College Basketball Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Saturday, April 1st

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College basketball schedule today has 2 games

Happy Final Four Day, everybody! Today’s two games will decide who will play for the National Championship on Monday night. San Diego State vs. FAU is the first game and Miami vs. UConn is the second game, so it should be an interesting day of basketball, even if we didn’t get some of the teams that we expected to get at this point.

 

The daily article is winding down and hopefully you’ve been able to pick up some helpful nuggets or some different ways of handicapping games. Your style may not be my style and that’s perfectly fine. The way we evolve and adapt as handicappers is to look at things from a different perspective and see if we can use that to our advantage. I’ve learned from others this year and will continue to do so. Thanks to every single one of you for reading. Only two more of these left to go! (Tracking sheet)

We’ve got best bets from my VSiN colleagues, including some thoughts on both games from me. Participation was heavily encouraged, so I wrote up both games, but only one would classify as a “best bet” for me with my personal article.

Be sure to check out the latest episodes of the VSiN College Basketball Betting Podcast.

Here are some thoughts on the April 1 card (odds from DraftKings):

Miami Hurricanes vs. UConn Huskies (-5.5, 149)

The run that the Hurricanes have been on against some elite defenses has been really impressive. Scoring 85, 89 and 88 points against Indiana, Houston and Texas is really impressive. The Hoosiers had an underrated defense because they are in the Big Ten and everybody wanted to downplay that conference this season. That wound up being a good idea, but the Hurricanes had 1.233 points per possession against Indiana, which was the fourth-highest PPP allowed by the Hoosiers, who are a top-50 defense.

Miami’s 1.276 PPP against Houston was far and away the most allowed by the Cougars. The 1.219 PPP against Texas was the third-highest that the Longhorns allowed. As dominant as the Huskies have been on defense in this tournament, I think the Hurricanes are going to score here. Miami has seven players that have played at least 30% of the minutes this season. Within that group, everybody is shooting at least 59% on Close Twos and four players are shooting 39.8% or better on mid-range jumpers. The Hurricanes also have four players in that group shooting at least 38.1% from 3 and Jordan Miller is shooting well above the national average at 35.6%.

UConn is going to get their points as well. While Miami’s defense has played admirably in the tournament, they’ve allowed 1.001, 1.075 and 1.122 PPP over the last three games. UConn has a better offense than any of the three teams they’ve beaten since that opening-round win over Drake. I know Jordan Hawkins is questionable with tummy trouble, but the Huskies have a ton of size and a ton of finishing ability.

I could also see this game being played at a quick pace. Jim Larranaga’s team has sped up both Houston and Texas and I don’t think UConn minds running a little bit. My main concern with the total here is the shooting backdrop of NRG Stadium, but I still feel like both teams will get enough open and high-percentage looks to tickle the twine at a high rate. Plus, these are two quality free throw shooting teams if the game is called tightly or if we have a foul fest near the end of regulation.

Pick: Over 149

Other Game

Florida Atlantic Owls vs. San Diego State Aztecs (-2.5, 131.5)

I’ve gone back and forth in terms of how much I like San Diego State and the under in this game. The main problems I have with backing the Aztecs are that Matt Bradley has been awful in this tournament and that San Diego State does not shoot the ball well in a traditional setting, let alone a football stadium. This is an Aztecs team that ranks 176th in 3P% offense at 33.9% (national average 34%) and 237th in 2P% offense at 49% (national average 50.1%). The Owls are a top-40 team by adjusted defensive efficiency and rank 11th in 2P% defense.

For FAU, this game is about shooting the basketball well from outside. I don’t think the Owls are going to have a lot of success getting inside, especially when Nathan Mensah is on the floor for the Aztecs. Will a team shooting 36.5% from 3 with a 44% 3P Rate shoot well enough given these conditions and the pressure of the game? I really, truly don’t know.

I also could see a scenario where this game grinds to a halt. FAU has been a tempo chameleon, simply playing at the pace that the other team wants. I think San Diego State wants to ugly this game up as much as possible and try to win a physical battle with the finesse Owls. Obviously FAU has played a physical game against Tennessee, so it isn’t like they’re unprepared.

I think the higher variance level of the other semifinal creates a lot more betting opportunities. I think this is a close, one or two-possession game. Free throws could push it over, but bad shooting could make it a stone cold under. I lean towards SDSU and the under, but not for anything I’d really consider a “best bet”. There are only two games and the lines should be really tight with two heavily-bet contests and a lot of action that will mold and shape the number.

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