NCAAB National Championship: Betting the Total

Doug Upstone

Monday, April 7, 2014 7:00 PM GMT

Sportsbooks sent out a total of 134 for Monday night’s title tilt and it has risen to 135 points. While this is not a significant matter, the betting pattern is.

Before this article was published, almost 75 percent of those using the total with their NCAA basketball picks were on the OVER. Before thinking this is just a reaction of the public following tradition patterns, take a step back and look at the whole picture.

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Studying the Numbers
If you take away Connecticut’s off-shooting game against Michigan State (34.7 percent), in the other four games in this tournament they are making 48.8 percent of their shot attempts. 

Kentucky has faced four very good offensive teams in making this run, defeating Wichita State, Louisville, Michigan and Wisconsin who collectively had made 49.2 percent of their hoists, yet still managed to lose by a grand total of 11 points. It would not appear to be a coincidence to any college basketball handicapper that the Wildcats have in turn played OVER the number four straight times.

Those looking at the college basketball odds might be inclined to think because of Connecticut suffocating perimeter defense, this should be a low-scoring affair and they are off two Under’s to prove their point.

Yet, in those two contests, the Huskies were playing in slower-paced games in which there were 95 and 92 total shots respectively.

For the season, the typical Kentucky contest featured 113 total shots and in spite of a more controlling environment created by coaches, the Wildcats games have still seen 106 shots put up. Connecticut contests have averaged 110 shot attempts for the season and in their first three matchups of the tourney, there were 114 shots launched (includes one OT game) towards the rim.

Follow the numbers to reach an anticipated outcome in reviewing the betting odds.

Compare the top NCAAB Championship Betting Lines

Other Factors to more Scoring
Both coaches’ styles have proven how aggressive they are. John Calipari is consistently on his young players to provide more effort and get after the opponent. Kevin Ollie in his own way is the same, always demanding his team to be the aggressor and as we have seen, each runs at every opportunity off a turnover or a long rebound, always looking for the first long outlet pass to speed up potentially easy scoring chances.

Kentucky’s old-school way of playing is beating your individual foe off the dribble in man-to-man defense and running at the rim to score or draw fouls and they have averaged this season 29 free throws per game. (Making just 20 however)

As we have seen since the middle of March, the Wildcats imposing size and quickness has led to countless slam dunks off missed shots and fast points.

Connecticut is undersized overall, but as announcer Greg Anthony pointed out, the Huskies have two point guards in Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright and both are skilled scorers on either side of the arc. As a team, the Huskies convert on 38.9 percent of their three-balls and average seven a contest and have the ability to make even more on a given night.

NCAAB National Championship: Betting the Spread

Backing Public Opinion
I think pace will dictate the potential for the total and given how each prefers to play, unless either is way off on accuracy, this should lead to a higher scoring outcome. 

With my last sports pick of the NCAA basketball season, I see a very close game that ends up either in the high 60’s or low 70’s and will play the OVER.

NCAA Basketball Free Pick – Play Over