National Championship Game Betting: Texas Tech vs. Virginia Odds, Trends And Picks

(USA TODAY Sports)`

Not many people had Virginia playing Texas Tech in the National Championship Game but here we are with two of the country’s top defenses facing off. Virginia is a small 1.5-point favorite in a game many expect to be close and low scoring throughout. With points likely being tough to come by, foul shooting and fast-break points off turnovers may decide it. We break down the matchup with odds, trends and everything sports bettors need to know for Monday’s National Championship Game.

First team to 50 wins?

Fans of high-scoring basketball games will want to look away tonight. After opening at 120, the total for the game is down to 118 at the Westgate LV SuperBook and FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey. PointsBet has the total even lower at 117.5. This will be by far the lowest total for a National Championship Game in the shot clock era. The previous low was 128 in 2006 when UCLA faced Florida. That game went Over with Florida winning 73-57.

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It’s not surprising these two teams are responsible for a record-low total. Texas Tech ranks No. 1 in defensive efficiency by KenPom and Virginia is No. 5. These are also two of the top three-point defenses in the nation with Virginia (28.7 in 3-point shooting percentage against) ranking third and Texas Tech (29.3) ninth. Both teams are 4-1 to the Under in the NCAA Tournament.

A slow tempo is another reason to expect a low-scoring game. Virginia ranks last in the country in Adjusted Tempo, while Texas Tech is 237th. Neither team plays fast and that likely won’t change Monday night. However, there are numbers that suggest this game could go Over the low total. Virginia and Texas Tech are two of the most efficient offenses in the country. The Cavaliers rank third in offensive efficiency and while Texas Tech is 28th overall, the Red Raiders have the most efficient offense in college basketball since losing to Kansas on Feb. 2.

Wrong team favored?

Virginia is a short favorite of either -1 or -1.5, depending on the sportsbook. The Cavaliers were -1 at the Westgate as of Monday morning but -1.5 at FanDuel and PointsBet. Virginia backers are getting some value with this number. The lookahead line before the Final Four at the Westgate had the Cavaliers -3.

The Red Raiders have been the best team throughout the NCAA Tournament. Texas Tech is a perfect 5-0 ATS with wins over Michigan, Gonzaga and Michigan State. Meanwhile, Virginia is 2-3 ATS, despite an easier road to the National Championship Game by beating Oregon, Purdue and Auburn.

Tariq Owens injury a big concern

Texas Tech does enter Monday night’s game with a major injury concern. F Tariq Owens went down with an ankle injury early in second half of Saturday’s game, but returned with 8 minutes left. Owens only played briefly, though, finishing the game on the bench. The 6-10 forward averages 8.8 points and 5.8 rebounds a game. Owens is also a force on defense, averaging 2.5 blocks per game. Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard said to expect Owens to play Monday but if he’s not 100 percent, it gives Virginia an advantage in what is expected to be a tight game.

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Beard owns the second half

Another thing to keep in mind during the game Monday is Texas Tech’s second half domination since Beard became the head coach. The Red Raiders are 9-0 against the second half spread in the NCAA Tournament under Beard, covering by an average of 7.9 points. Overall, Beard is 33-8-1 (80.5%) against the second half spread in his career when facing a non-conference opponent.

There are also a bunch of prop bets for tonight’s game. One at FanDuel to consider is:

Player to Score First

Jarrett Culver only scored 10 points in the win over Michigan State but expect him to be a much bigger factor Monday night. Virginia doesn’t have the size of Michigan State down low, so Culver should find more room to work in the paint. Look for Beard to try to get Culver going early. He’s a good bet to score first at odds of +500, now boosted to +550 at FanDuel.

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Guns Up

One can argue that Virginia has been the best team in college basketball this season. The Cavaliers have only lost to two teams (Duke and Florida State), while ranking in the top-5 in offensive and defensive efficiency for most of the season. However, Texas Tech has been the best team in the NCAA Tournament and over the last two months the Red Raiders rank first in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

The status of Owens is a concern but the Red Raiders’ defense has dominated three top-10 teams on their way to the title game. It will be a tight, low-scoring game throughout but Culver will be the difference for Texas Tech down the stretch. The Red Raiders win their first-ever National Championship.

Pick: Texas Tech +1.5 and Under 118

About the Author

  • Thomas Casale (tcasale)

  • Thomas Casale is the Editor of Sports Betting Content for RotoGrinders. He's been following the sports betting industry for almost 30 years. Before coming to RotoGrinders, Thomas contributed to The Linemakers and worked as an editor at BetChicago. He's also provided fantasy sports analysis for multiple websites and print publications, while covering the NFL, college football, college basketball and MMA at different media outlets.