NCAA Men's Final Four: Best Bets


UCONN and Purdue are two of the biggest favorites in Final Four history. As the two dominant forces in college basketball this season, the Huskies and Boilermakers appear to be on a collision course in Monday night's national title game. Alabama and NC State want to scuttle those plans.

The game and player markets are closed for both semi-final games. Let's dive into each game and find a few plays.

Saturday, April 6, 2024 at 6:09 p.m. on TBS
Location: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ

11-NC State (+350) vs. 1-Purdue (-450)

Distribution: Boilermaker -9.5 | O/U: 145.5

It's amusing to listen to those who still believe that Zach Edey is anything but a fantastic college basketball player. When you combine his team dominance with Purdue's efficiency from beyond the arc, it's no surprise that the Boilermaker's are in the Final Four.

Wolfpack DJ Burns Jr. was in the spotlight as the darling of the NCAA Tournament. However, in order for his smiling face and fun-loving attitude to be seen on television across America, Burns and his frontcourt mates Mohamed Diarra and Ben Middlebrooks will have to somehow slow Edey down. Burns has the weight, but not the size. Diarra has the size but not the mass, and Middlebrooks has the size and mass but not the skill. However, they offer 15 fouls on defense as well as three bodies to attack the Purdue pivot on offense.

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You can make a case for the Wolfpack to disrupt Edey and defend the perimeter early, but can they maintain the high level of play defensively while attacking on offense and scoring enough points to pull off the upset? I doubt it.

Purdue has been one of the top two teams all season and the books and I believe they will meet UCONN for the national championship.

So let's take a look at a few pieces we like with the Boilermakers. Zach Edey's worst statistical game in the tournament was 23 points and 14 rebounds. These are the worst numbers he has put up in these two weeks. Previously we played his points and rebounds separately, but since he may be spending the day at the free throw line, we'll play Edey's points + rebounds OVER 40.5. An interesting trick is Edey's assists if you can find them. A solid look if 2.5 or less.

Braden Smith OVER 6.5 assists is worth a spread, as is the OVER market for his points, which is set at 11.5.

If I were to win anything with State it would be Michael O'Connell with OVER 3.5 assists.

Saturday, April 6, 2024 at 8:49 p.m. ET on TBSSite: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ

4-Alabama (+525) vs. 1-UCONN (-750)

Spread: Huskies -11.5 | O/U: 160.5

As previously mentioned, UCONN is scheduled for Championship Monday. They didn't shoot the ball well and yet they not only covered every game, but also eliminated every opponent in the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

Bama's path to victory is narrow. They need to shoot at a high rate from distance for 40 minutes and also get Donovan Clingan into early foul trouble. I could imagine the latter, but when you're playing in a cavernous football stadium it's difficult to rely on shooting from distance.

Speaking of shooting, it's scary considering UCONN hasn't shot well yet in this tournament and yet they've been torturing their opponents game after game. We ran the entire tournament with UCONN coverage at halftime and throughout the game. We were not given any reason to leave the train. The Huskies -6.5 after 20 minutes and -11.5 for the entire 40 minutes. I would also suggest a spread on UCONN's overall team score of OVER 86.5 points.

We also consistently OVERplayed Tristan Newton's points and assists. The assists have redeemed every game. The points weren't enough in the last game. Donovan Clingan is the talk of the town after a game-changing performance against Illinois. This game has been less favorable for us the last few games as he has fallen short by 0.5 rebounds each time.

Let's stick with Newton's assist total of 5.5, but let's mix it up from there. Let's go back to the Cam Spencer game and get the OVER for his total score of 15.5. And since this game probably offers a lot of pace, we'll get Stephon Castle with OVER 11.5 points. If UCONN wants to reach the OVER in its overall team standings, numerous players will need to fill out the scoring list for Danny Hurley.

Enjoy the Final Four and grab some tickets.