This Week’s Betting Edge: NCAA Tournament Final Four Tip Sheet

David Schwab

Monday, March 26, 2018 2:34 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 26, 2018 2:34 PM UTC

This season’s NCAA Tournament is down to the Final Four Saturday night ahead of next Monday's championship game. Villanova and Kansas advanced from the right side of the bracket as No. 1 seeds, while No. 3 Michigan will face the upstart No. 11 Ramblers from Loyola-Chicago in the other Final Four matchup in San Antonio.

The oddsmakers over at 5Dimes have set both the betting lines and the futures odds for this season’s Final Four, and everything points towards the Big East’s Villanova Wildcats cutting down the nets as national champions for the second time in three years as +100 favorites. However, before you decide to go chalk in the final three games of another great season of college basketball there are some stats, facts and betting trends that should be factored into the equation.

No. 11 Loyola-Chicago Ramblers vs. No. 3 Michigan Wolverines

Saturday’s first Final Four matchup from the Alamodome in San Antonio tips off at 6:09 p.m. with TBS covering the national broadcast. The opening spread at 5Dimes has Michigan listed as a five-point favorite with the total set at 129.

The Ramblers’ Cinderella run as the No. 11 seed in the South Region all the way to the Final Four has captured bettors' attention with four straight-up victories as underdogs in all four contests. Playing out of the Missouri Valley Conference, their current SU winning streak stands at 14 games, and they have covered in their last six games. The total went OVER 126 points in Saturday’s 78-62 romp over Kansas State as 1.5-point underdogs after staying UNDER in their previous eight outings.

Loyola is five deep in players scoring at least 10 points per game led by junior guard Clayton Custer with 13.2 PPG. Senior guard Ben Richardson had the hot hand in Saturday’s win with game-high 23 points.

Michigan’s run to the Final Four was somewhat predictable given its form in winning the Big Ten Tournament in early March. The Wolverines have now won their last 13 games with a 10-3 record ATS. They failed to cover in Saturday’s 58-54 victory against Florida State as 4.5-point favorites and the total has stayed UNDER in three of their first four NCAA Tournament games.

Junior forward Moritz Wagner has led Michigan in both points (14.3) and rebounds (6.9) this season. He had 12 points in Saturday’s win after posting 21 points in last Thursday’s 99-72 romp over Texas A&M.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

Next Stop: San Antonio! #FinalFour Here WE Come ✌️#LetsMarchNova

— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) March 25, 2018

No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks vs. No. 1 Villanova Wildcats

Later Saturday night in a slated 8:49 p.m. tip, Villanova comes into this matchup as a five-point favorite with the total set at 155.

The Jayhawks earned the top seed in the Midwest Region after winning the Big 12 regular-season title and the conference tournament. Despite the lofty ranking, most bettors thought this was No. 2 Duke’s region to lose. The two heavyweights clashed on Sunday with Kansas walking away with an 85-81 overtime victory against the Blue Devils as three-point underdogs. The Jayhawks improved to 4-1 ATS in their last five games closing as underdogs.

Villanova was expected to win the East Region as the top seed. After winning the Big East Tournament with three double-digit victories, the Wildcats won their first four games in this tournament by a 15.3-point margin of victory. They are now 7-1 ATS in their last eight games with the total staying UNDER three of their last five games.

With six different players averaging at least 10 PPG, Villanova’s depth and experience are the main reason why it is two victories away from another national title. Junior guard Jalen Brunson has led the way all season long with 19.2 PPG while shooting 52.7 percent from the field.

Final Four Betting Tip

Loyola-Chicago has been the biggest story in this year’s NCAA Tournament and you got to give all the credit in the world to Kansas coming out on top in a tough Midwest Region. However, the reality of the situation from a betting standpoint is Michigan and Villanova playing to, and in most cases, exceeding expectations over their last four games. This is reason enough to go chalk with the favorite all the way through Monday’s title game.

Check out SBR’s college basketball odds page for updated lines. Also, head over to the March Madness Betting Headquarters for vital handicapping information, picks, and a list of the best sports books and live betting options for the tournament season.

comment here