NCAA Tournament Final Four Best Bets
Here we are, the final weekend of college basketball for the 2021-2022 season. I know it’s sad to think we are about to be out of thrilling games to enjoy for the next seven months, but let’s use this opportunity to go out with a bang and earn some more money! The Elite 8 was rough to us, with Houston’s historically bad shooting day costing us two units and the two underdogs (St. Peter’s and Arkansas) falling in uncompetitive games. Shoutout to me (sort of) however, for identifying a good total on the Arkansas-Duke game. I said anything o147 or less was good for me, but not the 147.5 total where it closed; exactly 147 points were scored so if you managed to find anything south of 147.5, you would’ve at least pushed 🤷♂️
Elite 8 Best Bets: 1-3 (-2.14 units)
All Best Bets: 11-16 (-3.3 units)
Total Elite 8 Bets: 1-4 (-3.14 units)
All Bets: 23-27-4 (-1.12 units)
Men’s Final Four
#1 Kansas -4.5 (-110) vs. #2 Villanova: Kansas was the one team I seemed to have the greatest handle on throughout this tournament; they are the only team I thought had a chance of winning the Midwest Region, and they did cruise through the region. I still have confidence in the Jayhawks, which is why I’m taking them against Villanova. It’s true the Wildcats find ways to win and that could happen here as well, but I think the injury to Justin Moore will be a crushing blow. Kansas will play for yet another national title in New Orleans.
If you can find u134 or better for the Kansas-Villanova total, I also like that. However, the line has shifted down quite a bit in recent days.
#8 North Carolina +4 (-110) vs. #2 Duke: I see value on North Carolina because Duke is being overrated. Betting on underdogs in March (now April) is a solid idea. Duke has the pressure of sending Coach K out on top now that the championship and looming retirement is in sight, as well as avenging the home finale. I get the fear that Duke is motivated and will absolutely lambast the Tar Heels, but there is also a chance the Blue Devils are overly arrogant and UNC plays loose with nothing really to lose and catches Duke off-guard, leading to a very close finish.
North Carolina-Duke u151.5 (-110): A lot of experts are playing the over and I can understand why. Both teams soared past the over in their two matchups and have been humming on offense throughout the NCAA Tournament. However, I think a total of 151.5 is just too inflated. I’m banking on the pressure of the first ever Final Four meeting between these two historic rivals leading to many bricked shots. North Carolina’s elite defensive rebounding ability will also prevent Duke from getting too many second chance points, so for the over to hit, both sides will have to make a bunch of 3s and shoot extremely efficiently. I don’t see that happening. I’m also intrigued by the first half under total of 71, but in just 20 minutes of play we’re a bit too prone to variance in a smaller sample size so I’ll probably stay away.
Kansas to win the national title (+185): I see value on Kansas to win the championship because the market is overinflated on Duke. The public is flooding towards Coach K’s storybook ending, but that is ignoring how much better Kansas has been from start to finish this season. Duke still has a suspect defense that gives up lots of easy baskets; Kansas has the best defense left in the tournament and an offense that ranks right behind Duke. Defense wins championships and that’s why I’m rolling with the Jayhawks.
Women’s Final Four
It’s also the women’s Final Four this weekend! All tournament, I’ve been placing a few bets here and there and have gone 18-9, so I’ll release my Final Four picks in addition to the men’s bets.
#1 Stanford -1 (-115) vs. #2 Connecticut: I think Stanford is the best team in the field and has been all tournament (and frankly for the last two months). Somehow, the defending champions aren’t getting much respect. Aside from the 4th quarter against Maryland, the Cardinal have dominated in the NCAA Tournament. Connecticut is in their 14th consecutive Final Four, but this Huskies team hasn’t been nearly as dominant as in previous seasons. On top of everything, Connecticut lost one of their interior presences in the Elite 8 when Dorka Juhasz went down with an injury. She won’t be available in Minneapolis, and Stanford’s bigs (Fran Belibi and Cameron Brink) will probably have a field day.
Stanford-Connecticut o128.5 (-110): These offenses are very officient; both sides have gone over this total in every tournament game except for one since the Round of 64 (where both smothered a low seed). After coming back from injury, Paige Bueckers has finally returned to the All-American level we saw last season. In a game thought to be extremely close, late game free throws will probably decide this total.
I’m tempted to also add Stanford +300 as winner of the championship because I do believe they have been the best team and they should not be behind both South Carolina and Connecticut on the futures market. However, as a Gamecocks fan, I have too much emotion tied into this bet and it may be clouding my judgment. Perhaps, South Carolina will truly be as dominant as everyone else thinks and I’m being a typical pessimistic Gamecock fan. Therefore, I’m staying away (while trying to nudge anyone reading this to consider it).
A Look Back
Finally, let’s check back in on some futures I bet and tracked in my Round of 64 post.
Houston to have more wins than Texas Tech (+165): Houston to the Elite 8, Tech only got to the Sweet 16. Cash
UCLA to have more wins than Texas Tech (+105): Both lost in the Sweet 16, so this was a push, but UCLA had the seed advantage and blew it. Oh well
Sweet 16 futures: You definitely wouldn’t have made money following every team I threw out there, but Iowa State +475 was the longest odds of the ones I liked and the Cyclones pulled through. Love to see it.
Most Region winners (Connecticut, Houston, Tennessee, Arizona, Iowa State and UCLA) crashed and burned before their value estimated, but Kansas +160 came through. Like I said, the Jayhawks were clearly the best team in the Midwest.
Name the Finalist: Kansas might get there, but Gonzaga is a no-show. RIP +1000 tickets if you had it.
Most points in the Round of 64: Timmy Allen went off for 37 points in New Mexico State’s upset of Connecticut and cashed any o32.5 tickets in the process. A fun game to watch and a fun player to hit the over.
Total wins by #5 seeds: Houston did the heavy lifting here, winning 3 of the 4 games (St. Mary’s won the other). Two 12-5 upsets doomed o6.5 from every cashing.
Will a 14 seed win a game?: Colgate gave Wisconsin a challenge, but in the end none really came close to pulling an upset. A fun +150 bet to follow that wouldn’t have panned out.
Will Automatic Bid Team Win NCAA Tournament?: We are guaranteed an automatic bid team (Kansas/Villanova) against an at-large team (Duke/North Carolina) in the championship game, so this bet is coming down to the very last game. I’m really not sure how I would feel if I had action on this and I’m glad I don’t have to sweat it out. For the record, Yes was -145 and No was +110
And that does it for my bracketology-related content this season. The stress of the final day or two before Selection Sunday led to a bit of burnout, so I may not have gotten to everything I wanted to do, but I had a lot of fun writing what I did write. Thank you to everyone who read these posts over the past month and subscribed or shared.
I’m not sure what the offseason will hold, but I will likely be tinkering with my bracketology formula to improve for next year. Unfortunately, I won’t be on the in-season Bracket Matrix next year, so it will be a bit harder for others to find this Substack. Whatever the future holds, I look forward to it and I will see y’all then.
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