LAS VEGAS – Here we are with the NCAA Tournament title game on Monday night; it’s hard to believe the college basketball season is almost over.
Granted, I don’t really get involved until the end of February with the start of the conference tournaments, but it’s still flown by way too quick. We’re thrilled again at the Tuley’s Take home office as we went 11-5 ATS (68.75%) with our best bets capped by Auburn plus-5.5 against Virginia in the Final Four on Saturday after going 14-6 ATS (70%) last year. That’s two solid March Madnesses in a row, so we can’t complain. Well, I could complain that two of the losses (Wofford plus-5.5 vs. Kentucky and Purdue plus-4.5 vs. Purdue were Bad Beats), but you’re gonna suffer your share of those when you’re on the right side more often than not.
I’m also a little disappointed to fall short of that 70% mark and, believe me, there’s a part of me that’s tempted to go with the underdog, Texas Tech, like I’m sure everyone is assuming anyway in order to get me over 70% again; however, I’m more compelled to be honest with my faithful followers since I don’t feel that strongly about the play. I made the line Virginia -2 and feel, like I’ve been writing all tournament long, that the oddsmakers continue to suck the value out of a lot of these plays with the lines so short. I guess I should be grateful that we were able to find 16 games I loved over the last three weeks!
(Note: those who have followed these columns in Point Spread Weekly and the weekend updates – for the round of 32 and the Elite 8 – on the VSiN.com website will agree that if I had included my “best Over/Under of the day” earlier in the tournament or my “stronger lean” on the Texas Tech-Michigan State Under 132.5 on Saturday that I would already be at 70%, but I won’t include those since I didn’t label them as “Best Bets;” just consider them bonus winners!)
And hopefully we have another bonus winner for you in the title game Monday night, though, again, I’m not calling it a Best Bet.
MONDAY, APRIL 8
(812) Virginia (-1) vs. Texas Tech (o/u 118)
9:20 p.m. ET/6:20 p.m. PT
Tuley’s Take: Again, that was sweet to cash with our Best Bet in the Final Four with Auburn plus-5.5 vs. Virginia, and I was even more confident we were on the right side when the whole world was seemingly on Virginia for some reason and we were able to get plus-6. Virginia underperformed like it always does in pressure situations and I expect this title game to certainly be close, and while I’m tempted to take Texas Tech, I just can’t with all the value sucked out of the line. Seriously, a No. 1 vs. a No. 3 seed and it’s only a 1-point spread? Anyway, I made the line Virginia -2, so I have to pass. I was actually prepared to pass on the title game altogether and had my speech all prepared about “just because it’s the biggest TV game of the night or just because it’s the last game of the season” doesn’t mean you have to have a wager on it. However, after crunching the numbers, I do believe we have an edge on the Over/Under. And I believe I’m going to be contrarian (which is the side I prefer!) as the whole handicapping world is talking about how low-scoring both national semifinals games were and how these two teams plays great defense – Texas Tech is No. 1 in defensive efficiency, according to kenpom.com, and Virginia is No. 5 – and how Virginia is the slowest-paced team in Division I, etc. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the books opened the betting total between 119 and 120 and it’s also been bet down to 118 at most books as of Sunday night and even 117.5 at a few books. However, I think this is a massive adjustment. I have this score at Virginia 66, Texas Tech 64, which adds up to 130. That’s based on the two team’s season-long numbers. But even if I use the fact that the two semifinals had only 59 and 60 possessions per team, that only lowers my projection by 5% and puts the total at 123.5, which is still 6 points higher than the lowest available total, so I’ll take the Over. Best O/U play of day or Strong Lean: Texas Tech-Virginia Over 118 (grab 117.5 or lower if you can get it)