The Final Four is just days away. As bettors our job right now is simple - we need to be looking for every possible edge that we can find to help us find the winning bets in the three remaining games on the college basketball calendar. This almost certainly isn't the Final Four that you had in your brackets before the tournament started, so we aren't working with a lot of preconceived notions about these matchups. To help us find that edge, then, let's look back at some recent Final Four betting trends for each of the remaining combatants:
The Wildcats are just a break-even betting team this year - their 19-17 ATS mark leaves loyal bettors with neither a profit nor a loss. They came into the tournament on a low note having failed to cover the spread in their last two conference tournament games and suffering a humiliating loss to Seton Hall. They shook that of admirably, though, and have covered all four tournament spreads easily - the Kansas game was the closest, and they won by five as two-point underdogs. Being stronger out of conference than in it is more than just a March trend for this team - they are 34-15-2 ATS in their last 51 nonconference games.
The only potential Final Four foe that Villanova has played this year is Oklahoma. That did not go well. The Sooners won by 23 points as five-point underdogs. That was back in early December, though, so it is tough to attach too much relevance to it here.
Villanova has been crushing totals lately - they have gone "over" the number in 10 of their last 13 games.
The Sooners have been fun to watch but far less fun to bet on. In fact, the only way to have made any money on them over the season was to bet against them - they are a dismal 14-20 ATS on the season. They have covered their last two spreads, but that hasn't washed away the stink of their previous run - they failed to cover seven straight spreads and were just 2-11 ATS in 13 games through the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament. That poor run has coincided with the rise to national prominence - beyond the serious fans and into the realm of the casual viewer - of Buddy Hield, and that is surely a contributing factor to the struggles. NCAA Tournament betting struggles are nothing new for the Sooners, though - even with the last two covers they are just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 tourney games.
Like Villanova, the only Final Four team that Oklahoma faced all year is their next opponent.
The team has been far more kind to totals bettors than to those playing sides. The "under" is 12-2 in the last 14, and they have gone under in 20 of their last 28 neutral-site games.
North Carolina Tar Heels
The Tar Heels were a slightly worse bet than the Wildcats but much better than the Sooners - at 19-18 ATS they didn't make bettors any money, but they didn't lose them much, either. They have been hot lately, though - they covered their regular-season finale against Duke, covered all three spreads en route to the ACC championship, and then have covered their last three tournament spreads after failing to cover in the opener against FGCU. That's a 7-1 ATS run in March. They are 5-0 ATS in their last five against ACC opponents and 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 neutral-site games.
As in the other series, the only Final Four opponent that they have already faced is the one they are about to face. As conference rivals they have played Syracuse twice, beating them both times but covering only once. In the most recent, on Feb. 29, they were favored by 13 but won by only five.
The Tar Heels have gone under the total in 13 of their last 18 against ACC opponents. On the other hand, they have gone over in five of their last six NCAA Tournament games, including three of four this year, and have gone over in 23 of their last 33 neutral-site games.
The Orange are, by far, the least likely of these Final Four teams. They have been the kindest to bettors, though - at 20-15 ATS they are the only team that has generated a profit for bettors who have loyally backed them. They have covered all four spreads in the tourney and had covered three of four heading in, so like North Carolina they are riding a 7-1 ATS hot streak. The game being scheduled on a Saturday is an ominous sign for them, though - they are a dismal 15-35-2 ATS in their last 52 Saturday contests.
We already covered how Syracuse was 0-2 against the Tar Heels on the season, but 1-1 ATS. They are a solid 3-1-1 ATS in their last five against North Carolina.
The Orange have gone over in four of their last five against the ACC - including their last game against Virginia - but had gone under in their four prior tournament games. The over has gone 12-4-1 in their last 17 neutral-site games.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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