The Final Four is finally here! Both of tonight's games take place at the Caesar's Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints. Up until this point, March Madness favorites have gone 39-20 straight up (66%) but dogs have gone 33-26 ATS (56%). Unders lead the way with a 34-26 (57%) record, including a remarkable 11-1 under hot streak over the past 12 games.
Here are the latest odds to cut down the nets at BetMGM
North Carolina +475
Here are the updated odds to win Most Outstanding Player
Now let's discuss where smart money is leaning for both of tonight's big games...
6:09 p.m. ET: Villanova vs Kansas
Villlanova (30-7) is the 2-seed and coming off a 50-44 win over 5-seed Houston in the Elite 8, winning outright as 3-point dogs. Previously, Villanova beat 11-seed Michigan 63-55 (covering as 4.5-point favorites), took down 7-seed Ohio State 71-61 (covering as 5-point favorites) and crushed 15-seed Delaware 80-60 (covering as 15-point favorites). Now they face 1-seed Kansas (32-6), who just dominated 10-seed Miami 76-50, easily covering as 5-point favorites. Kansas has also beaten 4-seed Providence 66-61 (failing to cover as 6.5-point favorites), edged 9-seed Creighton 79-72 (failing to cover as 13-point favorites) and crushed 16-seed Texas Southern 83-56 (covering as 21.5-point favorites).
This line opened with Kansas listed as a 3.5-point favorite. Respected money laid the chalk almost immediately, driving Kansas up from -3.5 to -4.5. One big reason for the early jump: Villanova starting guard Justin Moore (15 PPG) will miss the game with a season-ending achilles injury. The line remained frozen at Kansas -4.5 for much of the week. But over the past 24-hours we've seen respected buyback pounce on Villanova +4.5, dropping the line back down to 4. At BetMGM, 66% of bets are laying the points with Kansas. Villanova has value as a contrarian play in a heavily bet game with late buyback in their favor. Ken Pom has Kansas winning by just one point (70-69). He has Kansas ranked 4th and Villanova 9th.
The total has also ticked up slightly from 123.5 to 133, indicating some over support. The over is getting 56% of bets at 63% of money. Villanova plays at one of the slowest paces in college basketball (62.6 tempo). Kansas is much quicker (69.5). Both teams are 3-1 to the under in March Madness.
8:49 p.m. ET: North Carolina vs Duke
North Carolina (28-9) is the 8-seed and coming off a 69-49 shellacking of 15-seed Saint Peter's in the Elite 8, easily covering as 8.5-point favorites. North Carolina also took down 4-seed UCLA 73-66 (winning outright as 2.5-point dogs), upset 1-seed Baylor 93-86 (winning outright as 5.5-point dogs) and crushed 9-seed Marquette 95-63 (easily covering as 4-point favorites). Meanwhile, Duke (32-6) is the 2-seed and just brushed off 4-seed Arkansas 78-69, covering as 4.5-point favorites. Duke also beat 3-seed Texas Tech 78-73 (covering as a pick'em), dismissed 7-seed Michigan State 85-76 (covering as a 6.5-point favorites) and crushed 15-seed Cal State Fullerton 78-61 (failing to cover as 18.5-point favorites).
This line opened with Duke listed as a 4-point favorite. This line briefly ticked up to 4.5. That's when respected North Carolina money grabbed the hook, dropping the line back down to 4. We've been frozen at 4 nearly all week. This is a game in which late game-day movement will be telling. If it trends down to 3.5, that will signal further UNC confidence. If it ticks back to 4.5, that will indicate late Duke action. Ken Pom has Duke winning by four points (79-75). He has Duke ranked 8th and North Carolina 16th. Currently 59% of bets are 74% of money are grabbing the points with North Carolina.
Respected money has also leaned over in this one. At BetMGM, 61% of bets are taking the under, yet we've seen the total tick up slightly from 150.5 to 151. It even touched 151.5 at some shops. Essentially, we are looking at a rare contrarian over opportunity. Both of these teams are "over" teams, with North Carolina 21-16 to the over and Duke 21-17 to the over. Both teams are 2-2 to the total in March Madness. Duke tempo is 67.3. North Carolina is much quicker at 70.3.