Virginia-Texas Tech NCAA Title Game Betting Tips & Best Bets
One team has pulled off one great escape after another, the other continues to defy predictions by shutting down more illustrious opponents. And now we have an NCAA tournament national championship game between two defensive-minded squads, and a matchup that could produce a final score in the 50s.
It probably won’t make for riveting television or for big ratings. But Virginia and Texas Tech both earned their way into college basketball’s grand finale, one through a series of Houdini-like escapes and the other with a defense that nobody in this tournament has been able to solve.
Either the Cavaliers will at last snap a title-less curse that’s long dogged the program and cap one of the greatest redemption stories in NCAA Tournament history , or the Red Raiders will become the game’s least likely champion since Connecticut stormed through the bracket in 2014.
Virginia opened a narrow favorite, now down to point, and the over-under total of 117.5 may be a historic low for a national championship game. Get ready for walking the ball up the court, milking the shot clock, and defense that will place a premium on every bucket.Excited yet? Laying a little action on the game helps to spice things up, so here’s our guide for fans of March Madness betting on college basketball’s one shining moment.
Make your NCAA Title Game bets here:
NCAA Title Games 2019 Best Bets
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, we’re expecting this title game to be less than artistic. Virginia and Texas Tech rank first and third, respectively, in NCAA total defense, allowing opponent averages of 55.5 and 58.8 points per game.
Run and gun, this one won’t be. But that total still strikes us as too low, an overreaction to how Texas Tech has shut down some more offensively-challenged squads in its run to the national championship game.
The Red Raiders played games in the 70s against quality opponents Buffalo and Gonzaga, which have been eclipsed by their lock-down jobs on Michigan and Michigan State that simply didn’t require Chris Beard’s team to put up many points to win.
What makes Texas Tech so good — and so hard to scout, especially in short turnaround games like this one — is that they run not so much a system but tendencies that can be tailored to specific opponents.
During the regular season, they scored 84 to beat Oklahoma State, 91 to beat Kansas, 86 to beat Baylor. They have a star on the offensive end in Jarrett Culver, and can fill it up when they have to.
Then there’s Virginia, which has scored 63 or more in all but one game this tournament, and has a potent 3-point attack it can rely on when needed. Texas Tech has held everyone it’s played in this tournament run below their scoring average, but Virginia has a few more offensive options than Michigan or even Michigan State.
Will Monday night be low scoring? Perhaps hard to watch at times? Almost certainly. But a game in the 60s seems more realistic than one in the 50s, given what we’ve seen of both these teams to this point. Go now to 888Sport and bet the over.
Texas Tech +1
There’s not much wiggle room here given the narrow point spread, so any bet on the Red Raiders is essentially taking them to win. But the against-the-spread trends here — even speaking as someone who thought Texas Tech would lose to Buffalo in the second round — are getting difficult to ignore, and they all point in the Red Raiders’ direction.
Virginia has been living on the edge, needing a last-gasp shot to force overtime and survive Purdue in the Elite Eight, and then a gracious officials’ whistle (and missed double-dribble call) to get past Auburn on Saturday.
In both cases, the Boilermakers and Tigers tried to use strategy rather than defense to put the Cavaliers away in the final seconds of regulation, and both plans backfired. What would Texas Tech have done in those situations? Played defense, and not gotten cute.
The narrow escape of Auburn (a 6-point dog) marked the fourth time in the last six games that Virginia has lost against the spread — and one of those covers was a gift, thanks to free throws with less than two seconds left in overtime against Purdue, which produced the worst beat of the tournament.
Meanwhile, Texas Tech has covered in five straight — including three in a row as point-spread underdogs — and 13 of its last 15. That run has become increasingly difficult to ignore, especially when contrasted against Virginia’s struggles in the same department. Go now to Karamba and bet Texas Tech +1.
Jarrett Culver 17/10 (2.70) for MOP
With Michigan State’s Cassius Winston now ousted, the Texas Tech star becomes the betting favorite to win Most Outstanding Player honors for the Final Four, and he’ll almost certainly receive the award should the Red Raiders prevail Monday night.
Even after suffering through a poor shooting night against the Spartans, he closed with seven points in the final two minutes to help put the game away.
Culver had scored 22 and 19 in the Red Raiders’ two previous games, and opened the tournament with 29 against Northern Kentucky. The rangy shooting guard will be a tough defensive assignment for whichever Cavaliers player draws him, likely either D’Andre Hunter or Kyle Guy.
He’d also continue the recent trend of guards dominating MOP selections — they’ve received the award seven times in the past decade. With either Culver or Guy likely to take it Monday, odds are strong to make it eight out of 11. Go now to 888Sport and bet Culver at 17/10 (2.70).
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