Final Four Totals Betting Trends
by Aaron Smith - 3/30/2010
It has been a couple of crazy weeks of basketball, which is exactly what one would expect from March Madness. If you have even two of your teams left on your bracket, then you have done a brilliant job in a year where upsets have turned the college basketball tournament upside down. Now that we have the Final Four all set, I wanted to take a close look at totals trends for each of the teams in the Final Four. It’s time to try to find an edge over the rest of the betting world when it comes to the Final Four posted totals!
- Duke- The Duke Blue Devils are now considered the favorite to win the NCAA Tournament. Duke has being given odds of about 7/5 on all the major sportsbooks. Over the entire season, the ‘under’ is 22-15 in Duke’s contests. The ‘under’ is also 4-1 in their last five overall and 19-7 in their last 26 games at a neutral court. If you’ve watched Duke play much at all, you know that this team can play effectively at both a quick tempo and a slow tempo, which I believe is one of the main reasons they are the favorite at this point. Duke guards the three point line better than anyone in the country, allowing opponents to shoot just 27.8 percent from distance.
- West Virginia- West Virginia got to the Final Four by taking down the Wildcats of Kentucky in one of the strangest college basketball games you’ll ever see. The Mountaineers typically don’t shoot well from the three point line, but they definitely did last Saturday. In their last eight games, the ‘under’ is 7-1. The one game that went ‘over’ was the Kentucky game last Saturday. The Mountaineers were a bit weak in the backcourt to start with, and with Truck Bryant’s status for Saturday unclear, they will almost certainly want to keep their matchup with Duke at a slow pace.
- Butler- The Bulldogs will be the toast of the town in Indianapolis this weekend. They are definitely a terrific underdog story. Butler’s stingy defense is the reason they are still in this tournament. Butler is ranked sixth in the nation in defensive efficiency. If you have watched any of their games lately, you know that they make the other team work extremely hard for a shot. In their last three games, the final totals have been 119, 122, and 106 points. The ‘under’ is 8-1 in Butler’s last nine games overall. Gordon Hayward and the Bulldogs have offensive talent, but their pride in playing defense should continue to be evident this coming weekend.
- Michigan State- The Michigan State Spartans are probably the most difficult team to figure out from a totals perspective in this year’s Final Four. Michigan State is without their leader, Kalin Lucas, but they have still been mostly pushing the tempo. Korie Lucious is a speedster at the point guard position, and all of the Spartans big men can run the floor extremely well. The ‘over’ is 6-2 in Michigan State’s last eight games at a neutral site. The Spartans are the top ranked defensive rebounding team in the nation, so don’t expect many second chances for their opponents. Michigan State can certainly play a slow tempo effectively, but the guess here is they would like to try to push the tempo as much as possible because of their athleticism.
How have the trends gone in recent Final Four games? In the last three years, the ‘over’ is 5-4 in the Final Four and NCAA Championship games. Lucas Oil Stadium will host the Final Four for the first time ever this year, so expect the awkward shooting backdrops to play a role in these matchups. Currently, the posted total for the Duke and West Virginia matchup is set at 131 points. This total actually opened at 136 points, but has quickly been bet down to 131. The posted total for the Butler and Michigan State meeting is set at 126 points. Clearly, the oddsmakers have already accounted for many of the trends that point toward the ‘under’ in both of these games. The Final Four is without a team that will light up the scoreboard, so those who appreciate tough defense should be happy. Keep all of these totals trends in mind when you bet on the Final Four this weekend!
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