There are only three college basketball games left to gamble upon this season. Here’s hoping everyone ends on a high note.
All times EDT. All spreads and totals taken Friday afternoon from VegasInsider.com.
An overarching note on the totals
The over/under for each game now rests at 145, with bettors hammering the under and bringing the total down from the opening 149 or 149.5. And for good reason: The cavernous NRG Stadium in Houston has proven to be a terrible stadium for shooters. As noted by the Linemakers, the under has cashed in six straight NCAA tournament games played at the stadium and in eight of 13 since 2005.
To put it another way: In 15 college basketball games at NRG Stadium since 2002, the 30 teams have combined to shoot 32.2 percent from three-point range (thanks, KenPom). Those 30 teams shot a combined 36.3 percent on three-pointers overall in the seasons in which their Houston games were played. That’s a pretty significant drop-off.
Butler shot a dismal 18.8 percent in the 2011 national title game loss to U-Conn.
Since 2005, the under has gone 20-13 in the Final Four or national title game.
Villanova vs. Oklahoma, 6:05 p.m. (TBS)
Spread: Villanova -2
Moneylines: Villanova -135, Oklahoma +115
— Favorites have gone 11-2 ATS and 12-1 straight-up in NCAA tournament games played at NRG Stadium since 2005.
— At 14-20 this season, the Sooners have the worst ATS record of the Final Four teams. However, Oklahoma went 5-2 ATS as an underdog this season and covered as five-point underdogs in a neutral-site 78-55 win over Villanova on Dec. 7. The Sooners are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games.
I guess this next one also applies to North Carolina-Syracuse, too, seeing as how the Tar Heels beat the Orange twice this season.
North Carolina vs. Syracuse, approx. 8:45 p.m. (TBS)
Spread: North Carolina -9.5
Moneylines: North Carolina -550, Syracuse +425
— Favorites have gone 11-2 ATS and 12-1 straight-up in NCAA tournament games played at NRG Stadium since 2005. None of those teams were favored by as many points as the Tar Heels, however.
— Both teams are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games.
— The Orange lost both games to the Tar Heels straight up this season but went 1-1 ATS, failing to cover as 7.5-point underdogs on Jan. 9 at home and covering as 13.5-point underdogs in Chapel Hill on Feb. 29.