2018 Final Four Betting Trends
And then there were four. There were 68 teams that set out with dreams of winning a national title. Some of those dreams were obviously more realistic than others, but after just two weekends, 64 have gone home to sulk. The fanbases of the remaining teams are ecstatic, but there is still work left to do - one more prize to claim, one more net to cut down, and two more games to win. And for bettors, this bizarre endurance test of a tournament still has three more handicapping challenges for us to deal with. Three more games for us to solve. And to help you handicap each, here are some Final Four betting trends for each of the remaining teams.
Interestingly, the team deemed most likely to wind up here at the start of the tournament has also enjoyed the easiest path of any team that has made it this far - by several statistical measures.
Not only does Villanova come in with a nation's-best 34 wins, but their impressive 26-12 ATS mark is better than all but one other team in the country - and we'll look at that team soon. They have been a prominent team all year, with expectations that have always been significant - they were sixth in the preseason AP poll - so to have an ATS record this good when they can't sneak up on anyone tells you that this is a very solid team.
Gonzaga also came into the Final Four as the second-most-profitable team in the country last year, but they had limped down the stretch. Not Villanova - they have covered the spread in all four tournament games and in seven of their last eight games overall.
The team has been useful on the total, too, going "over" 25 times against just 13 "unders". They were most dominant at home, where they were 11-2 on the over. In the tournament, though, their performances have been split - they have gone over in the first games of both weekends but then under in the second.
The good news is that the Jayhawks have been profitable on the season. The bad news is that if you had bet them to cover every game that 20-16-1 ATS mark isn't making you rich unless you really bet a lot per game.
They covered all three spreads en route to the Big 12 Tournament title and then opened the NCAA Tournament with a cover against Penn but then failed to cover the next two before beating Duke as 3.5-point underdogs despite being the higher seed. So, in total they are 5-2 ATS in this already-successful postseason.
The team hasn't been particularly useful for totals bettors of any kind - they have gone over 19 times and under 17 with a push. They have gone over in their last three and five of their last six, though - though they didn't go over in regulation against Duke.
The Wolverines and their school-record 32 wins are another team that has been very kind to bettors - their 23-12-2 ATS mark is fifth-best in the country. They are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven after earning a push against Florida State. That push is a big reason why so many people were so frustrated that Leonard Hamilton's team didn't foul with 10 seconds left. The team is 10-2-1 ATS since the start of their current 13-game winning streak, so they certainly warmed up late.
That success hasn't translated to totals. At 16-19-2 on the season they haven't been particularly useful to bettors who favor the over or the under. They have gone under in three of four in the tournament - which is not surprising at all if you have witnessed the glacial tempo they have employed for every game besides the Texas A&M blowout.
And we saved the best for last - the surprising (but not quite as surprising if you had been paying attention to mid-majors all season) Ramblers are not only a Final Four team as a No. 11 seed, but they are also the most profitable team in the country with a 23-9-1 ATS record as they have played through a 32-win season. They have not only covered all four tournament spreads despite winning only one game by daylight, but they covered their last two conference tournament spreads as well. Their win streak is the only one longer than Michigan's, and in those 14 games without a loss they have a sweet 11-3 ATS mark. Of note, they have been an underdog in all four tournament games, while no other Final Four squad has been an underdog even once. They will be an underdog against Michigan as well, but early betting action has been hitting the lovable Ramblers hard.
The Ramblers have been kind to under bettors as well, going under in 20 of 33 games to date. They had gone under in eight straight games before going over by 14 points against Kansas State in the Elite Eight.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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