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Kansas, Villanova Face Pesky Underdogs on Sweet 16 Betting Lines

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Both the Kansas Jayhawks and the Villanova Wildcats’ opponents in the Sweet 16 drag in a poor conference trend.

The Jayhawks and senior leader Devonte’ Graham are five-point betting favorites against the Clemson Tigers with a 142.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in a Midwest Region betting matchup in Omaha on Friday.

While Kansas got through the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament without being in peak form, the the OddsShark College Basketball Database shows it is 16-4 straight-up and 11-8-1 against the spread in its last 20 games as a favorite of 5.0 or fewer points. Clemson is 0-4 SU and ATS in its last four games against the Big 12, the conference Kansas has dominated for 14 years.

Although the total has gone over in three of Clemson’s last four games, it possesses strong interior defense. Kansas will try to counter that through its perimeter game and the return of seven-foot center Udoka Azubuike, who missed almost all of the last two weeks due to a knee ailment.

The Duke Blue Devils are 11.5-point favorites against the Syracuse Orange with a 133.5 total in the late Midwest Region matchup. There are strong trends on each side of this ACC matchup – for instance, Syracuse is 7-1 ATS in its last eight NCAA Tournament games, while Duke is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games against the ACC.

Both teams exhibited robust defense in the first round. Duke, with freshman Marvin Bagley leading a lineup that has five double-digit scorers, has a much better offense. Syracuse is 2-10 SU in its last 12 games as a double-digit underdog.

The Villanova Wildcats are five-point favorites on the March Madness odds against the West Virginia Mountaineers with a 152.5 total in an East Region matchup at Boston. West Virginia, which is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games against the Big East, is one of the poorest teams in the country at defending three-pointers, which is Villanova’s speciality.

The form favors Villanova, which has a 1-2 scoring punch with Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges and is 19-0 SU in its last 19 games on a Friday. The total, incidentally, exactly matches the average combined score of West Virginia’s last eight games, seven of which have finished over.

And the Purdue Boilermakers are 1.5-point favorites against the Texas Tech Red Raiders with a 137 total in the late East Region matchup. While it’s true that Texas Tech has never gone deeper than the Sweet 16, it is 8-2 SU and 7-2-1 ATS in its last 10 games and has a diverse offense built around guard Keenan Evans.

Purdue could still be without center Isaac Haas down low, but the Boilermakers, 18-3 SU in their last 21 games, are a good shooting team thanks to Carsen Edwards, Vincent Edwards and point guard Dakota Mathias. The total has gone over in six of Texas Tech’s last eight games (average combined score: 143.0). The total  has also gone over in four of Purdue’s last five games (average combined score: 143.4).

The winning teams advance to the Elite Eight on Sunday. The first two Final Four spots will be determined on Saturday, with the Kansas State Wildcats facing the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers in the South Region final in Atlanta, while the Michigan Wolverines face the Florida State Seminoles in the West Region final in Los Angeles.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

 

Villanova betting favorite against Michigan in NCAA Tournament title game

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The Villanova Wildcats and Jalen Brunson have won every one of their NCAA Tournament games this year by at least 10 points, including a matchup against a team whose defense was just as stingy as that of their Monday night opponent, the Michigan Wolverines.

The Wildcats are 6.5-point betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com against the Wolverines with a 145-point total for the NCAA Tournament championship game in San Antonio. It’s the largest line for the title game since 2010, when Duke laid seven points against Butler but only won by two.

The favored Wildcats are 8-1 straight-up in their last nine matchups against the Big Ten, the conference in which Michigan plays, while Villanova is also 10-1 against the spread in its last 11 games against Big Ten opponents.

The Wolverines are no slouches, having gone 14-0 SU and 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games, but they are the first team to reach the national final without playing any team seeded No. 5 or higher. Villanova is 9-0 SU and 8-1 ATS since March 1.

The main question with Michigan, which is 33-7 SU and 25-13-1 ATS, is whether a team from the Big Ten, whose best teams all play at a deliberate pace, can match up with Villanova, which plays at much faster tempo and leads the nation in scoring. Michigan, which is 4-27 SU in its last 31 games as an underdog of 6.5 or more, has one of the top defenses in the nation.

Villanova had a poor shooting day against Texas Tech, another strong defensive team, at the Elite Eight stage, but still won 71-59 to get the cover in that game.

The Wolverines, who are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games as the underdog according to the OddsShark College Basketball Database, aren’t super-efficient offensively but big man Moritz Wagner should be a tough check for the Wildcats.

Villanova, 35-4 SU and 26-12-1 ATS, might face some challenges with getting their trademark plethora of clean looks from the three-point line. Michigan has kept 12 of its last 14 opponents below their average number of attempted threes.

However, the Wildcats, who are 5-0 ATS in their last five games as a favorite, boast shooters who are big men – 6-foot-9 Omari Spellman, 6-9 Eric Paschall and 6-7 Mikal Bridges – that can find space to fire away, plus Brunson thrives at pulling defenders out of position.

While preparing for a John Beilein-coached Michigan team in fewer than 48 hours isn’t easy, Villanova is 3-1 SU in its last four games with one day off between games. The total has gone under in Michigan’s last six games with one day off between games. The total has gone over in 14 of Villanova’s last 18 games with a closing total of 145.0 or more.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Jayhawks, Ramblers take strong underdog betting trends into Final Four

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Whether it’s Devonte’ Graham or Malik Newman taking the lead offensively, the Kansas Jayhawks have been a solid cover when they get points from oddsmakers.

Both Final Four betting matchups have the same line, with the Villanova Wildcats set as five-point favorites against Kansas with a 154.5-point total, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, in their national semifinal that takes place at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Saturday.

Kansas is 8-2 both straight-up and against the spread in its last 10 games as the underdog, according to the OddsShark College Basketball Database. However, Villanova is also 8-2 SU and 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games as a favorite of 5.0 or fewer points.

Kansas, 31-7 SU and 20-17 ATS on the season, has been stress-tested by a tough Big 12 conference and a march through the Midwest Region that included wresting an overtime win against Duke in the Elite Eight. Taking the Jayhawks entails expecting their hot shooting and the interior work of center Udoka Azubuike to override a mark of 4-10 ATS in its last 14 games against the Big East.

Villanova, 34-4 SU and 25-12-1 ATS and the favorite on the odds to win the NCAA Tournament, led the nation in scoring and point guard Jalen Brunson commands an offense that is lethal from almost all points within and beyond the three-point line. The main concern might be whether shooting guard Mikal Bridges bounces back from failing to hit a three-pointer in the Wildcats’ Elite Eight win against Texas Tech, but Texas Tech grades out much higher defensively than Kansas.

The teams’ last three matchups have gone under. However, the total has gone over in Kansas’ last three games with an average combined score of 161.33. The total has also gone over in 14 of Villanova’s last 19 games, with an average of 157.11.

In the early semifinal, the Michigan Wolverines are five-point favorites on the Final Four odds against the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers with a 129.5-point total. As the line suggests, it’s expected to be a grind. Between Loyola-Chicago being on an 8-0 ATS streak in its last eight games as the underdog and Michigan being 10-0 SU and 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games as a favorite, something will have to give.

Loyola-Chicago, 32-5 SU and 25-10 ATS, is just the fourth No. 11 seed to make the Final Four. The previous three teams each lost in the semifinal. The decision to take Loyola should be pegged to whether one believes it can keep up its high shooting percentages – 52.5 percent overall, 41.7 percent on threes – against Michigan’s defense, which is allowing only 64 points per game in the tournament. The Ramblers and point guard Clayton Custer space the floor very well, though, and that will give Michigan some tough looks.

Michigan is 32-7 and 24-13-1 ATS against a schedule that is rated as much more challenging than the Ramblers’ docket. The Wolverines, who are 7-0 SU and 5-2 ATS in their last seven matchups as a favorite of 5.0 or less, will try to use their edge in size – here one thinks of center Moritz Wagner, forward Duncan Robinson and guard Charles Matthews – to get Loyola-Chicago into matchup problems and wear the Ramblers down.

Michigan is the only team in San Antonio not among the top six in the country in effective field goal percentage – it’s 47th, in fact – but they have a greater margin of error than Loyola-Chicago.

The total has gone under in eight of Loyola-Chicago’s last nine games, with an average of 124.67. Michigan can get out in transition when it needs to and the total has gone over in five of their last seven games on a Saturday.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.