Early Final Four Sharp Report for Houston-Baylor and UCLA-Gonzaga

March 31, 2021 05:27 AM

The Elite 8 is over and now we're on to the Final Four. On Tuesday, we saw dogs and favorites go 1-1 ATS, with Gonzaga (-8.5) winning and covering 85-66 over USC and then UCLA (+ 6.5) upsetting Michigan 51-49. Unders continued their hot streak, going a perfect 2-0. Heading into the Final Four, unders are now 36-24 (60%) in the NCAA Tournament. 

Here are the updated NCAA Championship odds via BetMGM

Gonzaga -225

Baylor + 375

Houston + 600

UCLA + 2500

Here are the exact matchup odds for the championship game

Gonzaga vs Baylor -160

Gonzaga vs Houston + 200

UCLA vs Baylor + 1000

UCLA vs Houston + 1800

Here are the Most Outstanding Player odds

Timme + 300

Kispert + 400

Suggs + 450

Butler + 600

Teague + 900

Mitchell + 900

Grime + 1000

Ayayi + 1400

Jarreau + 2000

Bettors will have to wait until Saturday for the Final Four, but until then we have 10 NBA games and 6 NHL games to choose from on Wednesday. For an updated breakdown of Wednesday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 12:30 p.m. ET. I'll also be co-hosting Betting Across America with Mike Pritchard from 3 p.m. ET to 5 p.m. ET to go over all of today's action in greater depth.

Let's take an early look at the Final Four lines in preparation for Saturday's big doubleheader...

Saturday 5:14 p.m. ET: Houston vs Baylor

This heavyweight battle between Texas teams features 2-seed Houston (28-3) against 1-seed Baylor (26-2). Houston has taken care of business against four double-digit seeds in the NCAA Tournament, beating 15-seed Cleveland State 87-56, 10-seed Rutgers 63-60, 11-seed Syracuse 62-46 and 12-seed Oregon State 67-61. Houston was favored in all four games and went 2-2 ATS. Now they face powerhouse Baylor, who has beaten 16-seed Hartford 79-55, 9-seed Wisconsin 76-63, 5-seed Villanova 62-51 and 3-seeed Arkansas 81-72. The Bears were favored in all four games and went 3-1 ATS. This line opened with Baylor listed as a 5-point favorite. So far the line hasn't budged off the opener. The next move will be meaningful. If we see it fall to 4.5 that will indicate some respected Houston money coming in. If it rises to 5.5, that could signal wiseguy money backing Baylor. However, one thing we do know is that Houston offers a distinct Ken Pom edge. Ken Pom has Baylor winning by just one point (72-71), which provides actionable value on Houston at the current number. March Madness short dogs (+ 5 or less) are 13-7 ATS (65%) this NCAA Tournament. When the line stays the same or moves toward the dog those teams are 19-13 ATS (59%). Houston also has value as a slow paced dog (24-20 ATS, 55%). We've also seen some under money show up, dropping the total from 136 to 135. March Madness unders that stay the same or fall are 26-17 (60%) this NCAA Tournament. 

8:34 p.m. ET: UCLA vs Gonzaga

This primetime showdown features a David vs Goliath matchup between 11-seed UCLA (22-9) and 1-seed Gonzaga (30-0). UCLA is the Cinderella of the NCAA Tournament and the highest remaining seed left in the Final Four. The Bruins are also the only 5-0 team in March Madness, winning their First Four game over 11-seed Michigan State 86-80, then beating 6-seed BYU 73-62, 14-seed Abilene Christian 67-47 before upsetting 2-seed Alabama 88-78 and 1-seed Michigan 51-49. Now they have their toughest challenge yet in Gonzaga, who is only two wins away from the first undefeated champion season since the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers, led by Bobby Knight. Gonzaga is a perfect 4-0 ATS in the NCAA Tournament, covering all favorite spreads they've had to lay. Gonzaga crushed 16-seed Norfolk State 98-55, then brushed aside 8-seed Oklahoma 87-71, 5-seed Creighton 83-65 and 6-seed USC 85-66. This line opened with Gonzaga listed as a 13.5-point favorite. Early money has laid the points with Gonzaga, driving the line up from -13.5 to -14. Some shops are juicing up the -14 to -115, signaling a possible further jump up to 14.5. Ken Pom has Gonzaga winning by 12 points (83-71), which provides a slight edge to UCLA at the current number. If you like UCLA here, you may want to wait it out and let the public move this number to as high as it will go, then look to buy-low on an inflated line (maybe + 15 or more). The total is 146. When the total is 140 or more, the under is 17-9 (65.4%) this NCAA Tournament. 

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