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Betting Against the Spread: Best Bets for NCAA Tournament Final Four


Before we break down the Final Four, I just want to thank Syracuse for this run the Orange have made. I'm a proud alumnus of the school and couldn't be more proud of what this team has been able to do. The year featured a loss to St. John's, but also a big victory at Duke during the regular season. Now, No. 10 Syracuse gets fellow ACC member No. 1 North Carolina while No. 2-seeds Oklahoma and Villanova will face off in the other Final Four pairing on Saturday.

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​Villanova vs. Oklahoma (Saturday, 6:09 p.m. ET on TBS)

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Oklahoma looked awfully impressive in its Elite Eight win over Oregon, but I'm concerned a bit with the reliance of the jump shot for the Sooners. There's no doubt that Buddy Hield is the best player on the court for this one, but the better team may be from Philadelphia. Kris Jenkins has been a revelation for the Wildcats, which were able to conquer their past ghosts of not being able to advance deep into the NCAA Tournament. Villanova is 12-4 ATS in non-conference games this season while Oklahoma is 10-18 ATS against teams with a winning record. I actually think the under may be the better play although it'll be tough to watch. The Sooners have gone under in 17 of their last 25 neutral court games. PREDICTION: Villanova 73-68

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Syracuse vs. North Carolina (Saturday, 8:48 p.m. ET on TBS)

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This is the third matchup between the two ACC schools. Game one was notable because it was in Syracuse and it was the return of Jim Boeheim to the sidelines after his suspension. That was a 33-33 contest before the Tar Heels ran away in the second half on their way to an 84-73 road win. The second matchup took place in Chapel Hill and was a 75-70 Carolina victory. The Heels won both games despite making a total of nine three-pointers. I've said before that North Carolina is most talented team left and when the Tar Heels are focused on the defensive end, no one was going to touch them. It is so hard to figure out what is going to happen with this Syracuse squad that is playing with a ton of house money. You try to bury the Orange early and they still come back late, as shown in the Gonzaga and Virginia victories. I can see two scenarios where they run out of pixie dust and get blown away or they lose a heartbreaker because Carolina's shooters go cold. The Orange have allowed around 56 points per game in this Tournament. I think the under might be the best play here too. PREDICTION: North Carolina 68-62

With regards to a lot of the props that surround the Final Four, I don't think there is a lot of value unless you believe in the Sooners. You can get Oklahoma for around 7/2 in some places to win it all. Along those same lines, Buddy Hield is 4/1 to be named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. Kris Jenkins of Villanova is 12/1 to be the MOP and I can see a scenario where the Wildcats win the national championship and he's the reason why. For the most part though, I'd stick to just the games.

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.

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