2015 Final Four Betting Trends
by Trevor Whenham - 3/30/2015
As the Final Four draws near, bettors need to be looking for every possible edge that they can find. It is a brutally-tough and tight final grouping, and we know that the coaching will be outstanding. To try to find any edge that could exist, let's look back at some recent Final Four betting trends for each of the remaining combatants:
At 19-17 ATS, the Wildcats have been the worst betting team among those still alive in the Final Four - just a break-even proposition. Given how wildly public they have been all year, though, that is far from a surprise. They obviously didn't cover in their near loss to Notre Dame. In fact, the only tournament spread they have covered so far was in the massacre of West Virginia. They were 2-0-1 ATS in the SEC tournament, though. They are 12-4-2 ATS in their last 18 on a neutral court.
Kentucky is the lone team in the Final Four that has not already played at least two of their potential opponents this season. In fact, Kentucky hasn't played any. They are 2-1 ATS against the ACC this year, and Wisconsin will be the first Big Ten team they have faced since last year's Final Four.
The Wildcats have gone "under" the total in four of their last five games and in eight of their last 10 neutral-site games.
Wisconsin has been just slightly better than a break-even team this year for bettors - they are 20-17 ATS. They are only 2-2 ATS in the NCAA Tournament, though those covers have come in their last two games. They covered four of their last five before the tournament started, but had failed to cover four in a row before that. That means that they are just 6-7 ATS in their last 13. They are 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 NCAA Tournament games, though, and an impressive 21-7-1 ATS in their last 29 conference games. They have also covered the spread in 14 of their last 19 neutral-site games.
They have not played Kentucky since last year's Final Four - when they lost by a single point as one-point underdogs. They lost by 10 at home to Duke as four-point favorites this year, though. They faced Michigan State twice, beating them both times as favorites but going just 1-1 ATS.
Wisconsin has gone "over" the total in four of their last five games. They have gone under in nine of their last 12 against teams from the SEC.
Duke Blue Devils
Duke has been solidly profitable on the season - they are 22-14 ATS. They have covered the spread in all four of their tournament games and in eight of their last nine - the lone exception being their loss to Notre Dame in the ACC tournament. They have been favored in all but three of their games - at North Carolina, Louisville and Wisconsin - so they are no stranger to having to win by a margin. Interestingly, they won all three of those games outright, so if they were to face Kentucky as an underdog in the finals it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing from a betting perspective. They have covered the spread in their last six nonconference games and their last four against the Big Ten.
Duke hasn't played Kentucky this year, but they have played both of their potential Big Ten Final Four rivals already. They beat Michigan State by 10 as eight-point favorites on a neutral court in the third game of the season and then won by 10 at Wisconsin as four-point underdogs two weeks later.
They have gone under the total in each of their last six games and in 19 of their last 26 games played on neutral courts. They have gone over in eight of their last 11 against the Big Ten, though.
Michigan State Spartans
Duke isn't the only profitable team in this Final Four matchup - Michigan State is only slightly worse than the Blue Devils at 22-16 ATS. They have covered all four tournament games, and six of their last eight, but did not cover the spread in either of their Big Ten tournament contests. They are much more familiar than Duke with being an underdog, though their 4-4 ATS record in those games is not impressive. They did beat Virginia outright as an underdog earlier in this tournament, though. They are 5-0 ATS in their last five nonconference games. They don't like Saturdays, though - they are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven tries on that day.
Like Duke, Michigan State has played two of their potential Final Four foes already. They lost to Duke by 10 as eight-point underdogs on a neutral court. They also faced conference rivals Wisconsin twice - once in the regular season and once in the Big Ten Tournament. They lost both times, though they were 1-1 ATS as underdogs.
Michigan State has gone over the total in eight of their last 11 games overall and in five of their last six games against Duke.
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