NCAA Basketball Picks: Kentucky vs. Wisconsin in Final Four

Jeff Grant

Monday, March 31, 2014 2:35 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 31, 2014 2:35 PM UTC

The Wisconsin Badgers have played their best basketball away from home this season, which provides them value against the Kentucky Wildcats Saturday. We take an early look at the betting odds and offer our picks.

Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA Tournament odds for this Final Four matchup at AT&T Stadium, with the opening tip scheduled for 8:49 p.m. ET on TBS.


A big step
Wisconsin is set to make its first Final Four appearance since 2000, as it picked up a 64-63 overtime victory over the Arizona Wildcats as 3.5-point underdogs in the Sweet 16 last Saturday, while going UNDER the betting total of 133.

The Badgers have compiled a 16-4 SU record when playing away from the Kohl Center during the 2013-14 campaign, including an 8-1 mark on a neutral floor. 

Over the last two-plus seasons, the program is 6-2 SU and 7-1 ATS in NCAA Tournament games, with the UNDER going 5-3 in that situation.

Compare the NCAA Tournament Betting Futures as we enter the Final Four

Trending upward
Kentucky is now a legitimate contender to win it all in the futures odds, considering it has picked up wins over Kansas State, Wichita State, Louisville and Michigan to reach this stage.

The Wildcats have won 17 of 19 games in the Big Dance since head coach John Calipari arrived in Lexington.

College basketball handicappers will find that the team is 18-15 ATS versus foes with a winning record this season.


The Badgers will need another huge game from forward Frank Kaminsky in hopes of springing another upset, as he finished with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds versus the Wildcats. 

Wisconsin has the ability to spread the floor and knock down perimeter shots, which will allow Kaminsky to go to work in the paint. 

It’s important to point out that Kentucky’s defense blocks 15.2 percent of its opponents shots from the field.


A youthful look
Kaminsky deserves a lot of attention leading up to this game, but NBA scouts will be more focused on the play of Wildcats freshman forward Julius Randle, who enters with a nation-leading 24 double-doubles.

Kentucky’s consistent starting lineup of five freshmen has been Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Dakari Johnson, Randle and James Young—with the group winning 12 of 16 games when opening up on the floor.


I’m going to recommend that readers back the Badgers as one of their NCAA Tournament picks, as they’ve covered the number in 10 of their last 11 games versus non-conference opponents.

NCAA Basketball Pick:  Wisconsin Badgers +2

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