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Final Four Preview – Trends & Picks

April 5, 2024
Uconn Final Four Picks

We have arrived at another Final Four. It’s an interesting cast of characters. A defending champion, two No. 1 seeds, a Final Four first-timer, and the sixth-ever No. 11 seed make up the 2024 Final Four. What will transpire? Will Final Four trends play a role in the outcomes?

There are a number of historical trends to consider before betting on this year’s Final Four. We’ll take a look at those trends as well as our picks for the 2024 Final Four.


Final Four Favorites

Heading into this Saturday’s games, tournament overall No. 1 seed UConn is now a 12-point favorite over Alabama in one semi-final game. Purdue, also a No. 1 seed, is approaching double digits. The Boilermakers are a 9-point favorite over No. 11 seed North Carolina State. More on the Wolfpack later, but now let’s focus on UConn.

Over the past 60 years, 12 teams have closed as higher than an 11-point favorite in the Final Four. Eight of those 12 teams were UCLA during its run of national titles from 1967 to 1973. Only two Final Four games have ever closed with higher point spreads.

In the 1996 national championship game, Kentucky was a 14-point favorite against Syracuse. In 2021, Gonzaga was also a 14-point favorite in a semifinal against UCLA. Both Kentucky and Gonzaga won their games, but each failed to cover.

So far this tournament, UConn has been favored by a combined 74 points through four games. The 1999 Duke Blue Devils had the highest combined total for an NCAA tournament. In Duke’s six games, Duke was favored by a combined 124.5 points.

UConn’s Impressive Run

UConn is 35-3 this season and they have one of the best cover percentages in the country at 68.4 percent (26-12 ATS). The Huskies have covered in five straight games, including all four tournament games. Three of their tournament games thus far have had double-digit point spreads.

UConn has won and covered 10 straight NCAA tournament games. If they win and cover these final two games, they would become the first team in NCAAB history to go 12-0 SU and ATS. Eight teams have gone 6-0 SU and ATS and won a national championship. UConn’s 2014 team is one of them. Villanova’s 1985, 2016 and 2018 teams are three others.

Since 2009, UConn is 26-6 ATS in tournament games. The Huskies are 5-0 SU and ATS in national championship games and 10-1 SU and 9-2 ATS in Final Four games. UConn head coach Dan Hurley is now 12-3 ATS in the NCAA tournament.

UConn & Non-conference Opponents

Over the course of the last two seasons, UConn has played 32 games against teams outside of the Big East. Ten of those, of course, were NCAA tournament games. In those 32 games, UConn is 31-1 SU and 27-5 ATS. The only straight-up loss was to a then-No. 5-ranked Kansas team earlier this season.

In those 32 games, there have been 21 in which Connecticut was favored and the point spread was -20 or less. The Huskies record in those 21 games? 20-1 SU and ATS.

Back the Pack?

NC State Final Four predictionsThe NC State Wolfpack had 14 losses before entering the ACC tournament. They still have 14 losses. That’s the most losses of any team that has ever played in a Final Four. NC State actually trailed Louisville 46-45 at the half of their first ACC tournament game. The Wolfpack have won nine straight since.

If you were a $100 bettor and had backed the Pack since that first conference tournament game, you’d be up $1,849. What’s interesting is that the last team to win five conference tournament games in five days was…wait for it…2011 UConn. That Huskies team went 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS on its way to a national championship.

Only four teams in history have entered March Madness with odds above 20-1 and won a championship. In even more irony, 1983’s Survive-and-Advance NC State Wolfpack was one. The 2011 and 2014 UConn Huskies are two others.


Final Four Picks

NC STATE vs. PURDUE (PUR -9, 146)
OVER 146

The Wolfpack will try and keep that Cinderella slipper on as they take on red-hot Purdue. National player of the year candidate Zach Edey is averaging 30 points and 15 rebounds in the NCAA tournament. He has been virtually unstoppable. But, it’s been the guard play that has really made a difference this season.

Purdue basketball final four 2024Remember, last year Purdue was eliminated in Round 1 of the tournament by No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson. Improvements at guard – Lance Jones, Fletcher Loyer, and Braden Smith – have taken Purdue to new heights. The Boilermakers are 33-4 SU this year, 10-1 SU at neutral sites and 8-2-1 ATS in those games. They have covered all four tournament games rather easily.

NC State is also 4-0 SU and ATS in its tournament games. In addition, the Wolfpack won and covered all five of their ACC tournament games, making them 9-0 SU and ATS over their last nine. They have wins over North Carolina, Duke (twice), and Marquette. DJ Burns is a load, but he’ll meet his match in Edey, who holds a six-inch height advantage.

The 9-point spread makes this difficult, but you can count on one thing. Purdue is going to push the pace. Oakland pushed NC State to overtime playing its up-tempo style. The Boilermakers average 83.8 points a game. They shot 55 percent from the floor or better in two of their four tournament games so far. The Wolfpack will be forced to match Purdue’s pace in an effort to keep this one close. That will push this total Over. Both teams trend Over for the season. NC State has an O/U record of 22-16-2 and Purdue’s is 23-14. Bet the OVER now at


ALABAMA vs. UCONN (UCONN -12, 160)

It’s a huge number, especially for a game of this magnitude. UConn will cover it though and here’s why. Alabama has shot a ridiculous 42 percent from three-point range in the tournament. Their opponents have only managed to shoot 28 percent from deep. The Tide’s opponents have also shot just 68 percent from the free throw line thus far.

UConn hasn’t really played all that well either. They have shot poorly from behind the arc. Against Northwestern, UConn went 3-for-22. The Huskies won by 27. They shot 3-for-17 from deep against a pretty good Illinois team. UConn won that game by 25.

Since UConn hasn’t been hitting threes, they are averaging over 50 paint points per tournament game. The defense has been outstanding too. The Huskies have allowed 52, 58, 52, and 52 points in their tournament games. Alabama does present an up-tempo offense, but can they maintain the long-range shooting? And then, there is the Bama defense. It ranks 356th in the nation in points allowed per game (81.1 ppg).

It’s a large number, but UConn, which has yet to play a complete game, has the ability to defend Alabama. They also have the ability to score more than the 81.2 points per game they have averaged during the tournament thus far. And, don’t forget…UConn is 26-6 ATS since 2009 in the tournament and they’ve covered by double digits in 14 of those games. Bet this pick at and get a 100% bonus now.





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