Baylor led Arkansas, 81-70, in the final seconds of the Elite Eight when Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua fouled Moses Moody. The Razorbacks’ 81-percent free-throw shooter hit both free throws with nine seconds remaining, and while the meaningless points didn’t affect the spread (+8), nor the total (147.5), it did prevent Baylor from winning a fourth straight NCAA Tournament game by at least 10 points.
Baylor pounded Hartford in the First Round, built a 13-point first-half lead over Wisconsin in the Second Round before splitting in the second half, and beat Villanova by 11 in the Sweet 16. The nine-point margin of victory didn’t matter against Arkansas in clinching their first Final Four in 71 years, but a 10-point victory against Houston in Saturday’s national semifinal could matter a lot to bettors.
In eight combined games, Baylor and Gonzaga have an average margin of victory of 19.1 points, by far the highest average of any combination of Final Four teams. If you like both teams to cover but want a bigger return than +264 for a spread parlay (Baylor -5.5 and Gonzaga -14), this might be your ticket.
Instead of profiting $26.45 on a $10 favorites’ spread parlay, you can profit $31 on a $10 bet for this parlay.
UCLA covered +2.5 in an overtime win over Michigan State in the First Four and hasn’t slowed down, covering five straight spreads with five outright underdog wins. The Bruins entered the tournament 12-14 against the spread season but are now among the hottest teams in sports.
While you lose 3.5 points from UCLA’s current 14-point spread in this parlay, you gain five points with Houston and lose negligible points off the vig (+264 to +260).
Hartford’s Austin Williams hit a three-pointer to give the Hawks a 10-6 lead over Baylor six minutes into an eventual blowout loss in the First Four.
The Bears lost the race to 10 points against Hartford but won the race in two of their last other games, including a 10-2 start against Arkansas. Houston, meanwhile, is 3-1in the race to 10 points, Gonzaga is 5-0, and UCLA is 2-3.
There’s no statistical or basketball evidence to support a Gonzaga halftime deficit, therefore, similar to the 10-point race, the burden lies on the second team, Houston.
The Cougars are only +2.5 in the first-half spread, less than half the game spread. That first-half number and the greater chance of a statistical outlier occurring in a smaller sample size suggest there’s value in predicting a first-half Cougars’ lead, especially if you like them at +5.5 for the game.
Alabama and Michigan are the two best teams UCLA has played this season. The Bruins led both at halftime, during which they allowed a combined 52 points to two top-30 KenPom offenses.
It’s tricky to bet against one of the best teams in college basketball history, but that’s why you’re getting at fat number of +600.
Don’t let UCLA’s 51-point effort against Michigan cloud your judgment of the Bruins’ offense; they can score, as they showed in the first half against a dominant Alabama defense. And if they trail by double digits throughout the second half, it could be bombs away for a team that shoots 37 percent from three en route to a 70-point game.
Listen to High Motor by BetMGM for more news and analysis on college basketball, college football, and the NFL:
Place Sports Wagers at BetMGM
At BetMGM, you can bet on the NCAA Tournament, NBA, NFL, and other sports with live betting, parlays, props, and more. Regardless of your favorite sports or team, the best online sports betting experience is at BetMGM.
Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else. He has written for Sports Illustrated, HERO Sports, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter: @DoughtyBetMGM