Looking back (as it’s always easy to do) this Final 4 wasn’t that hard to predict. Sure #8 North Carolina was a long shot, but Baylor had to be considered the shakiest #1 seed of any region with their recent injuries. Duke ran quite the gauntlet, but that’s expected in Mike Krzyzewski’s swan song. Kansas was a favorite to make it to the Final 4, and you’d have to think that #2 Villanova with their experience had just as good of a chance to get out of the South as #1 Arizona with a 1st-year coach in Tommy Lloyd.
Here’s where things get interesting though, as any possible National Championship matchup wouldn’t be a surprise. North Carolina vs. Kansas, North Carolina vs. Villanova, Duke vs. Kansas, and Duke vs. Villanova all have great storylines behind them.
Let’s see how arguably the greatest Final 4 of all-time breaks down:
🏀Top Final 4 Player Props 🏀
LineStar has a new Player Prop tab that lets you search for the best individual props through apps such as DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars, and PointsBet. Here are some of the best bets for tonight:
🏀Collin Gillespie, Villanova (Over 14.5 points) – He laid an egg in the Elite 8 on a 1-6 shooting night including 0-4 from three point range. Houston does have a good perimeter defense though (not that Kansas doesn’t) and that game also featured 10 shots from Justin Moore that are up for grabs after his injury. Gillespie had only 12 vs. Michigan (13 Moore shots) but 20 vs. Ohio State and you have to think the 5th year Senior doesn’t go down without launching.
🏀Jalen Wilson, Kansas (Over7.5 rebounds) – This prop would have value with a number of 9.5, so it’s interesting that it’s just 7.5 🚩. Either way, it’s one to ride with as Wilson has 14, 11, and 11 rebounds in the last three games and Villanova is somewhat undersized with no player over 6’9″.
🏀Caleb Love, North Carolina (Over 16.5 points) – Armando Bacot rebounds (12.5) and Brady Manek points (16.5) are tempting ‘overs’ to take here, but Caleb Love is absolutely launching with 24 and 17 field goal attempts the last two games. He went for 22 against Duke in the regular-season finale even on 4-17 shooting from the field – going 12-12 from the free-throw line meaning the Blue Devils don’t match up well in this spot.
🏀Paolo Banchero, Duke (Over 18.5 points) – Sure it’s a boring obvious play but Banchero is also a near-lock for 20 points tonight. He scored 22 against Texas Tech in the Sweet 16 – the #1 defense in the country and had 16 against an Arkansas team that is 11th in adjusted defensive efficiency. Banchero took 26 shots in the regular-season finale against the Tar Heels.
NCAA Final 4 Betting Picks
2 Villanova vs #1 Kansas (-4), O/U 133 6:09 ET
This feels like fight night, and there aren’t many better undercards than #2 Villanova meeting #1 Kansas. We forget just how good Villanova is at times, getting lost out in the Big East which Providence won in the regular season this year. That being said, the Wildcats were good this year largely due to Justin Moore (15.3 ppg), who suffered an Achilles injury in the final seconds of the 50-44 win over Houston in the Elite 8. That’s an absolutely devastating blow and it’s somewhat surprising this point spread is still just KU -4 following that injury.
Make no mistake, Villanova still has some pieces in place most notably two-time Big East Player of the Year Collin Gillespie and they have a 2X National Champion coach in Jay Wright. That being said, you need all hands on deck to beat Kansas, and the Jayhawks 76-50 win over Miami last weekend isn’t getting the attention it deserves. KU was down 6 points at the half against a Hurricanes team that has beaten North Carolina and Duke this year and also had lost 6 of their previous 7 games by 4 points or less and the Jayhawks exploited them 47-15 in the 2nd half. Kansas looks like the best team left in this tournament to be honest.
Pick: Kansas -4
8 North Carolina vs. #2 Duke (-4) O/U 152 8:49 ET
Was Duke losing to North Carolina in Coach K’s finale at Cameron Indoor Stadium just part of the story to beating the Tar Heels in the Final 4 and getting one last crack at a National Championship? It sure looks that way, but UNC could almost put a nail in this rivalry for good by beating Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils yet again, somewhat tainting his 4 decade legacy in the matter of a month.
Both teams feature All-Tournament caliber players, even though the 20 points, 22 rebound performance by UNC’s Armando Bacot was somewhat tainted by having it be against #15 seed Saint Peter’s . Duke’s Paolo Banchero has put up 22 points against Texas Tech and 16 against Arkansas the last two games – the #1 and #11 defensive efficiency teams in the country so what is he going to do against UNC (39th). Even though it’s chalk and the entire country is on it, I think you have to go ‘over’ here especially considering their regular season finale was a 94-81 North Carolina win.
Pick: Over 152
You can follow me, Carl Taylor (@dailydogsports), on Twitter for more daily fantasy and sports betting talk and make sure to check out the LineStar chat.
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