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NCAAB Betting Lines: 2010 Final 4 Free Pick

NCAA Basketball Betting – Final Four Odds & Pick

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The Final Four is upon us and it’s a motley crew to say the least, with just one No. 1 seed making the cut. But can we really be surprised? We all saw the parity in college basketball entering March Madness and more than a few of us even picked West Virginia to get this far in our brackets.

The long story short is that we have to take each finalist seriously. Here’s a breakdown of their chances followed by my pick to win it all.

DUKE BLUE DEVILS

Duke odds to win: +120

Duke will get plenty of support in tournament futures betting this week because the Blue Devils are perhaps the one team that “was supposed to be here.” After all, they have three national titles and 14 other Final Four appearances to their credit.

So far, Duke has succeeded in the tournament by beating opponents on the offensive glass. But can it do so against the big, tough West Virginia Mountaineers? Duke will have to use a similar strategy to what is used to defeat Baylor. The Bears matched up similarly to West Virginia – bigger, strong defensively and more athletic – but Duke caught fire on the outside, going 11 for 23 from three-point range.

WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS

West Virginia odds to win: +225

West Virginia was expected to make noise in March Madness – many betting sharps took their college basketball tournament odds – but beating Kentucky shocked a few people (well, it shocked me). The Mountaineers’ outstanding defense bottled up the Wildcat shooters and will try to repeat the process against Duke.

A major possible hitch in WV’s plan to win it all: starting point guard Darryl Bryant’s injury. He broke his foot while practicing on March 23 and missed WV’s last two games. Sure, the Mountaineers made due without him, but sooner or later his absence will sting. He’s been fitted with a special shoe but still hasn’t returned to practice.

BUTLER BULLDOGS

Butler odds to win: +350

Butler had never even reached the Elite Eight before this season, let alone the Final Four, so some bettors worry that the Bulldogs are just “happy to be here.” Don’t be so sure. Butler has 24 straight wins. The Bulldogs bust their tails on defense to make up for their lack of size and do most of their scoring in transition. I have to think they can hold their own defensively against Michigan State considering that the Spartans are very small and Butler survived battles with big frontcourts to get this far.

MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

Michigan State odds to win: +450

Entering the tournament, all the talk around Michigan State centered on Kalin Lucas’ injury and how the Spartans wouldn’t be the same team without him. Those critics were right, in a sense; MSU looks different without Lucas – and better. They’ve seemed to come together as a team, doing great work on the glass and watching Korie Lucious do an admirable job filling in for Lucas. Given the hot play of Durrell Summers as well, the Spartans look pretty formidable entering the weekend.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN?

Butler will garner plenty of support – after all, it’s essentially playing a home game this weekend – but I like Michigan State. It has the coaching edge with Tom Izzo and, despite its lack of size, remains one of the nation’s top rebounding teams.

On the other side, look for Duke to slip past West Virginia. It already overcame a similar matchup against Baylor and it has an elite scoring presence in Jon Scheyer.

In the final, it’ll be a tossup as two coaching legends, Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski, go head-to-head. I’ll go with Duke; sooner or later, Lucas’ absence will catch up to MSU. Also, Duke arguably had a tougher road to reach the national title game (particularly by beating West Virginia in my hypothetical projection) and should be more polished.

2010 NCAA Championship Futures pick: Duke +120

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