Final Four Betting

Final Four Betting

After five months of intense college basketball action, four schools are left standing to decide which one will claim the 2014-15 NCAA Championship. And all four teams are no strangers to the Final Four. Kentucky, Duke, Wisconsin, and Michigan State have reached college basketball’s greatest stage a combined 42 times in their storied histories. The Wildcats and Badgers are making back-to-back trips, while the Blue Devils and Spartans last appeared in 2010. The coaches are at the very least the most respected in the country, and the players represent some of the game’s top talents, from flashy freshman to savvy seniors. Which two teams will march on to Monday night’s Final? Here are previews and predictions for the 2015 Final Four.

(1) DUKE VS. (7) MICHIGAN STATE +5.5

A rematch from all the way back on November 18th that saw the young Devils come out on top with an 81-71 victory. Duke’s freshman firm of Okafor, Winslow, and Jones racked 49 points, and the team as a whole converted 20-26 free-throw attempts. Both teams have changed since that night. The Spartans play tighter defense and are more aggressive from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the Devils aren’t as deep, but have vastly improved their transition and half-court defense; in particular Winslow, who is one of the best two-way players in the country.

Tom Izzo will have to pick his poison: either collapse in the paint to stop Okafor, or concentrate on locking up Duke’s deadly shooters. Utah and Gonzaga chose the former to a degree of success, but neither had an answer for Winslow and Jones. The Spartans will have to contest shots and crash the defensive glass to prevent easy put-backs. Running with the Devils is not a recipe for winning, although Coach K has taught his young roster how to adapt to a slower pace. Both Duke and Michigan State are 4-0 ATS in their last four tourney tilts. Look for the Devils to sweat out a close one.

Bet Michigan State +5.5

(1) KENTUCKY VS. (1) WISCONSIN

A rematch from last year’s Final Four that saw a young Kentucky team nip Wisconsin 74-73. The unbeaten Wildcats are to no surprise much stronger in all phases than the team that lost to Connecticut in the 2014 title game. No team has the size, depth, or skill that John Calipari’s team displays. They never get too far behind and never panic in the clutch. By all rights, Notre Dame should’ve upset the ‘Cats in the Midwest Final, but the Irish flopped in the last two minutes. Kentucky comes at opponents in waves and absolutely obliterates those that can’t withstand the first ten minutes of action.

How can Wisconsin pull off what no other team has been able to accomplish? By doing what they always do: remaining patient and allowing their own potent frontcourt to make noise both in the paint and on the perimeter. Forcing Kentucky’s bigs to defend the three-point line will take them out of their comfort zone. However, for that strategy to work, Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker, and Nigel Hayes have to convert open looks as they did against Arizona. A failure to do so will lead to the ‘Cats’ superior athletes exploiting Wisconsin on the glass and in transition. The Badgers will have to be near perfect in their execution to spring the upset, but they are more than capable of learning from past mistakes. Wisconsin is 9-3-1 ATS in its last 13 tournament matchups. Kentucky is 1-4-1 ATS in its last six Big Dance battles. Never discount a Wildcats’ blowout, but the Badgers appear poised to take this one down to the wire.

Bet Wisconsin +5