Final Four Best Bets

And then there were four (tip of my Hercule Poirot bowler hat to the late, great Agatha Christie). It’s been no mystery here in the Tuley’s Takes home office that this NCAA Tournament has been a roller-coaster ride as we’ve documented here at and with my betting recaps on Twitter/X @ViewFromVegas.

After starting 5-1 ATS with my best bets in these “takes” columns to start the first and second rounds, I then lost four straight to drop back to .500 at 5-5 ATS. Then, the Sweet 16 was really sweet as we went 4-0 ATS to improve to 9-5 ATS overall, only to drop my first two plays in the Elite Eight (Clemson +3.5 and Under 164.5 in Alabama’s 89-82 win on Saturday) but winning on NC State +6.5 in the Wolfpack’s 76-64 outright upset of Duke on Sunday to salvage a 1-2 ATS mark in the round and stand at 10-7 ATS (58.8%) overall.


I’ll take it — and hope our followers have had a profitable March Madness as well.

As I said on my weekly Sunday night VSiN appearance on “The Greg Peterson Experience” (9:30 p.m. EDT/6:30 p.m. PDT), I’m really thrilled with our results because it’s been a chalky tournament, so to be hitting nearly 59% with my “dog-or-pass” plays when the overall betting results have the favorites at 35-24-1 ATS (59.3%) is pretty gratifying. It shows I’ve been using my little grey cells (another Agatha Christie/Hercule Poirot reference) to find the live underdogs.

Without further ado, let’s get to Saturday’s Final Four matchups. The key to our March Madness success has been being selective, and in most years, I like only one of the underdogs on this weekend. But I’m sure no one will be surprised that I like both dogs in No. 4 seed Alabama and 11th-seeded NC State, especially after we cashed on the Wolfpack in their upsets of Marquette and Duke last weekend.  

NC State +9.5 vs. Purdue

In Saturday’s first national semifinal, NC State tries to continue its Cinderella run against Purdue, a team I need to win a couple of bracket contests. However, as I said on “The Greg Peterson Experience,” while I want Purdue to advance to the championship game, this line is too inflated to pass up with the Wolfpack. I believe I said I would pass if it was 6 or 7 points, but oddsmakers continue to inflate the lines on Purdue and UConn (more on that below) as everyone seems to believe they’re destined to meet in the title game. NC State famously ran through the ACC tournament (like it did in 1983) by winning five games in five days and has carried that momentum in the Big Dance. The Wolfpack doesn’t do anything exceptionally well. They are No. 40 in offensive efficiency at and No. 45 in defensive efficiency, but they’re pretty balanced and clearly in great recent form with the upsets of Marquette and Duke, which makes those numbers moot. And everyone wants to see 6-foot-9 DJ Burns Jr. mixing it up with 7-4 Zach Edey. We also expect a moderate pace here as neither team is anywhere near the Top 100 in adjusted tempo at kenpom with NC State at No. 144 at 68.1 possessions per 40 minutes and Purdue at No. 205 at 67.2. This should lead to more of a half-court game and keep points at a relative premium, making it more likely for us to stay within single digits throughout.

Final Four Best Bet: NC State +9.5

Alabama +12 vs. UConn

I actually gave this out Sunday night as my top play. Similar to the first game, this line is just too inflated with no one seemingly wanting to fade UConn as the Huskies are on a historic run in the tournament at 10-0 ATS since last year with all wins by double digits and eight of those covering the spread by double digits. However, we’re not afraid to bet that a trend like that ends, especially as we’re getting an inflated line. We also get an Alabama team that can run with anyone as we expect the Tide to push the pace and try to turn this into a shootout. Granted, UConn’s defense is capable of shutting down the best offense as the Huskies have done throughout the tournament, including against Illinois. But we’ll take our chances that Bama can keep it close throughout as I have this line at UConn just -5. And even if Alabama falls behind big, we could have a second chance to win the bet with a backdoor cover if UConn clears the bench to start preparing for the title game.

Final Four Best Bet: Alabama +12