Makinen: March Madness Final Four trends

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To say the NCAA Tournament has been interesting thus far is a vast understatement. What is left standing after two weekends of play is almost unrecognizable to the Bracketologist. But one thing that has proven important is that playing your best basketball of the season at this time of year can be very fruitful. Miami (a #5 seed), San Diego State (#5), Florida Atlantic (#9), and even Connecticut (#4) to a lesser degree may be surprises to the average fan, but anyone who has watched them play in their last four games can’t be shocked that they will be playing for a title this weekend in Houston. 

The Final Four games on Saturday are not what we expected, but it doesn’t take anyway anything from the magnitude of the contests, nor the opportunities available to bettors. With that in mind, I continue my series on qualifying all of the trends I posted in my Round-By-Round and Conference articles on the VSiN Tournament Betting Guide to the specific 2023 matchups, I am back to share the Final Four data. As you’ll see once again, there is some very definitive data pointing in specific side and total directions to help you sort it out, even if the teams you thought would be here aren’t. Let’s get right into it, and you’ll see that I’ve again added any pertinent head-to-head series trends when they were worthwhile.

Final Four Round Trends

– In the Final Four Round, outright winning teams own a record of 34-6-2 ATS (85%) since ’01, although most recently, Gonzaga did beat UCLA in a 2021 classic without covering. (ATS On Outright Winners)

– Final Four favorites of 5-points or more are on a solid surge of 18-3 SU and 12-8-1 ATS (60%) over the last 23 years. (Connecticut -5.5)

– The last five Final Four games that didn’t feature a #1 or #2 seed have all gone to the better-seeded team, both SU & ATS (100%). (Connecticut -5.5, San Diego St -2)

– ACC teams have been most successful in the Final Four Round, going 11-5 SU and 10-6 ATS (62.5%) since ’01, including 8-2 SU and 6-4 ATS when favored. (Miami +5.5)

– On totals, the last seven Final Four games that had posted numbers of 130 or less went UNDER, producing just 112.2 combined PPG on average. In all other games, totals are 23-14-2 OVER (62.2%) in the Finals Four since ’99. (OVER 132 MIA-SDSU, OVER 149.5 CON-MIA) 

– The last four semifinal games all went OVER the total, extending a string of 11-4-1 OVER (73.3%) in the last eight tournaments. (OVER 132 MIA-SDSU, OVER 149.5 CON-MIA)

– Bettors have been sharp in moving lines since 2015, going 9-0 SU & 6-3 ATS in games that have been the point spread shift off the opener. (Fla Atlantic +2.5 to +2)

Applicable Conference Trends for Final Four Round games

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Steve Makinen
As one of the original founders of StatFox, Steve Makinen has been in the business of sports betting and data analysis for almost 25 years now. In his time in the industry, Steve has worked in a variety of capacities on both sides of the betting counter, from his early days of developing the StatFox business, to almost a decade of oddsmaking consulting for one of the world's leading sportsbooks, to his last seven years as Point Spread Weekly and Analytics Director with VSiN. Steve has always believed that number crunching and handicapping through foundational trends and systems is the secret to success and he shares this data with VSiN readers on a daily basis for all of the major sports.