#Betting101: Villanova in the Final Four Driver’s Seat

Jason Lake

Monday, March 26, 2018 11:34 AM UTC

Monday, Mar. 26, 2018 11:34 AM UTC

The Villanova Wildcats have done everything right so far. But will they continue to beat the NCAAB odds Saturday when they face the Kansas Jayhawks in the Final Four?

Final FourFree NCAAB Pick: Villanova -4.5Best Line Offered: Intertops

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On the surface, March Madness looks even crazier than usual. There have been upsets throughout the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, including the No. 16 UMBC Retrievers knocking out the No. 1 overall Virginia Cavaliers, 74-54 as 20.5-point underdogs. Great googly-moogly.

Don’t be fooled. This is the time of year where savvy bettors make a mint fading the big-name teams; we started strong here at the ranch, at the expense of the No. 4 Arizona Wildcats and the No. 3 Michigan State Spartans. Then we got paid again when the No. 5 Kentucky Wildcats (–5) lost 61-58 to the No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats in the Sweet 16. It isn’t all about the fades, though. For good measure, the under-appreciated No. 1 Villanova Wildcats have covered four straight times en route to the Final Four. Can they keep up the cashflow with just three games left to put in our college basketball picks?

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#FinalFour Opening Odds

Michigan -5.5 vs Loyola Chicago 128.5
Villanova -4.5 vs Kansas 155.5

💰 #NCAAB Betting Headquarters: https://t.co/Jc1t9hWYys
Brought to you by @Intertops 💸💸💸 pic.twitter.com/jyDz9hTkFv

— SBR Sports Picks (@SBRSportsPicks) March 25, 2018
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No-Chalk Jayhawk

First, let’s talk about the “other” semifinal game this Saturday (6:09 p.m. ET, TBS) between the No. 11 Loyola-Chicago Ramblers and the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines. The Ramblers opened as 5.5-point puppies on the NCAAB odds board, and according to our consensus reports they’ve got about two-thirds of bettors on their side. Seems legit; FiveThirtyEight likes Michigan to win 69 percent of the time, which works out to –5.5 using the NBA numbers at Wizard of Odds as a rough guide. Nice – but not a lot of betting value on either side.

Let’s look instead at Saturday’s featured game in San Antonio. Villanova is going to play the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks, who needed overtime to get past the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils (–3.5) 85-81 in the Elite Eight. Tip-off is at 8:49 p.m. Eastern on TBS. We’ve been looking sideways at Kansas (31-7 SU, 20-16-1 ATS) for the most part. They’ve been squeaking by at the Tournament, losing twice ATS, and they haven’t performed nearly as well as the Wildcats (34-4 SU, 26-12 ATS) this year. Ken Pomeroy has almost a 9-point difference per 100 possessions between the two teams on neutral ground, according to his Adjusted Efficiency Margin numbers. They’ll get in about 70 possessions on Saturday, so let’s see... carry the one... call it Villanova –6.5.

As you can see, the Wildcats have opened significantly smaller at –4.5. That’s closer to the difference in Simple Rating System between the two teams over at Sports Reference, but we’ll go ahead and recommend Villanova anyway – and may the sphere be with you.

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