popular 1-2-4-8-16-32 system.)

Bracket Strategy On Film!

Before we get to this year’s analysis, please check out our first ever YouTube video. It features our very own Jason Lisk, who will be excitedly answering your questions in the product Forum this year:

Watch The Bracket Strategy Video

If you like it, clicking that “Thumbs up” button and subscribing to the PoolGenius YouTube channel would be much appreciated. We’re about 15 years to this social media thing and we’ve got some catching up to do.

Return to Table of Contents

2. Early Predictions & Value Analysis

First, let’s go over some of the early data we’re seeing for the 2023 bracket. The primary data points used here are:

  • Round survival odds based on our adjusted team power ratings (which consider betting market odds)
  • Pick popularity data (which we compile from several of the biggest bracket pool hosting sites)

The operative word here is early. We know subscribers want to hear some thoughts on the 2023 bracket as soon as possible, but some of this data will change over the next couple days.

Only a small percentage of bracket pool players nationwide have made their picks by mid-day Monday, there are still teams facing uncertain player injury situations that will be clearer by Tuesday or Wednesday, etc.

So take this early data with a grain of salt, knowing that at least one or two impactful things might happen between now and when we generate our Official Brackets that we release on Wednesday.

Historical Champion Odds And Pick Popularity Of Tournament Favorites

The table below shows how the team we project with the top title odds in 2023 (Alabama) compares to the largest pre-tournament favorite going back to 2011.

YearFavorite% of Public Picking Team As ChampionPG Odds To Be NCAA ChampionDifference
2017N Carolina14.5%15.2%+0.7%
2011Ohio State28.2%22.0%-6.2%


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