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Qualifying Tourney Trends: Final Four Games

By Steve Makinen  () 

Just like I did a week ago for all of the action of the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament as well as the Elite 8 round (on my twitter account @SteveMakinen), I’ve gone back through my tournament article in the VSiN’s 2019 College Basketball Tournament Betting Guide and requalified all of the key trends for this coming weekend based upon the actual matchups we will see. Hopefully you did the same for the Saturday & Sunday games in particular, as the underdog, OVER the total, and seed vs. seed trends continued to produce huge results. That said, it’s time to move on to the next round(s), so let’s get right to it.

From the “Navigating the Tournament Round by Round” section of the article, these were the angles to watch for:

FINAL FOUR GAMES

In the Final Four Round, winning teams own a record of 30-4-2 ATS (88.2%) since ’01, including wins by both Villanova & Michigan a year ago.

• This would mean trusting favorites Michigan State & Virginia to get the job done in covering the spread too should they win outright.

Final Four #1 seeds are 13-5 SU & 10-7-1 ATS since ’01 when not matched against another #1 seed.

• Qualifying team for 2019: Virginia

Final Four favorites of 5 points or more are on a solid surge of 13-3 SU & 11-5-1 ATS (68.8%) over the L20 years.

• Qualifying team for 2019: Virginia

ACC teams have been most successful in the Final Four Round, going 9-4 SU & ATS since ’01, including 7-1 SU & 6-2 ATS when favored

• Qualifying team for 2019: Virginia

On totals, the last seven final four games that had posted numbers of 130 or less went UNDER, producing just 112.2 combined PPG on average. Otherwise, totals are 19-12-2 OVER (61.2%) in the Finals Four since ’99.

• The Texas Tech-Michigan State game had a total of 132.5 at press time, meaning an OVER trend. The Auburn-Virginia game had a total of 130.5 at press time, meaning watch the total the rest of the week.

CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES

Championship game favorites of 3 points or more are on a 12-2 SU & 11-3 ATS (78.6%) run, while those favored by 2.5 or less are just 3-4 SU & ATS since ‘98

• At this point, my own projected championship game matchups would show these options 1) Michigan State by 2.5 points over Auburn 2) Virginia by 1 over Michigan State 3) Virginia by 3 over Texas Tech 4) Texas Tech by 1 over Auburn

Only once in the L18 years did the championship winning team not cover the spread (Duke against Butler in 2010)

• Take the outright winner to cover the spread, especially with the probable line as tight as I projected above

In the L12 championship games matching nonequal seeds, the better seed is on a 10-3 SU & 9-4 ATS (69.2%) run

• Michigan State would be a better seed than Auburn, Virginia would be a better seed over either Michigan State or Texas Tech, and Texas Tech would be a better seed over Auburn

Big Ten teams are winless at 0-7 SU & ATS in championship games since ’01.

• Michigan State would try to break this trend on Monday should it advance

Bettors have gone just 5-10 ATS in their L15 championship games when moving opening lines towards one team or the other.

• Fade any line movement that occurs between opener and tip-off

TRENDS BY CONFERENCE MATCHUP

Seventeen of the L24 NCAA tournament matchups between ACC & SEC teams went UNDER the total

• This trend lost on Friday night in the AuburnNorth Carolina game but will be in play again at the Final Four when Auburn meets Virginia

Favorites are on a 11-3 SU & 10-4 ATS (71%) run in NCAA tournament games between the Big 12 & Big Ten

• Word of caution here, this trend is 0-2 SU & ATS in the 2019 tournament, and Michigan State figures to be favored at tip=off over Texas Tech on Saturday

Big 12 teams are 12-6 UNDER (67%) the total when matched against SEC foes in NCAA tournament play since 2000

• This is another trend that has turned in 2019 with a 0-2 record, but could be in play again on Monday should Texas Tech & Auburn collide for the title

Underdogs are on a 18-9-1 ATS (67%) run in the L28 NCAA tournament games between the SEC and Big Ten conferences

• This angle is 3-2 ATS in 2019, and a Michigan State-Auburn matchup on Monday would put it in play once again

CONFERENCE TRENDS BY LINE PLACEMENT

ACC teams are just 23-43-1 ATS (35%) as favorites of 5 points or less in the NCAA’s since ‘98

• This trend is 2-3 ATS in 2019, and Virginia is penciled in as a 5.5-point favorite over Auburn on Saturday as of press time at some source, 5-point favorite at others

OVER/UNDER TRENDS

Big 12 teams have gone 31-16 OVER (66%) the total since 2016, but just 6-6 OVER this season

• The Texas Tech-Michigan State matchup will test this trend on Saturday

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