Cardinals-Wolverines: High Hopes, Low Totals

Published on 8-Apr-2013 by Steve Soprano

Basketball - NCAA Mens    NCAA Basketball Daily Stake

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Cardinals-Wolverines: High Hopes, Low Totals

The Big Dinero ... uh, Dance ... culminates in a mere few hours.

Bovada's got Louisville laying four against Michigan, which is right where most books have set the number.

While I would lean slightly toward Michigan there, I say avoid playing a side in this championship pairing. Neither outcome would surprise me very much, as all indications seem to lead to a pretty even match-up.

For my money -- which I love and always want to win more of -- the best bet here is playing the total, which I believe comes in too high for these two squads going head-to-head.  As of late Monday afternoon, Bovada's total was 139, and some houses had it a full point lower at 138.   

I will be playing the under myself, and here's a little food for thought as to why:

  • First of all, let's look at the points allowed by each team, both for the entire season and in their last five games (which covers all their NCAA tilts).  Louisville has allowed 58.3 on the season and 60 in the tourney.  Michigan has allowed 62 this season overall and has done slightly better than that in the Dance, giving up 61 (and that includes the 85 they allowed to Kansas in overtime two weekends ago).
  • Secondly, free throw shooting (or lack thereof) could play a factor in the total staying low. Take a look at the head-to-head statistcs in Bovada's match-ups section on our Home page for college basketball, and you'ill see both teams shoot 70% from the charity stripe; that's not bad.  Where 'over' players may be frustrated here is in the lack of free throw shooting. Michigan opponents average a mere eight made free throws per game, and only 12 attempts per contest. Those figures are both the lowest in the nation. Simpy put, the Wolverines don't put opponents at the free throw line much at all. And many times, the free throw line is where many 'over' plays are won and lost.
  • Lastly, it's the betting public's obession with playing the 'over' in the grand finale that drives the total maybe a little higher than it should be. We all know everybody likes to see points, especially when there's gambling involved. But oddsmakers know that too, and the more money that comes in on the 'over,' the higher the total goes. And the fact is four of the last five title games have gone under the oddmakers' total. (In the case of Butler vs UConn two years ago, the two teams didn't even combine for 100 total points. Well under).

So sit back, watch, and enjoy. Hopefully we will be entertained with a barnburner to wrap up the Big Dance. I know I will, as long as the shots aren't falling.

And I don't think they will.


Result ... Louisville 82 Michigan 76     Total points= 158     Over covers on total points scored