After an exciting Elite 8, we move on to the Final Four. With only one 1-seed remaining (Kansas), there has been a lot of craziness in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Will we see more on Saturday night?
Below, I go over my best bets for both Final Four games: Kansas vs Villanova, and a marquee rivalry clash between Duke and North Carolina.
Please note that all March Madness odds are current as of Monday, March 28, at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Final Four Best Bets: Kansas vs Villanova
For the Elite 8 matchup between Houston and Villanova, I had the misfortune of having to miss watching it live because of a wedding. Don’t get me wrong, weddings are great, but watching the two most underrated teams in the country play each other would have been even better.
Houston quietly was one of the top five teams all season, but they have the misfortune of playing in a mid-major conference. Once they got to the tournament, they easily beat tough Arizona and Illinois teams.
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Shockingly, Houston lost to Villanova. It shouldn’t have been too shocking to me because like Houston, Villanova was underrated this season.
This was mostly due to their seven regular-season losses. The Wildcats were one of those teams who had the talent to be a top-10 team, but not the resume.
- Read our Kansas vs Villanova game prediction.
That all changed this for me after this win, during which they limited Houston to only 44 points.
Kansas won the Big 12, which was the toughest conference in the country this year, and they have one of the best offenses. Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, the Wildcats are a strong defensive team that plays at a slow tempo.
It will be a close game, which is why I am shocked that Kansas is favored by 4.5 points. If Villanova is ever an underdog by more than a possession this year, you should take them. Even if they play better teams like Gonzaga or Kentucky.
Kansas vs Villanova Pick: Villanova 63, Kansas 59
Best Bet: Villanova +4.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook. I would bet up to +3.
Wager: 2 Units
I like Villanova to win outright so much that I am not going to hedge my Villanova (+2500) National Champion futures any further. Nova is a better team than Kansas, which I have been saying all year.
Even though the Wildcats should win outright, the best bet is to back their spread at 4.5 points.
A slow-tempo strong defensive team like Villanova is hard to beat by five points. Kansas had a hard time putting Miami away until a dominant second half in the Elite 8.
The Jayhawks aren’t as good as they look on paper, and an assignment versus Villanova is a great spot to fade them.
Final Four Best Bets: Duke vs UNC
I’ve been telling people all season that the ACC was the most overrated conference in college basketball. Now, two ACC teams Duke and North Carolina are playing each other in the Final Four, and I look like an idiot.
Has anything happened in the tournament to make me change my mind about either team?
I have not changed my mind about North Carolina, despite its impressive tournament run.
UNC beat Baylor and UCLA in games they should have lost. The issue with Carolina is that up until the tournament they were a marginal tournament team.
- Read our Duke vs UNC game prediction.
Outside of Duke and Virginia Tech, the Tar Heels hadn’t beaten any Top 25 teams until the tournament. With only the 39th-best adjusted defensive efficiency in the country, North Carolina has no business in the Final Four this year.
Duke is Duke, so I am always suspicious that their value is inflated because they are a popular team. However, the Blue Devils played in an ACC Conference that was the weakest out of all the power conferences this season, and they had a few embarrassing losses.
What changed my opinion about Duke was their impressive tournament performance, which includes dominant wins over Texas Tech and Arkansas.
Duke will probably lose to Kansas or Villanova in the National Championship, but I am confident that they will be playing in it.
Duke vs North Carolina Pick: Duke 77, North Carolina 67
Best Bet: Duke -4.5 (+100) at PointsBet
Wager: 1.5 Units
Duke was favored by 4.5 points against Arkansas and won by nine points. The Texas Tech matchup was a tossup, and the Blue Devils won by five points.
Settling the Blue Devils as only a 4.5-point favorite against a weaker UNC team is an outrage.
If I didn’t have a Duke futures that I bet after the Texas Tech game, then I would be betting heavily on Duke to cover.
Here’s what I see happening: The Blue Devils will jump out to an early lead before trying to slow down the tempo. UNC, a significantly up-tempo team, will push the pace, but Duke will expand their lead.
Not only will Duke win; they’ll also cover.