Just like Loyola-Chicago and Kansas, my great NCAA Tournament run came to an end Saturday afternoon/night as favored Michigan and Villanova both covered in the Final Four.
I had won 11 straight best bets between the prior two Point Spread Weekly issues here at VSiN and our online updates of the weekend games and was 14-4 ATS overall, but the two losses dropped me to 14-6 ATS. As disappointing as that was, I have to say that if the devil himself (apologies to Sister Jean) had told that I could hit 70% of my winners but that I would get blanked in the Final Four, I would has said “Where do I sign?”
But enough of that, let’s look at Monday night’s championship game. Lines are from the South Point as of late Sunday night.
(602) Villanova -7 vs. (601) Michigan (o/u 145.5)
Monday, 9:20 p.m. ET/6:20 p.m. PT (TBS)
Tuley’s Take: I know all regular readers are going to assume I’m all over the underdog here. However, as much as my reputation precedes me, even though I only bet dogs, I don’t bet EVERY dog. I really do try to be selective, and I do believe that is what helped me go 14-6 ATS with best bets. I take just as much pride in passing on dogs because, as Benjamin Franklin allegedly said: “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Some of my best decisions during this tournament was to resist betting against Villanova during the first two weeks. I really respect the Wildcats, so even though they were laying a lot of points in their earlier games, I wasn’t tempted to fade them – that is, until the Final Four. I thought I finally had a team in Kansas that matched up well enough with Villanova. The Jayhawks led 2-0, but that was short-lived as the Wildcats scored the next 11 points and a 22-2 overall run and Kansas never threatened to get even close to a cover the rest of the game. Even though I only made this line Villanova -3 (disclaimer: I also had both Final Four games at -3 and thought I had value on the two dogs), I learned my lesson, at least as far as declaring Michigan a best bet. I was seriously considering passing completely on this game (at least in this article), but there’s enough degenerate in me that I know I’m going to have to have some action on this game. So, let’s call it a lean on Michigan (some might say I’m just trying to protect my record, but so be it; besides, I honestly don't feel as confident in this dog as I did with my earlier picks). I was asked by VSiN colleague Matt Youmans, as well as Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Todd Dewey, for a final score prediction and I went with Villanova 76, Michigan 73. That also puts me down for a lean on the Over 145.5. The Alamodome has a long-standing reputation as a tough stadium to shoot in – and it sure seemed that way in the Loyola-Michigan semifinal – but that game still nearly got to its over/under of 129.5 thanks mostly to Michigan (and especially Mo Wagner) while Villanova-Kansas flew over its total of 155, again thanks to the favorite shooting the lights out. This total is lower, which is understandable with Michigan sometimes lower pace of play, but I believe it’s adjusted just a little too low. Lean: Michigan plus-7 and also lean to the Over (personally, I’m just going to bet a small Michigan/Over parlay).