Villanova Firepower Will Be Too Much for Michigan in NCAA Title Game

Monday, April 2, 2018 11:14 AM UTC

Monday, Apr. 2, 2018 11:14 AM UTC

Top-seeded Villanova is a 6.5-point favorite to beat three seed Michigan in the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball championship game at the Alamodome in San Antonio Monday night (9:20 ET). It’s the largest spread in the title game since 2012. Can the Wolverines pull off a shocker?

No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 1 VillanovaNCAA Championship Game, Monday, Alamodome, San Antonio, 9:20 p.m. ETFree NCAAB Pick: OverBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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The Big Ten is hoping Michigan can overcome the odds and bring home the conference’s first national title since 2000. The Wolverines, catching 6.5 points on the college basketball oddsboard, are underdogs for just the ninth time all season. Coach John Beilein’s men have covered the spread in their last six straight in this spot, winning four outright.

Michigan is looking for its second NCAA championship in program history, topping Seton Hall 80-79 in overtime as 2-point chalk in an epic 1989 final. Since, seven underdogs have upset the favorite in the title game, including three of the last four. The Wolverines' chances are long and tough. Since Villanova’s historic win over Georgetown as 8-point pups in 1985, only three schools have bettered a 6-point spread catching points and won outright: UConn in 1999 (+9.5 vs. Duke), Arizona in 1997 (+7 vs. Kentucky), and Kansas in 1988 (+8 vs. Oklahoma).

Coach Jay Wright is seeking his second national title in the last three years and third in school history (1971). Since 2011, the Wildcats are 14-5 SU and 13-6 ATS in the Big Dance, shooting a lights out 49.0 percent from the floor. Wright’s program shines in projected shootouts. It is 11-1 SU and ATS in this span when tipping off with a game total of 140 or higher, covering a -6.0 average line by 12.5 points per game. Oddsmakers opened the Michigan final at 145 points.

Since 2006, Nova is 4-1 SU and ATS against Big Ten competition on a neutral court. This includes a 60-55 win over Michigan in November 2014 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Both teams entered ranked in the AP Top 25 (Wildcats No. 11, Wolverines No. 18). The matchup was a back-and-forth, defensive slugfest. The result could have gone either way in the final minute, while the final tally came up 18.5 points shy of a 133.5 game total.

Expect a much more offensive matchup this time around. Nova is the nation’s top scoring team recording 86.8 points per game, and has punished hot defenses like Michigan all season. Versus opponents holding foes to under 46.0 percent from the floor in their last five games, the Cats are 22-2 SU and an eye-catching 19-4 ATS, putting up 87.7 points a night. In all other contests, they are 3-6 ATS, scoring 82.4 per tilt. The Wolverines are yielding a paltry 38.8 percent from the floor through five wins in the tourney.

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🎥: #FinalFour W. #LetsMarchNova #Attitude

— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) April 1, 2018

Michigan has experienced a slew of high-scoring games against efficient teams like Nova all season, particularly those that excel at cherishing possessions. The Cats’ 1.57 assist-to-turnover ratio is fifth highest nationally. The ‘over’ is 8-3 when Michigan squares off against an opponent with a 1.3 rate or better this season, surrendering 72.5 points per game on 47.9-percent shooting. A 148.3 combined score is topping a 143.0 average total with seven of the last eight exceeding the mark.

Under Beilein, Michigan has surpassed its projected team total in seven of eight games as underdogs in the NCAA tournament all-time. The margin is healthy too, going 'over' by 7.8 points per game with only one reaching overtime. Win or lose, the Wolverines will keep it competitive. They will not slow a Nova offense that just set a Final Four record by draining 18 three-pointers in its 95-79 win over Kansas. Pick ‘over’ the total for your best bet.

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.

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