March Madness continues Saturday as the top college basketball teams in the country hit New Orleans for the Final Four. We setup the first game on the card between Louisville and top seeded Kentucky, looking to improve on our 5-2 ATS record in tournament betting
Winners of the Big East championship, Louisville is making its first appearance in the Final Four since 2005. Their 50-44 SU/ATS win over Cincinnati set a record for the lowest scoring final in Big East history and through the first four games of the NCAA tournament; the Cardinals have kept the trend alive.
Louisville fought its way out of the West with 1 over and 3 unders, extending their March Over/Under record to 4 overs, 15 unders and 1 push since 2009. The low scoring games have slowed down the total for today’s game and as of early Saturday, most online sportsbooks show a 1.5 point decrease from the opening line of 138.5.
Current NCAA odds show a total of 137 with Kentucky listed as a 9-point favorite. The Wildcats have covered three in row and are winning straight-up by an average of 12 points per game with the same formula they’ve used all season. Louisville is going to need to play an almost perfect game to pull an upset and it will come down the Cardinals defense.
If Louisville can mix coverages, force Kentucky into difficult shooting situations early and haul in their share of defensive rebounds, the Cardinals gameplan should keep the score within single digits. Louisville ranked seventh overall this season with an average of 8.9 turnovers and they have played their share of close games. Getting plus-9 points or more, we have a strong lean to the dog but our official play is on the total.
On a neutral court with a total between 130 and 139.5, Kentucky has played 1 over and 9 unders the past two years and this season alone, regardless of location, they show 4 overs, 14 unders and a push in that range.
– Since 1997, Louisville and Kentucky have combined to play 3 overs and 11 unders
Coach Rick Pitino (44-13 SU, 33-21-3 ATS) and Kentucky HC John Calipari (36-13 SU, 26-22-1 ATS) have impressive March Madness betting resumes and these teams met on New Year’s Eve (69-62 Wildcats win), so the strategy will play a big role. When facing common opponents this season, the two teams combined for an average of 134.5 total points per game and with the recent history on our side, betting under looks like the value play in this contest.
Pick: Take the Under