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Top-10 Final Four bets1 April 2013
I scoured the Internet looking for interesting wagers to help that process along and didn't find much. So I settled on 6 wagers currently being offered by sportsbooks and set four lines of my own -- and picked a side on each one. The four lines I set are the fun prop bet variety, and hopefully you can get some takers at any viewing parties you have for the game. The odds setting entity is noted in brackets.
10. Wichita State (+10.5) vs. Louisville [bet365]
The Shockers remind me a lot of the great Michigan State Spartan teams that have reached the Final Four. They combine tenacious defense and outstanding rebounding with efficient offense. Unfortunately for them, they're running into the best team in the tournament -- Louisville. I think they beat either Michigan or Syracuse. But the Louisville guards are just too quick for Wichita State. They don't have the speed to hang with Peyton Siva and Russ Smith. The Shockers shouldn't feel bad though. No team has guards with enough speed to hang with Louisville. But the Shockers will defend hard. They'll rebound hard. And they'll be ready to handle the press. They won't win, but they'll keep it close. Look for a back door cover here and take the Shockers at +10.5
9. Wichita State vs. Louisville under 130.5 [bet365]
Louisville has allowed more than 65 points once in this tournament. Wichita State wants a game in the 60s, so they won't be looking to speed the tempo up. The key to this bet is how much will Louisville score. The Shockers play better defense than any team Louisville has faced so far, including Duke. And they rebound the ball extremely well, so second chances might be hard to find. A 68-59 game sounds about right. Give me the under.
8. Over 2.5 Cinderella references during Wichita State vs. Louisville [Vin]
There will be at least one in-game discussion about whether or not Wichita State is a Cinderella team. Jim Nantz will use the phrase once to introduce the topic. Clark Kellogg will probably repeat the phrase and say they're not. That gets you 2 mentions (hence the 2.5 line). I think Nantz will slip a third one in there if the game is close, so I'll take the over.
7. Peyton Siva 7/1 Most Outstanding Player [Bovada]
The Most Outstanding Player award usually goes to a player on the team that wins the championship, so I'll throw out players from Michigan, Syracuse and Wichita State. That leaves me with Russ Smith at 4/5, Peyton Siva at 7/1 and Gorgui Dieng at 15/1. Smith has been electric in this tournament, but I don't like the 4/5 price. Siva has the potential on both ends of the floor to be really noticed and he earned a reputation as an outstanding player in last year's NCAA tournament. I'll take Siva at 7/1 over Dieng at 15/1.
6. Michigan (-2.5) vs. Syracuse [bet365]
Syracuse is playing its best basketball of the season, and its opponents can't seem to figure its outstanding 2-3 zone. The Orangemen have the perfect personnel to run the zone with tall athletic players at the top of the zone to pressure guards and shot blockers at the rim. Unfortunately for Syracuse, they've run into the one team that's well prepared to handle their zone. Michigan has a bevy of athletic guards and wings who can shoot from deep and penetrate the zone. And Mitch McGary has turned into a beast down low. He can defend and finish with the best of them. He reminds of Michigan State's Draymond Green during his freshman year. Green was struggling, trying to figure out the college game. Then all of sudden, the light went on during the tournament and he was unstoppable. McGary has traveled the same route, and the Wolverines are in the Final Four as a result.
5. Under 1.5 references to Boeheim's canceled Disney World trip during Michigan vs. Syracuse [Vin]
My favorite story about Syracuse reaching the Final Four is coach Jim Boeheim had planned to fly to Disney World on Sunday. So much for confidence in his team. Nantz will mention it once for sure. The big question is whether it merit will a second mention. I'm guessing no. I'll take the under on this one.
4. Under 3.5 times Clark Kellogg calls Jim Nantz partner in the Michigan-Florida game [Vin]
This bet is usually found in drinking games. But I thought it would be fun to set a line on it. Kellogg calls Nantz partner frequently when the camera is on the announcers, so much of this depends on the flow of the game. I'll take the under on this one.
3. Michigan vs. Syracuse over 130.5 [bet365]
Michigan can flat out shoot the ball. And they are on fire in this tournament. They've scored at least 71 points in each game this tournament and have scored more than 77 points in three out of the four games. Michigan has been playing better defense of late, but it's not their strong suit, so Syracuse will have an opportunity put plenty of points on the board. Meanwhile, Syracuse is playing outstanding defense. No team has scored more than 60 against them during the tournament. That changes against Michigan. I think both teams will reach at least the 66-point mark. Give me the over.
2. Over 5.5 verbal references to Kevin Ware during Wichita State vs. Louisville [Vin]
Louisville's Kevin Ware broke his leg in a nasty, gruesome injury Sunday. Some are calling it the worst injury they've ever seen at a college basketball game. Ware is up on crutches now after undergoing surgery to repair his broken leg. And he hopes to be in Atlanta with his time on the bench when Louisville plays Wichita State. Winning a championship for Ware, or drawing inspiration from Ware's toughness and leadership is also bound to be one of the major storylines of the game. So how many times will Nantz and company reference Ware during the game? I've set the line at 5.5, which is a lot. But if he's at the game, I think the over will hit.
1. Syracuse 17/4 to win it all [Bovada]
This is all about value. I fully expect Louisville to win it all. But you're only getting 2/3 with the Cardinals. Michigan isn't much better at 3/1. Wichita State at 12/1 is too much of a long shot at that price. The best value on the board is Syracuse at 17/4. Sure, I don't expect it to happen. But it's a decent payoff for the win. Plus, it will make Casino City's Aaron Todd a very happy Syracuse fan.
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