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March Madness 2018: Final Four Odds And Betting Preview

ACC(12 Titles) @ Pac-12(15 Titles)

  • Where: Alamodome. San Antonio, TX
  • When: March 31, 2018 6:09 pm EST
  • Moneyline: Villanova (+145), Kansas (+185), Michigan (+250), Loyola Chicago (+900)

Welcome to Mobile Sports Betting’s preview of the 2018 Final Four in San Antonio, Texas. Click here for analysis, individual-game and futures odds, and MSB’s picks to reach the NCAA Championship clash at Alamodome on April 2nd. Will the trend of upsets continue, or can the tourney’s remaining favorites dominate the Big Dance in Mission City?

Update 4/2: It’s Michigan vs Villanova in the final! Click here for MSB’s NCAA Tournament Championship Game preview and a near-lock winner.

From 3/20:

 

With the Final Four getting ready to tip off in San Antonio, here’s a look at MSB’s rundown of Villanova, Kansas, Michigan, and Loyola Chicago.

 Is Villanova the total package?

It helps when a squad plays on the east coast and is always in prime-time everywhere. But Villanova’s wins (and sparing losses) on TV have betrayed few weaknesses. Our best method of determining an upset special in the March Madness bracket is to look at the high seed’s schedule and identify which type of team can exploit their deficiencies.

Regretfully for schools like Texas Tech and Florida, there has been no single formula for beating the Wildcats in 2018.

Butler beat Villanova at its own game in a 101-93 mid-season thriller, out-defending and out-hustling the ‘Cats for the winning buckets. But the prospect of scoring 100 points on a long, intense half-court team like Jay Wright’s in the NCAA tourney is a long shot.

‘Nova would later lose to 3 lunch-bucket teams: Providence, Creighton and St. Joseph’s. During the same period of time, though, the Wildcats whipped highly-ranked conference opponents like Xavier.

If there’s one chink in the armor, it’s a lack of intensity and sharpness on the court when Villanova takes another school too lightly.

Update 3/26

West Virginia took the court with a vengeance, elbowing and shoving Wildcat players on the way to the bench before the opening tip-off. But it was all for show. Brunson scored 27 points as Villanova won by double-digits over WVU.

The ‘Cats then defeated Texas Tech in the Elite Eight with a dominating physical performance, drawing a ton of fouls and scoring 29 points on free throws. Omari Spellman scored only 11 points, but gave Villanova momentum with a great shot-block followed by a full-court sprint and a dunk early in the 2nd half.

Not the Fab Five but pretty darn fab

Heres how MSB looked at Michigan as the Wolverines began play in the Sweet Sixteen:

Michigan’s Moritz Wagner is a tremendous power forward with great size and leaping ability, but he’s the only guy on the roster who can deal with Williams on the glass while also contributing in other areas.

7’1″ sophomore center Jon Teske is a spot-player who is used as a defensive specialist.

Wagner can hit from downtown, but the rest of the Wolverines tend to miss shots from time to time. Whenever that happens, A&M could simply gobble up the ball. But Providence also showed that quickness and ball-movement can be effective against the half-court Aggie defense, and Michigan has those qualities in spades.

Update 3/26 

The Wolverines clobbered Texas A&M so badly that the Aggies were accused of not playing hard. But to prove that the effort was no fluke, Michigan followed-up with a shut-down defensive performance against Florida State, winning 58-54 and qualifying for the Alamodome.

Stars from the Sunflower State

The Kansas Jayhawks are as star-studded and dynamic as usual. Bill Self has groomed an experienced backcourt that includes senior Devonte’ Graham, an versatile shooter and passer, and classmate Svi Mykhailiuk, a powerful player from the Ukraine who is popping 3s at a rate of 45% in his final season.

Kansas traveled to West Virginia and beat the Mountaineers in January, then overpowered Bob Huggins’ team again 32 days later.

Update 3/26

Kansas out-lasted Clemson 80-76 to reach the Elite Eight. But what really turned heads in the basketball community was the Jayhawks’ big-time win over Duke on Sunday 3/25. Greyson Allen displayed his newfound maturity by coming up with a clutch drive and basket to send the contest into OT. But KU standout Malik Newman put on an all-time legendary performance in overtime, scoring all 13 points for the East Region’s 1st seed as Kansas triumphed 85-81.

Final Four Cinderella: 11th seed Loyola-Chicago

Click here to bet on the NCAA Tournament at Bovada Sportsbook.

The Ramblers are another low seed with a big heart, and have given the 2018 NCAA Tournament its most adorable off-court story with the spirited fandom of wheelchair-bound Sister Jean. But there’s been nothing cute, sweet or funny about the fierce battles on the court.

Loyola needed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from sharp-shooter Donte Ingram to beat Miami in the opening game, then somehow eliminated the Tennessee Volunteers – who MSB touted as a Final Four contender – 63-62.

Update 3/26

The Ramblers beat Nevada 69-68 in a dramatic contest, giving fans and bettors reason to think that the 11th seed had hold of some type of black magic…or at least one heck of a blessing from their beloved nun. But in the Elite Eight, Loyola led almost the whole way against Kansas State, senior guard Ben Richardson scoring 23 points in a 78-62 rout of KSU.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.


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