NCAA Basketball Championship Betting Preview: Butler Bulldogs vs. Duke Blue Devils
(33-4, 17-20 ATS)
Duke Blue Devils
(34-5, 23-13-2 ATS)
They may not be the best two teams left standing in the country, but they’re the only ones that have survived the first five rounds of the NCAA Tournament, and now, the Butler Bulldogs and the Duke Blue Devils will battle it out in the final college basketball betting affair of the season on Monday night. Duke, led by its top three scorers, trounced West Virginia in the Final Four 78-57 to add the Mountaineers to a list of scalps that already included Arkansas-Pine Bluff, California, Purdue, and Baylor en route to the National Championship Game. It was a significantly harder and more interesting road for the Horizon League champs, who needed a strong defensive game down the stretch to dismiss Michigan State on Saturday night. Butler has now take out the Spartans, UTEP, Murray State, Syracuse, and Kansas State, and it has done so by becoming the first team in NCAA Tournament history to win five games and hold all five foes under 60 points.
That defense may be the only hope that Butler has of winning it all, especially if F Matt Howard, who banged his head on the floor and missed the end of Saturday night’s game with MSU, and G Shelvin Mack, who suffered a thigh injury and missed the majority of the second half, are either out of the lineup or limited due to injury. F Gordon Hayward is well on his way to becoming tournament MVP, as he has averaged 16.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Picking an MVP for Duke would be splitting hairs. If the award could be split three ways, at this point, F Kyle Singler, G Nolan Smith, and G Jon Scheyer could all take a piece of it. All three came up huge against the Mountaineers, combining to score 63 points and proving once again that, if all three are on their game, there may not be a team in the nation that can knock off the ACC champs. The Dookies will be playing for their first National Championship since 2001.
It’s hard to think that the Blue Devils are going to get beaten even though Butler is on a 25 game winning streak. They’re just playing far too well right now and continue to get better as this tournament progresses. Still, it’s probably going to require scoring more than 60 points to get the job done, so we’ll get the Bulldogs to stick in front of a hefty, hefty spread.
Selection: Butler Bulldogs
The Bulldogs have covered six straight NCAA basketball betting lines as underdogs of at least seven points. Bookmaker Sportsbook currently has Butler lined at -7. For all of your spreads, totals, moneylines, and props for Monday night’s big game, be sure to use them for all of your basketball betting needs!
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