The men's college basketball national championship game features an unlikely matchup between the No. 5 seed San Diego State Aztecs and No. 4 seed UConn Huskies. Read on for our San Diego State vs. UConn prediction based on the top NCAAB odds.
San Diego State (32-6) looks to become the first team from the western United States to win a national championship since Arizona did it in 1997. Its 14-point comeback victory against Florida Atlantic was the third-largest in men’s national semifinal history.
Meanwhile, UConn (30-8) is the first team since Kentucky in 1996 to win its Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games by 20-plus points. According to ESPN Stats & Info, UConn is the sixth team to enter the national championship after winning each tournament game by double-digits. Four of the previous five won the national title.
Here is our best San Diego State vs. UConn prediction (odds via BetRivers; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
History is working against the Aztecs in this matchup. According to ESPN Stats & Info, this was the third time in the previous 70 years that three teams were making their Final Four debuts, but none of those teams cut down the nets. Meanwhile, UConn is 4-0 in national championships, and the Huskies are 15-0 straight-up and 14-1 against the spread against non-conference opponents this year. However, those trends are why UConn will be a heavily backed team on Monday, and we love being on the contrarian side.
Check out our top San Diego State vs. UConn player prop bets
Further influencing the general public’s thoughts on this game is that UConn never trailed in its dominant victory over Miami. At the same time, San Diego State didn't lead against FAU from the 7:26 mark in the first half until Lamont Butler’s buzzer-beater with no time remaining (the first buzzer-beater in a Final Four game when the player's team was trailing before the shot, per Sportsnet Stats).
However, unlike other teams that have wilted when UConn has raced out to a big lead, San Diego State entered Saturday's action with the third-best record in Division I (7-2) when trailing at halftime, and it has now won six consecutive games when trailing at the half. That speaks to the Aztecs’ composure and experience, as they are the 21st-most-experienced team and ranked 40th in minutes continuity from a year ago (UConn ranks 113th and 248th in those categories, respectively).
UConn may not have lost a game outside of the Big East this year, but San Diego State is built like a Big East team with its toughness and physicality, which the Huskies’ last two opponents (Miami and Gonzaga) did not have. The Aztecs are playing on Monday largely because of their 3-point defense, holding opponents to just 25-of-116 (21.6%) from beyond the arc. Their length and ability to defend the perimeter will be key against a Huskies team that has made nine-plus 3-pointers in each of the first five tournament games.
Miami had a chance to make the game closer against UConn if not for shooting 8-of-23 at the rim. Though much of the credit goes to the interior defense of Huskies centers Adama Sanogo and Donovan Clingan, San Diego State’s offense is not built to attack the rim with as much regularity, as it is more than happy to shoot mid-range jumpers (top 15 mid-range shot rate, per ShotQuality). In addition, the Aztecs are 22-0 when allowing less than 65 points, which physical teams like Providence, Creighton, and Seton Hall have done to the Huskies in conference play.
Most of our top sportsbooks are offering the point spread at -7.5, but we were able to grab a better line at BetRivers. We don't mind paying the slightly extra -115 in juice for another half-point worth of insurance.
We were anticipating most books moving to -8 or higher, but the spread appears to be dropping.
Shortly after UConn’s victory over Miami, several sportsbooks like DraftKings opened at Huskies -6. However, within an hour, most had increased to at least -7 after an early influx of money came in on the favorites. The consensus spread remains at UConn -7 as of Monday evening with a modest 52% of wager backing the favorite.
The consensus opening total of 132 also did not last long, either, as most sports betting sites have lowered to 131.5 or 131. However, unlike the point spread, that is a case of reverse line movement, as 68% of all wagers have backed the Over.
Date: Monday, April 3, 9:20 p.m. ET
Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
San Diego State-UConn pick made 4/2/2023 at 7:58 a.m. ET.
Here are our best March Madness betting sites:
- FanDuel: No Sweat First Bet Up to $1,000 | Read our FanDuel Review
- Caesars: Earn Up to a $1,250 Bet Credit | Read our Caesars Review
- DraftKings: Bet $5, Get $150 in Bonus Bets | Read our DraftKings Review
- PointsBet: Earn Five Second-Chance Bets Up to $50 Each | Read our PointsBet Review
- BetMGM: Get a Bonus Bet of Up to $1,000 | Read our BetMGM Review
(21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER)
* Bonuses not applicable in Ontario.