NCAA Tournament Betting: Final Four Prop Plays
There are many ways to wager on Saturday’s Final Four games. Besides betting the traditional side and total, sportsbooks are offering more player and game props than ever before. Options range from betting on the Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four to who will score first in each of the two games Saturday. We break down some of the most interesting Final Four props being offered by sportsbooks across the country.
Most Outstanding Player (FanDuel)
Bettors can wager on who will be named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, which includes Saturday’s games and Monday’s National Championship. I picked Michigan State to win it all, so Cassius Winston at +270 is the most obvious choice. However, the Michigan State-Texas Tech game is going to be a bloodbath that could go either way. I believe the survivor of that game will win the National Championship.
Jarrett Culver has value at +600 and I also like Davide Moretti at +3600. “Spaghetti” Moretti, as my co-worker and Texas Tech alum Matt Schmitto calls him, will need to play well for Texas Tech to beat Michigan State and then either Virginia or Auburn. He’s worth a shot at that price, along with Winston and Culver.
Player to Score First – Auburn vs. Virginia (FanDuel)
Want to bet which player will score first in both games? No problem. FanDuel and other sportsbooks offer a complete list of players to score first. Bets like these are totally random, so I like to look for value. How about Mamadi Diakite at +1200? Neither team is big down low and Auburn will be without the injured Chuma Okeke. I can see an early put back by Diakite kicking off the scoring and cashing at +1200. I’d look at him and Kyle Guy at +525. Guy is never afraid to fire, so he’s an intriguing play at those odds as well.
Player to Score First – Texas Tech vs. Michigan State (FanDuel)
Just like in the first game, bettors can pick a player to score first in the Texas Tech-Michigan State matchup. Again, I’m looking for value on a wager that’s completely random. I’m going with Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman at +850. Tillman is averaging 10.1 points but has stepped it up in the NCAA Tournament with 16, 14, 12 and 19 points in four games. Tillman’s 19-point output against Duke tied a season-high and the 61 points is his highest total over a four-game span this year. With Tillman becoming a bigger offensive factor in the tournament, I’ll take him at +850 to score first in this matchup.
Auburn vs. Virginia Total 3-Point FG’s Made: Over/Under 17.5 (Westgate)
Auburn set an SEC record for most three-pointers attempted and made this year, while Virginia led the country in three-point defense. The Cavaliers hold teams to just 28.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc, so something has to give in this matchup. However, Virginia’s three-point defense hasn’t been nearly as good in the NCAA Tournament, allowing 40 made threes, an average of 10 a game, while hitting 32 (8.0 per game).
Auburn has made 47 threes, including 12 or more in three of its four NCAA Tournament games. The Tigers also average 30 attempts from three-point range throughout the tournament, while Virginia comes in at 26.7. I like the over here. Both teams are going to shoot it from deep and unless the Tigers are just ice cold on Saturday, this number should go over the total.
Texas Tech vs. Michigan State Total 3-Point FG’s Made: Over/Under 14 (Westgate)
Texas Tech and Michigan State are two of the top defensive teams in the country and that includes defending the three-point shot. The Spartans rank 32nd in three-point defense (31.4 percent), while Texas Tech is ninth (29.3 percent). Both teams also shoot it well from deep. Michigan State is one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country at 38.0 percent and Texas Tech also ranks in the top-70 at 36.5 percent.
In the NCAA Tournament, Michigan State hasn’t been great from three, making just 30 of 85 attempts. The Spartans have made more than six three-pointers in only one game in the tournament. Meanwhile, Michigan State has allowed just 25 made three pointers through four games (6.2 per game).
Like Michigan State, Texas Tech hasn’t relied on the three-point shot but is defending it really well in the tournament. The Red Raiders are averaging 6.7 made threes per game and giving up just 4.0. I really like the under here. Neither team is depending on the three-pointer in the tournament and both defend it extremely well. The number is set right but I see it going just under 14.
Team to Score 10 Points First: Virginia -125, Auburn +105 (Westgate)
Maybe the most random of all prop bets is which team will reach 10 points first but since they have odds for it, let’s break it down. If it were up to Virginia, the first team to score 10 points would cash with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. Out of the four teams in both games, Auburn is the only one plus money. In these scenarios, I’d rather take +105 than lay -125. Even if Virginia wins by 20, Auburn can still get to 10 points first.
I’ll be honest, like in a Few Good Men when Colonel Jessup says he can’t speak intelligently about the travel habits of William Santiago, I’m an educated man but I’m afraid I can’t speak intelligently about which team will score 10 points first in this game. Take the underdog.
Team to Score 10 Points First: Michigan State -115, Texas Tech -105 (Westgate)
Again, the prop is tough to predict but in this matchup, I have a stronger lean. While both of these teams have started fast in the NCAA Tournament, I like Texas Tech -105. The Red Raiders’ half-court defense is suffocating and it takes teams a while to adjust once they see it for the first time.
Michigan State started slowly in two of the three games against Michigan – another team that plays lockdown defense. I believe it will take the Spartans a few minutes to get going, especially coming off an emotional win over Duke. I’ll side with Texas Tech to reach 10 points first in this matchup, mainly because I don’t have another Few Good Men video to use here.