Final Four Betting Trends To Consider

Jay Pryce

Thursday, March 30, 2017 1:26 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 30, 2017 1:26 PM UTC

We’ve queried all the Final Four matchups over the last decade, including the title games, in search of any noteworthy trends prior to the 2017 National Semifinals on Saturday, April 1. Here’s what we uncovered

Keep It Simple with Point Differentials

One of the most effective ways to handicap the Final Four over the last decade is to back the team entering with a higher average margin of victory on the season. One can bypass strength of schedule measures, luck probabilities, offensive and defensive efficiencies, and the like. Teams reaching the national semifinals earned it, and those winning games by more on average, tend to rise up in the clutch. Teams with a greater season scoring margin than their opponents are 23-7 SU and 20-9-1 ATS since 2007. Gonzaga leads the pack in this year’s Final Four with a 22.3 differential, inflated some by playing in the weaker West Coast Conference. North Carolina ranks second of the bunch at 14.4 points. Oregon, meanwhile, carries a 13.5 difference into the weekend, while South Carolina, which suffered 10 losses on the year, owns the smallest margin at 8.3.

 Betting Favorite Trend Points To Heavy Chalk Advancing

Since 2007, favorites are 19-11 SU and 15-14-1 ATS in the Final Four. They are winning by 5.1 points per game, going off -4.1 chalk on average. Outright wins obviously occur at a higher rate when favored by more points, and the key number here tends to fall at -3. Teams laying more than a trey are 12-3 SU and 9-6 ATS in this span. Not the best news for the Gamecocks or Ducks. South Carolina opened a 6.5-point underdog versus the Zags with the line pushing -7 at a few books just days out from tip. Oregon, meanwhile, cracked the board with a 4.5-point handicap versus the Tar Heels. Most books adjusted to -5 in favor of the Tar Heels midweek.

 Underdogs on Covers Streak Tend To Eclipse Total

South Carolina is the only team remaining with a perfect 4-0 ATS record in the 2017 NCAA Men’s Tournament. Recent trends suggest leaning the OVER in its tussle with Gonzaga. Underdogs with a 4-game or better ATS streak in Final Four play are 10-5 O/U in the last decade. Faltering defense is mainly to blame. Favorites have surpassed their projected team total in nine of the contests by 6.6 points per game. Moreover, three of the UNDERs hit in the four games underdogs won outright, including Duke over Wisconsin (68-63, +1) in 2015, and UConn’s remarkable 2014 run with upsets over Florida (63-53, +7) and Kentucky (60-54, +2). The Gamecocks have progressed this far with a smothering defense. It will have to be firing on all cylinders for the upset here. If not, don't be shocked to see the Zags put up a big number.

comment here