March Madness 2014 Final Four – Can Kentucky Make History?

Can Kentucky's John Calipari repeat his 2011-12 success?

Can Kentucky’s John Calipari repeat his 2011-12 success?

 

No one will ever have it all figured out.  No one wants to.

 

Aaron Craft lay flat on his back on the hardwood and let the madness wash over him. Dayton had just upset Craft’s Ohio State Buckeyes in the first game of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, bursting millions of brackets as Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage pulled up outside college basketball’s Big Dance.  Dayton’s run to the Elite Eight was the standout story of this year’s March Madness for the neutral, as they also toppled the much-fancied Syracuse and fellow giant killers, Stanford, before finally being stopped by No. 1 Florida.  The other major upsets came from Stanford and Mercer, who beat Kansas and Duke, respectively, and saw to it that the top three players in this year’s heralded freshmen class (Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker) would be watching the business end of the tournament from their couches.  This is how Mercer’s Kevin Canevari felt about that.

 

The Final Four is where it gets serious.  Cinderella had her fun, but was escorted out after one too many Jägerbombs.  The true heavyweights remain: Florida, UConn, Wisconsin and Kentucky.  Pay attention to the seedings no more; though UConn is a No. 7 and Kentucky a No. 8, both are power programs which have produced champions in the past four years, while No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Wisconsin have been consistent all season – there are no underdogs.  Still, of the 11 million brackets filled out for ESPN’s Tournament challenge, just 612 predicted that these would be the last four teams left despite the fact that Kentucky was the preseason No. 1 and Florida was the midseason No. 1.

 

March Madness Final Four Betting Odds:

Florida +110

Kentucky +250

Wisconsin +275

Connecticut +800

(All odds provided by AllYouBet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

The favourites before the tournament coming off a 30-game winning streak, Florida is the team to beat.  Here’s where it gets interesting though: two of the other Final Four teams, Wisconsin and UConn, are the only teams to have beaten Florida this season, while Kentucky came within a point in their last matchup with the Gators.  Florida’s record this season is a result of the nation’s best defense, toughness and consistency, all owing to the maturity of the squad.  Before the season, maturity was not a word often associated with point guard Scottie Wilbekin, and his story is definitely worth a read.  Florida would certainly not be here without him.  Wilbekin is one of four seniors in the starting lineup and no Gator is expected to be selected in the first round of this year’s NBA Draft – are Florida the anti-Kentucky?

 

Last season was tough for UConn; their long-time Hall of Fame coach, Jim Calhoun, retired before the season, star players from the previous season, Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb, had left for the NBA and they were banned from the NCAA Tournament for not meeting academic standards.  This year, the Huskies are back with a vengeance that few expected, thanks to coach Kevin Ollie and star player Shabazz Napier.  UConn are also in the NCAA Women’s Final Four, but if they are to have any chance of double success, the Huskies need to hope Napier is on form.  Connecticut are far from a one-man team, and boast a balanced, scoring support behind their point guard, but it is clear that they will go as far as Napier, the tournament’s leading scorer (23.3 ppg) takes them.

 

How to describe the 2013/14 Wisconsin Badgers?  “White guys.”  Frank Kaminsky’s words, not mine.  But the Badgers’ star center’s response to the question of how their last opponents would describe the team tells you all you need to know.  Wisconsin are likeable; a feel-good story.  Kaminsky doesn’t take himself too seriously, even if NBA scouts have started to, and low-key coach Bo Ryan has finally led his Badgers to the Final Four after coming close countless times over the last decade.  Though Kaminsky has emerged as a force in recent games, Wisconsin’s success has been built on a slow, efficient offensive style, rather than star play.  They have already beaten Florida and Kentucky this season, and a tough schedule culminated in that victory over the Wildcats in the last round.  Having last won the tournament in 1941, Wisconsin has far and away the longest drought of any of the remaining teams.

 

Coming into the season with one of the most heralded recruiting classes ever and ranked No. 1 in the nation, many believed that John Calipari’s Kentucky would repeat the success of his 2011/12 championship-winning team.  Individual talent was never an issue, but the team often looked like less than the sum of its parts, with the Harrison twins in particular struggling in the backcourt.  After a huge loss to Florida on March 10, Calipari concluded that a change was in order, and tweaked his tactics to give the players more freedom at the expense of set plays.  The results speak for themselves; Kentucky’s last three games have seen them dispose of last year’s finalists, Louisville and Michigan, and the previously undefeated Wichita State.  Julius Randle has cemented his place amongst the top players in this year’s draft and is certainly the man to watch, but both Andrew and Aaron Harrison have stepped up their play in the last two weeks and Marcus Lee has emerged from nowhere to replace the injured Willie Cauley-Stein.  Kentucky has gained momentum and cohesion to go with their star power and will be very difficult to stop.

 

Betting Instinct Tip – Back Kentucky -1.5 against Wisconsin, at -110 with Intertops.eu

 

Cathal avatar CATHAL LOUGHRAN (cathalloughran) is a student and writer from Ireland, based in London.  He  writes about college basketball and the NBA for Betting Instinct

Kentucky Could Yet Take Down Florida Favorites in US College Basketball Final Four Showdown this Weekend

Final Four odds

Underdog bettors are cautiously optimistic about Kentucky’s chances of beating the favored Florida Gators in the NCAA Final Four basketball championship this weekend

American college basketball is down to the Final Four this weekend and by Monday there will be a new NCAA champion. A lot of people seem convinced that Florida will take the title but a couple of worthy opponents may have something to say about that. Online sportsbooks like AllYouBet.ag seem to think the Florida Gators will beat UConn on Saturday and then take the national title. No brainer.

However, in the second of two Final Four matchups on Saturday All You Bet bookmakers currently give the Kentucky Wildcats a slim 1.5–point advantage over Wisconsin.  Kentucky came within two points of upsetting Florida just two weeks ago in a game that looked like it could go either way. The Gators likely aren’t keen on facing them in the title match.

“The Kentucky-Wisconsin game will be very close. Florida could be playing either the Wildcats or the Badgers on Monday,” said All You Bet’s bookmaker. “Should the Badgers upset the odds and go all the way this year, plenty of All You Bet customers will be celebrating as we saw substantial action on the underdog as the tournament got underway.”

Final Four Game Odds

Florida -300

Connecticut +250

______________

Kentucky -130

Wisconsin +110

______________

All You Bet’s current lines see the Gators as 6.5-point favorites to avenge their defeat by UConn earlier this season and stop the Huskies’ impressive tournament run.

Odds to Win NCAA Men’s Basketball Outright

Florida +110

Kentucky +250

Wisconsin +275

Connecticut +800

 

______________________________________________

The Gamblogger gambling blogGAMBLOGGER (gamblogger) is one of the editors of BettingInstinct. He talks mainly about poker and casino games in his gambling blog and on his YouTube channel but can’t help but get caught up in sports betting during Super Bowl and March Madness.

The Only Teams to Have Beaten Florida This Season are also in the NCAAB Final Four

NCAA Final Four

Florida is the NCAAB favorite of this weekend’s Final Four but underdog Wisconsin could surprise everyone

The Florida Gators may have been a favorites since March Madness betting began a couple of weeks ago with some worth opponents this weekend during the Final Four it would be premature to crack the champagne just yet. Although they see some possibility of an underdog upset, Intertops Sportsbook oddsmakers do expect Florida to win on Saturday and for the Gators to ultimately get past their three worthy opponents to take the Championship title on Monday.

At the moment  the Gators are a six-point favorite to avenge their defeat to UConn and stop the Huskies’ memorable run that has seen them eliminate the Number 2, 3 and 4 seeds in the East Region.

Intertops Sportsbook favors the Florida Gators (+110) to win the NCAA Championship on Monday over Kentucky (+250), Wisconsin (+275) and Connecticut (+800).

“Florida started the tournament as the favorite and is the only number one seed to make the Final Four,” observed an Intertops sportsbook bookmaker.  “After winning all four games so far — by double digits — the Gators will be the team to beat in Arlington.  But things are not as clear cut as they might seem at first glance. It could well be that exactly the three teams that stand the most chance of thwarting Florida’s dreams are also traveling to Texas: Wisconsin and Connecticut are the only teams to have beaten them this season and the Kentucky Wildcats came within two points of doing so just three weeks ago.”

“For Connecticut coming in as a decided underdog, having already played Florida and beaten them should give them not only some confidence but also some idea of how to play the Gators,” said Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis.

Intertops will also be taking live wagers during the games that begin at 6:05 pm and 8:45 pm ET Saturday.

 

______________________________________________

The Gamblogger gambling blogGAMBLOGGER (gamblogger) is one of the editors of BettingInstinct. He talks mainly about poker and casino games in his gambling blog and on his YouTube channel but can’t help but get caught up in sports betting during Super Bowl and March Madness.

March Madness — What’s Up with the Underdog Betting?!

Underdog bets have March Madness bookies scratching their heads

No surprise the Gators are getting a lot of betting action as US college basketball betting heats up. At +450 Florida is a clear favorite. But bookmakers say they’ve also seen unusual interest in a couple of March Madness underdog bets this year. Let’s face it, Wisconsin (+2500) and Villanova (+2000) are hardly contendors for the American college basketball title, yet a lot of players have been betting on them. Go figger.

Wisconsin was defeated last weekend by Nebraska so their popularity with bettors could change. But Villanova scored over 60 points in all but one of its 31 games in the regular season so who knows?! One thing we know about March Madness is: anything’s possible.

“Wichita State (+1000) and the Michigan Spartans (+2000) are two teams that players seem to like as well,” said an AllYouBet bookmaker.  “Syracuse Orange (+1400) has also seen some action, although the team has struggled recently.”

The Final Four tournament will culminate when the men’s college basketball title is decided April 7th at AT&T Stadium, North Texas.

_________________________________________________

March Madness Free Bet

March Madness Sportsbook Bonus Offers

$100 BONUS —  Claim a 50% bonus, up to $100 (Use coupon code MADNESS14 when you  deposit at AllYouBet.ag).

$100 FREE BET — Wagers $1000 or more on NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball

Details

Attractive odds on both NCAA and NBA are posted under the “Basketball” tab in AllYouBet.ag sportsbook

_________________________________________________

The Gamblogger gambling blogGAMBLOGGER (gamblogger) is one of the editors of BettingInstinct. He talks mainly about poker and casino games in his gambling blog and on his YouTube channel but can’t help but get caught up in sports betting during Super Bowl and March Madness.