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Favorites almost always win in Final Four - NBC Sports

Favorites almost always win in Final Four
April 5, 2013, 6:04 pm

Underdogs and Cinderellas make March Madness the most exciting tournament on earth, but while the excitement continues, the upsets typically end when it comes to the Final Four.

Louisville was a big favorite at most online sportsbooks to win the national championship and plenty of historical Final Four trend points to the Cardinals cutting down the nets on Monday night.

Rick Pitino's crew is the lone remaining No. 1 seed and they are big 10.5-point favorites against No. 9 Wichita State. As the higher seed, they are pretty much a lock to win, according to Jack Randall of OddsShark.com.

"In the past eight Final Fours, the higher-seeded teams are 12-1 SU against lower seeds," he explained. (If you are wondering what happened to the other three games, they involved games where teams had the same seed, almost always No. 1 vs No. 1).

The trend continues in the national championship game where higher seeds have won seven of the past nine matches. Again, three games involved same-seeded schools, just like the other national semi-final this year pitting No. 4 Michigan against No. 4 Syracuse.

In total, its 19-3 SU for the higher seeds including all of the final weekend games. That edge doesn't hold up as strongly against the spread, but it remains a solid betting angle. The favorites are 9-3 ATS in title games since 2001.

The final weekend has also seen plenty of value for over-under bettors. Since 2005, the Final Four has seen UNDERs prevail with an 11-4-1 run.

No. 4 vs No. 4
The second matchup doesn't fit the higher-seed handicapping model. The Wolverines are favored by 2 points all though a majority of bettors were backing Syracuse (a 58-42 per cent split according to OddsShark.com basketball consensus data).

There are very few betting trends that point to one team or the other. However, there are conflicting trends for fans to consider in the Louisville vs Wichita State matchup.

The Cardinals have been dominant against the spread, sprinting to a 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games as a favorite. But Wichita State has been dominant as a big underdog over the years.

The Shockers won all four tournament games as a dog in 2013. And dating back to 2003, the Shockers are 13-6-1 ATS in 20 games where they have been underdogs of 8.5 points or more.

All in all, the betting public favors Louisville and so do most of the trends.



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