NCAA championship poll: Villanova overwhelming pick to win

By Matt Youmans  (VSiN senior editor) 

April 2, 2018 12:07 PM
Led by point guard Jalen Brunson, Villanova is 5-0 against the spread in the NCAA Tournament.
© USA Today Sports Images

Villanova has been college basketball’s best and most consistent team all season, and point guard Jalen Brunson might represent the Wildcats’ biggest edge in the NCAA championship game against Michigan.

Jay Wright has a high-powered offense and is favored to win his second title in three years. John Beilein is coaching in this game for the second time for the Wolverines, but Big Ten teams are 0-6 in the title game since 2002.

At the South Point sports book, Villanova is laying 7 points and the total is 145½.

In a prediction poll of Vegas Stats & Information Network hosts, Las Vegas bookmakers and professional handicappers, the Wildcats are the straight-up pick by 18 of 20 panelists, and 10 of 20 are betting on Villanova (5-0 against the spread in the tournament) to cover the number.

Chris Andrews, South Point sports book director: Villanova, 77-65

All year I’ve said Villanova is the best team, so no sense backing off now.

Dave Cokin, ESPN Radio 1100: Villanova, 78-70

The Wildcats were the best team in the country before the tournament and they have done nothing to alter that opinion.

Todd Dewey, Las Vegas Review-Journal: Villanova, 78-72

Michigan has Mo Wagner, but Villanova has more of everything else.

Chuck Esposito, Sunset Station sports book director: Michigan, 76-75

The Wolverines find a way to get it done with defense.

Paul Howard, VSIN: Villanova, 75-67

Nova has been the best team all season — they are the Warriors of college basketball — big runs and deep 3s with six scoring options. Michigan has struggled offensively, with the Texas A&M game the exception.

Scott Kellen, professional handicapper: Villanova, 75-67

Villanova has been my No. 1-rated team all tournament with value on them in each game, and this is no different as my numbers favor them by eight and a lean to the under. 

Aaron Kessler, Golden Nugget sports book manager: Villanova, 81-69

Nova will be too much to handle for the Wolverines.

Jay Kornegay, Westgate sports book director: Villanova, 75-70

Everyone knows Nova looked unbeatable Saturday by hitting all of those 3s. Michigan will be better prepared to defend the 3 and keep this one close to the end.

Vinny Magliulo, Gaughan Gaming, VSIN: Villanova, 82-70

The 'Cats perimeter game is firing on all cylinders. They join the Eagles as champs in Philly. 

Mitch Moss, VSIN: Villanova, 75-71

Michigan’s defense will make it much more difficult on Villanova from downtown, but Jay Wright's crew will still have too much for the Wolverines.

Brent Musburger, VSIN: Villanova, 76-68

Nova covers but the Michigan D keeps the total under.

Sam Panayotovich, VSIN: Michigan, 75-73

Long live the Long Bar.

Greg Peterson, VSIN: Villanova, 77-68

Villanova's offense is better than Michigan's defense, and the Wolverines will also be hurt by their free-throw shooting.

Scott Spreitzer, professional handicapper: Villanova, 77-68

Michigan can't count on the Wildcats having trouble in the categories that doomed Loyola-Chicago (3-point shooting and turnovers), which is where Villanova's big-game experience becomes a factor.

Paul Stone, professional handicapper: Villanova, 72-70

The Wildcats looked almost invincible against Kansas, but Mo Wagner and Michigan will keep it closer than many expect.

Dave Tuley, VSIN: Villanova, 76-73

Not sure I'll even bet this as I see Michigan as a small lean with the points, plus only a small lean on the over (maybe a small Michigan/Over parlay).

Jonathan Von Tobel, VSIN: Villanova, 71-63

Michigan won’t get away with a poor shooting night and slow start against this team like it has in four of the five tournament victories thus far.

Robert Walker, US Fantasy Sports: Villanova, 73-70

While Villanova looked unreal Saturday, I think this game goes down to the wire, and the Wildcats win in a classic final.

Kenny White, Don Best Sports: Villanova, 73-68

Michigan will need to prove it is the better defensive team and slow the game down.

Matt Youmans, VSIN: Villanova, 74-70

John Beilein is a coaching wizard and his Wolverines will slow the pace, but the Wildcats have too much offensive firepower.

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