There is nothing quite like Final Four betting, especially when there is that factor of a team making it to this point in unexpected fashion. That is the case with the Wichita State Shockers, who will try to continue their improbable journey with a win over the NCAA Tournament’s #1 overall seed, the Louisville Cardinals, in a Saturday game that gets underway at 6:05 PM ET at the Georgia Dome.
Saturday, April 6 – 6:05 PM ET
Georgia Dome – Atlanta
Both of these teams have gotten to this point with defense. Wichita State and Louisville have each held opponents to just 39% shooting on the season.
In the Final Four betting odds that have been established at BetAnySports, the Cardinals are big favorites:
Wichita State Shockers +10.5
Over 133 Points -110
Under 133 Points -110
Louisville wins game -650
Wichita State wins game +475
Wichita State has not lucked into anything by any means. The Shockers have beaten three favored sides out of four thus far. Starting out with a win over Pittsburgh, where they manhandled a physical team, they have gone on to defeat the #1 seed in their region (Gonzaga) and an Ohio State team that had won eleven games in a row. In none of these games has an opponent reached 36% shooting against them, and that is a tremendous feather in their cap. Is that enough to allow them to slide within the number here, or better yet, pull off the upset as a +475 underdog on the BetAnySports moneyline?
There is little chance that Wichita State is going to get beaten up physically, not with the likes of Carl Hall and Cleanthony Early up front. Of course, if they cannot get in the lane and score against Gorgui Dieng, Louisville’s sublime shot-blocker, they will have to rely a lot more on shots from the outside. And Marcus Armstead, who has been the offensive force at guard for WSU, went just 6-for-21 against Ohio State. It might even take quite an effort to get the ball up the court against the Louisville pressure. The Cardinals, who are the -137 favorite to win the championship in the Final Four betting odds at BetAnySports, are second in the nation in steals (with 10.9 per game) and will force Wichita State to pick up the pace, causing some turnovers.
Kevin Ware is okay, although it is not known whether he is going to be able to play basketball again. His gruesome leg injury, suffered against Duke in the Elite Eight, leaves Louisville somewhat short-handed in the backcourt, but realistically, he averaged only 16 minutes and game, with 4.5 points. He’ll add some moral support, unquestionably, with this Final Four taking place in his hometown of Atlanta. Rick Pitino, who has this week celebrated his son’s hiring as coach at Minnesota, has brought three different teams to this point, and he knows how to turn up the volume in the post-season, with his club going 11-1-1 against the number after the end of the regular season the last two seasons. That includes two Big East championships and two trips to the Final Four.
That’s a big edge in experience for this squad, but Wichita State seems to reflect the arrogance and confidence of its coach. Gregg Marshall, who had built the program at mini-major Winthrop, is absolutely convinced that his team is where it should be, and he is perfectly willing to place his immovable object against Louisville’s irresistible force, which has produced shooting at 52% or better in EACH of the four tournament games. And don’t forget a string technical trend, which has seen the Cardinals play eight straight games over the total.
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CHARLES JAY, a contributor to BangTheBook.com, is one of the most experienced sports betting writers in America, as he has written more than 10,000 pieces specifically for the industry over the last seven years. At one time employed as an editorial consultant with USA Network, he is also a former syndicated radio talk show host (American Radio Networks) and has also done color commentary on boxing events in the past for Prime Network (now known as Fox SportsNet). He is a veteran of more than a decade and a half working within the professional sports industry, and has been handicapping sporting events for over 25 years. In addition to this, he has compiled specialty odds for a number of online sportsbook operations and media outlets.