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Final Four Trends Worth Your Consideration

April 1, 2017

A great and effective way of handicapping the Final Four the past decade is take the team with the higher margin of victory on average for the season. Strength of schedule, efficiencies of offense and defense, luck probabilities and more can all be set aside.

Teams that reach the Final Four earned their place and those that won games by a higher margin tend to come up big in the clutch. In the Final Four dating back to 2007, the teams with a higher winning scoring margin than that of their opponents are 23-7 straight up and 20-9-1 against the spread.

Leading the Final Four this season in point differential is Gonzaga with an average winning margin of 22.3 points, which was inflated somewhat due to playing in the West Coast Conference hence weaker overall opponents.

Second in the group of four is North Carolina with an average margin of victory of 14.4 points. At the same time, Oregon has a difference of 13.5 and South Carolina is just 8.3 on the season.

Another trend to watch is betting the favorite. Dating back to 2007, favorites have a record of 19-11 SU and 15-14-1 ATS in national semifinal games.

It is important to note that teams that lay 3 points or more as chalk are 12-3 SU while 9-6 ATS over that same period. That does not bode well for Oregon or South Carolina on Saturday.

The Gamecocks are 6.5-point dogs against Gonzaga and Oregon is a 5-point dog in its game against North Carolina.

In the Final Four, the dogs that are on a streak of covering the number, usually cash OVER. South Carolina is the sole team left with a perfect record of 4-0 ATS during the year’s tournament.

A recent trend suggests that the OVER will cash in South Carolina’s Final Four game against Gonzaga. Dogs that have a 4-game or more streak ATS entering the Final Four have cashed OVER in 10 of 15 games fitting that category.

Much of that is due to defense giving up big points as the favorites have scored above their projected total in points in 9 of the 15 games over that span. Over that period, the dogs won four games outright and in three of the four, the UNDER cashed.

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