Time: Monday, April 2nd, 2018 9:25 PM ET
Where: San Antonio, TX
by Keith, Professional College Hoops Handicapper, Predictem
Point Spread: Villanova -6.5
Total Line: 144.5 (Over +120)
In this marquee championship game, Villanova opened as a 5.5-point favorite. Thanks to action that has come in on the Wildcats, we have seen the market rise by a full point. In Over/Under markets, the forecast is for this one to be a higher-scoring affair marked by an opening number of 147. Action on the Under has reduced this market by 2.5 points. We must note that to entice action on the Over, and the market is currently offering the Over at +120. On the Money Line, the Wolverines are a +255 underdog while the Wildcats are a heavy chalk favorite at -310.
The National Championship Game is finally upon us, and the contest is a savory one. The Villanova Wildcats and the Michigan Wolverines will meet in San Antonio, TX on Monday, April 2nd, 2018 at 9:25 PM ET. The fixture televised for national audiences on TBS. The two teams have encountered each other before in 2014 where Nova edged out Michigan by a score of 60-55. Michigan enters into this affair as a number three seed complemented by an impressive win against this tournament’s Cinderella team, Loyola-Chicago. Previous to this, the Wolverines had dominated to every opponent they have played in this tournament. The same superlatives can be issued to the Wildcats. Villanova took it to the Kansas Jayhawks in their Final Four meeting. The final tally was 95-79, and the result in itself is going to raise many eyebrows.
There are many key trends we have been keeping an eye on in this game. As we witnessed in the Final Four, the trends are in the area of both teams recent successes. First, Villanova is 8-1 ATS in their last nine matches. Moreover, Villanova is 10-1 SU in their last eleven games. In Over/Under markets, the Over is 15-5 ATS in Villanovas last twenty matches. Michigan has gone 7-2-1 ATS in their last ten contests. The Maize and Blue come in on a fourteen-game winning streak.
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There are many selling points to the Maize and Blue. Most notably, the dominant Michigan defense has literally carved a way for this outfit to navigate through this tournament with ease. The Wolverines have won no game by less than 12 points, including a sample which features the Ramblers as mentioned above, Texas A&M, Houston, and Montana.
Villanova continues to have plenty of appeal in this contest because they have been a juggernaut. The recent thumping of Kansas only adds to that mystique. The Wildcats smallest margin of victory like their counterparts in this tournament is twelve points. Additionally, Villanova continues to be a cash cow in this tournament which is not a frequency of top-seeds, as they tend to be overvalued egregiously.
From a public money perspective, we have seen a significant lean by the consensus on the Wildcats. 67% of the consensus also like the Wildcats. Outside of this, we have little analytical data to report, but behavior in many forums would imply that Villanova will be taking a heap of steam.
There is an old saying, offense wins games, but defense wins championships. The Maize and Blue embody this principle. Michigan’s defense is downright salty. However, Villanova will be a popular commodity here because they have had recent accolades in this tournament. After all, just two years ago they cut down the nets and ended a long championship drought. When you combine this narrative with the fact Nova has looked so pristine, the Wolverines appear to have no business playing in this game. However, Michigan has the offensive strategy that will keep them hanging around in this game. Michigan is effective from beyond the arc and when you couple that with some stingy D, they can certainly come in under this number let alone win outright.
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