NCAA Basketball Betting – Final Four Odds & Pick
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Remember when we labelled the Final Four a “motley crew” last year, shocked to see Butler make the cut? This year’s group makes last year’s quartet look like a group of basketball legends. We have a 3, 4, 8 and 11 seed this time around. Who has the inside track to win it all?
Kentucky odds to win national title: +130
It’s the attack of the freshmen! John Calipari’s crew had modest expectations this season, which was very understandable considering they saw three stars bolt for the NBA draft. But the new recruits – Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb – quickly made an impact and have been very impressive learning on the job during this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Kentucky got a big scare early against Princeton, winning by just two points, and the freshman trio was totally shut down. Knight’s only two points, however, came just in time to win the game; the Wildcats haven’t looked back since then. Knight in particular looks more poised by the minute.
Connecticut odds to win national title: +230
Connecticut has been an interesting story to watch in March Madness for several reasons. It was a team on a mission in the Big East tourney, winning five games in five days and showcasing Kemba Walker as a dominant.
However, Walker’s dominance was also viewed by pessimists as an extreme over-reliance on Walker. UConn was supposed to be a one-man team. However, now that his teammate, Jeremy Lamb, has elevated his game, bettors aren’t so sure if that statement is true about the Huskies anymore.
Butler odds to win national title: +370
You’d think that Butler would be the favorite considering it’s the only returning member of the 2010 Final Four. Maybe the oddsmakers have soured on the Bulldogs because it feels like they shouldn’t even be here (read: the incident at the end of the Pittsburgh game).
Arguably, the Bulldogs have looked the least impressive of the 2011 Final Four throughout the tournament. Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack, their go-to scorers, have been inconsistent.
VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH RAMS
VCU odds to win national title: +485
Crazy that Butler is a No. 8 seed and isn’t the Cinderella team of this Final Four. VCU has been something special. It’s not like they’ve been squeaking by on one miracle victory after another. These guys had little trouble with Purdue and, more impressively, seemed in complete control throughout their win over top-seeded Kansas.
Jamie Skeen came through with the 26-point, 10-rebound effort when it mattered most against the Jayhawks. But many people feel guard Joey Rodriguez is the heart and soul of this team. He had double-digit assist totals against Purdue and Florida State.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN
VCU is a team of destiny but the Rams’ season is already an immense success. I think the run will end without a national title. Butler seems too mistake-prone.
To me, the winner of the Kentucky/UConn game will take the cake. Kentucky has the depth. But Connecticut has the seemingly unstoppable player in Walker. If the Huskies overcame potential fatigue and survived the early part of the tournament, I think the worst is over. They’re my pick to win it all.
2011 NCAA Championship futures pick: Connecticut +230