The schedule for the Final Four is set, with Villanova dealing with Kansas in one semifinal on Saturday evening, with North Carolina and Duke following them up on the court in New Orleans. Kansas is the only 1-seed that made it this far, while Duke and Villanova are both 2-seeds. North Carolina, holding an 8-seed, is the closest thing to a Cinderella that this year’s Final Four has. Regardless of the storied competition between North Carolina and Duke, this is the first time the college basketball titans have matched up in the nationwide competition. Let’s consider some online wagering forecasts as you plan your Final Four wagers.
On Sunday, the Jayhawks (32-6) took Miami apart in the Midwest Area last, turning a six-point halftime deficit into a 26-point win, allowing just 15 points in the 2nd half. The Jayhawks are available as favorites to make it to Monday night’s national final. In the South Area final, the Wildcats (30-7) edged Houston, 50-44, and are still running for their 3rd national title because of 2016. The biggest issue for Villanova is the absence of starter Justin Moore, who tore an Achilles tendon in the waning minutes of that game.
This is the fourth meeting between the two programs in the NCAA tournament, with Villanova winning two of the very first three. The two teams have fulfilled eight times since 2004, with Villanova winning five times. In four video games, the Villanova defense kept Kansas from reaching the 60-point mark. In 2018 Final Four, Villanova rolled over Kansas, 95-78.
With Moore’s injury, the point spread needs to increase and jump as much as a point. When less than 5 points favor Kansas, they have won 5 of six straight up and covered four games. Overall, Kansas has won nine in-a-row directly up, covering six times. However, Villanova has a similar 9-0 straight and 6-3 ATS record in their last nine contests.
The issue that Moore’s injury represents is more considerable for Villanova than it may be for other teams because the Wildcats use simply a six-man rotation. Caleb Daniels will take Moore’s spot in the beginning lineup. Still, Chris Arcidiacono and Bryan Antoine, who play fewer than 10 minutes per game, will be asked to do more versus an experienced Kansas group.
Final Forecast: Kansas to cover and win
Duke (32-6) bounced back from losses in the regular-season ending (to North Carolina) and the ACC Tournament finals (to Virginia Tech) with four straight wins in the NCAA competition, consisting of a 78-69 win over Arkansas on Saturday. They face a Tar Heel group (28-9) that unquestionably showed Saint Peter’s the door on Sunday, winning 69-49.
Duke and North Carolina won on the other group’s home floor throughout the regular season.
This four-point spread could diminish based upon the quality of play North Carolina has revealed up until now in this competition. Duke has several motivational elements in space, such as a desire to win the title for Coach K in his last season and avenge that house loss to North Carolina.
Duke has covered 9 of 12 times under Coach K. Straight up in the national semifinal. Duke has won eight out of nine matches in the Final 4, with the most recent loss coming 18 years ago against Connecticut. As the underdog in all three cases, the Tar Heels are 9-1 straight up and 8-2 against the spread during their previous ten games, including straight-up wins over Duke, UCLA, and Baylor.
The “over” is a solid bet here. It struck when the groups were satisfied both times in the regular season, and now it sits at 151. In the two regular-season meetings, the point total was 152.5 at North Carolina and 153.5 at Duke. With both teams rolling high-octane offenses, I would consider the “over” again.
Final Forecast: Duke to win; North Carolina to cover; over the point total
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