The oddsmakers got it right.
Before the Big Dance even began almost three weeks ago, Bovada pegged Villanova (+450) as the favorites to win the NCAA men’s basketball championship.
After five dominant victories from the first round to the Final Four, the Wildcats (now -290) are the biggest favorites to win the national title since 2010. Villanova is picked to beat Michigan on Monday night by seven points, the same amount Duke was pegged to beat Butler eight years ago. The Blue Devils won that game 61-59.
In the national semifinals on Saturday night, the Wolverines rallied from a sloppy first half to eliminate the Ramblers from Loyola-Chicago 69-57, while the Wildcats blasted the Jayhawks from Kansas from the opening tipoff 95-79.
This is Michigan’s first trip to the final since 2013. Villanova last won the national championship in 2016.
The Wildcats have won all five tournament games by double digits — 26, 23, 12,12, 16 — for an average margin of victory of 17.8 points.
The Wolverines, who trailed the Ramblers by seven at halftime, have won by a total of 58 points or 11.6 points per game, including a miraculous three-pointer at the buzzer in the second round just to stay alive.
Villanova hasn’t needed any miracles in the 2018 tournament. Junior point guard Jalen Brunson and his deep, well-balanced supporting cast have made sure of that.
All five starters scored in double digits against Kansas, while Donte DiVincenzo added 15 points off the bench. The Wildcats shot 45 per cent from the three-point line which means, inside and out, there’s just not a weakness in this attack.
The Wolverines, who won back-to-back games in early March over ranked teams Michigan State and Purdue on their way to the Big Ten championship, will have to play a perfect game to upset the Wildcats.
If they shoot 25 per cent from the three-point line like they did on Saturday, this game will be over in a hurry.
VGB’s pick — Villanova (-290), Over (145)
Tournament Finalists By The Numbers
- Michigan (33-7) has won 14 consecutive games. The Big Ten champs have not lost since Feb. 6 at Northwestern. Villanova (35-4) has won 10 straight games. The Big East champs have not lost since Feb. 14 at Providence.
- Michigan started the tournament at +1000 to take the title. The Wolverines remain huge underdogs at +245. Villanova was the pick to win it all before March Madness began at +450. The Wildcats are now overwhelming favorites at -290.
- There was no line in Michigan’s first win of the year. In the team’s other 39 games, the Wolverines went 25-13-1 against the spread. The Wildcats were 26-12-1 ATS this season.
- Michigan is 1-5 all-time in the national final. The Wolverines captured their one and only title in 1989. Villanova is 2-1 in the final. The Wildcats won two years ago and in 1985 as the highest seed (No. 8) to ever win the tournament.
Alternative Betting Lines Alter The Game
While the Westgate is often the destination of hard-core sports bettors in Las Vegas, there are some other fantastic viewing choices to watch the championship on the Strip — like the newly renovated Wynn and the unique stadium seating at the Palazzo.
These online destinations will offer the money line, point spread and over/under bets, but there are many other alternatives to consider for players.
Which team will score first? How about the first team to reach 10 points? These are just a few of the alternative betting lines you can select.
Let’s say you’re a die-hard Michigan fan and you think the Wolverines are not only going to win the game, but it’s going to be a blowout. An alternative betting line will pay off handsomely if you’re right.