The Final Four Betting Preview

by WagerHome Blog on March 30, 2023

Major League Baseball opens up this weekend, but with all due respect to America’s pastime, America’s passion for the NCAA Tournament gets top billing on Saturday, and then again on Monday.

This isn’t the Final Four anyone expected, and it may not be the Final Four television executives were hoping for. But this is the Final Four we deserve. It has so many great storylines, and the best betting of the college basketball season.

Florida Atlantic vs. San Diego State (-2)

Naturally, the biggest day of the college basketball calendar tips off with Conference USA taking on the Mountain West Conference. This is a matchup you might expect to see in an early November third-tier tournament in Akron, Ohio. Instead, we have two teams making their first-ever visit to the Final Four, and one team that will play for its first-ever National Championship.

FAU is only making its second-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. SDSU on the other hand, has been to 10 of the last 13 NCAA Tournaments, and it’s worth remembering that in 2020 they were 30-2 when the Tournament was canceled because of COVID.

Adam Seiko and Nathan Mensah were on that 2020 team, and along with Darrion Trammell, Lamont Butler, and Matt Bradley, this team has talent. They were good enough to knock off the No. 1 team in the nation, Alabama, and they have now won 30 games for the third time in program history.

The Owls are a great three-point shooting team and they have now won 35 of 38 games this season, easily the best year in program history. But history also says that seeds No 9 and lower don’t get past the semifinals, and history will hold true here. The Aztecs defense will be too much for FAU, and they will cover the modest spread.

Miami vs. Connecticut (-5.5)

Miami comes into its first-ever Final Four with one of the best offensive teams in the country, and the best offense of the four remaining teams. So if they can just get past UConn, they would likely be the favorite in Monday’s National Championship game.

They beat No. 4 Indiana, 85-69, No. Houston 89-75, and No. 2 Texas 88-81, and another game into the high-80s should be enough to get it done against the Huskies.

Final Four

Connecticut, however, is one of the best No. 4 seeds we’ve seen in recent years. The selection committee got their seeding wrong, as we’ve seen the past four games. UConn’s average margin of victory is 23 points, and in their win over Gonzaga, it wasn’t even that close. This team is good, they are experienced, and they are the favorites to cut down the nets on Monday for a reason.

Miami may keep it interesting in the first half, but UConn will cover in the end.

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WagerHome BlogThe Final Four Betting Preview

Final Four Betting Odds

by WagerHome Blog on March 28, 2023

You did not predict this Final Four, the experts didn’t predict this Final Four, because no one could have predicted this Final Four.

Three of the four teams playing this weekend in Houston have never been here before. The four coaches in the Final Four have never won a championship. Forget about all the talk of blue bloods. This is new blood, and it’s setting us up for a wild and unpredictable weekend of college basketball.

Connecticut Huskies (-125)

The one team that has been here before is Connecticut, and they are naturally the favorites to win it all. UConn has four National Championships to their credit, with the most recent win coming in 2014. This visit to Houston is their sixth Final Four appearance in school history.

Final Four

The Huskies have won each of their four games in the NCAA Tournament by 15 points, and they are the first team to win its Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games by at least 20 points since Kentucky in 1996.

San Diego State Aztecs (+400)

While the Aztecs have never been to the Final Four before, they aren’t a pushover. They are champions of the Mountain West Conference, and they have been to the NCAA Tournament in three straight years. This year’s success is unprecedented, but the team as a whole is quite good.

San Diego State is here on the back of a great defense that handled No. 1 ranked Alabama, forcing 14 turnovers and holding the Crimson Tide to 17 points below their season average.

Miami Hurricanes (+450)

Miami was in the Elite Eight just 12 months ago before losing to eventual National Champion Kansas. And this year they are making their first trip to the Final Four. With seven wins in their last eight NCAA Tournament Games, they are the most successful collection of players of the four teams left standing.

Miami beat No. 1 seed Houston in the Sweet 16, and then ousted No. 2 Texas in the Elite Eight, so they might not be the most popular team in town this weekend.

Florida Atlantic Owls (+625)

Like San Diego State and Miami, Florida Atlantic is a conference champion. They won both the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles after being picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll. This is the first Final Four appearance in school history, and just the second NCAA Tournament appearance in 30 seasons at Division I.

The Owls’ path to Houston was opened up when Fairleigh Dickinson knocked out Purdue. But FAU did have to take out Memphis, Tennessee, and Kansas State, and on the back of some great three-point shooting. Their 9.6 made three-pointers a game is 12th best in the nation.

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WagerHome BlogFinal Four Betting Odds

NCAA Final Four Betting Picks

by WagerHome Blog on April 1, 2021

It’s been an unusual NCAA Tournament, with the entire thing taking place in Indiana. But it has also been a fantastic NCAA Tournament, and now we’re down to the Final Four.

There was the single COVID-19 incident that resulted in VCU having to forfeit its first-round game with Oregon, but otherwise, we made it to the Final Four without any other hiccups and with a lot of great basketball.

Baylor Bears (-5.0) vs. Houston Cougars

As crazy as the Midwest Region got, with No. 1 Illinois falling to Loyola Chicago, No. 11 Syracuse marching to the Sweet 16, and No. 12 Oregon State going all the way to the Elite Eight, one of the pre-tournament favorites in Houston advanced to the Final Four.

The road to Houston’s first Final Four since 1984 and the days of Phi Slama Jama and Akeem Olajuwon (Hakeem since 1991) has not been terribly challenging. They are the first Final Four team to ever advance that far by only playing double-digit seeds.

That changes when they face the top seed in the South, Baylor, which is making its first Final Four appearance since 1950, when the tournament had just eight teams.

Baylor was knocked off its stride when it was forced to miss three weeks during the season because of COVID-19 protocols. But the top three-point shooting team in the country looks like its old 17-0 self and rolls into the final weekend with 26 wins, the second-most in the country.

Houston dominates the offensive glass in this one and keeps it close, but ultimately the Bears are too much. Baylor wins; Houston covers.

Gonzaga Bulldogs (-13.5) vs. UCLA Bruins

From the First Four to the Final Four has been the road for the UCLA Bruins. Unlike the other three teams in Indianapolis this weekend, the Bruins are regulars in the Final Four, with this being their 19th appearance.

ncaa final four

UCLA likes to slow the pace and bore you into a loss, which is exactly how they knocked off the East’s top seed, Michigan, to get here and set up the improbable matchup with the nation’s No. 1 team Gonzaga.

The Bulldogs have been a team of destiny all season long. Not only have they not lost a single game all year, but they have won their last 27 games by double digits.

Not surprisingly, that is an NCAA Division I record. Here in the NCAA Tournament, Gonzaga’s wins have been by 43, 16, 18, and 19.

It’s hard to imagine a program in search of its first-ever national championship being this big of a favorite against a program with 11 national championships, but there aren’t many teams like this year’s Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Bulldogs win big, cover the spread, and roll into Monday’s final game.

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WagerHome BlogNCAA Final Four Betting Picks