Virginia Opens As Slight Favorite in NCAA 2019 Title Game
The Texas Tech Red Raiders and Virginia Cavaliers will meet in the NCAA Tournament Championship game on Monday night. The Cavaliers, who are a No. 1 seed, opened at -1.5 at PointsBet, but the number has since dropped to -1 as fans of March Madness betting began jumping on the underdog.
If the number holds, it will mark the fifth time in the 2019 NCAA Tournament that the Red Raiders have been posted as the underdog. They don’t seem to have a problem with that as they keep on winning even though the oddsmakers don’t expect them to.
A Defensive Battle Looms
It’s hard to argue with the fact that Texas Tech has been the most impressive team in the NCAA Tournament so far. They have won four of their five games by double-digits, including their 61-51 win over No. 2 Michigan State.
Their signature defense, which led the nation in the KenPom.com ratings Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, has put the clamps down on their opponents, holding them to a paltry 55.8 points per game.
The Cavaliers defense is quite strong too as they are fifth in the aforementioned KenPom category. They’ve held opponents to just 58.6 points per game during this year’s tournament, although some say will feel that they were lucky to make it this far.
The Cavs needed a miraculous last-second basket to push their Elite Eight game with No. 3 Purdue to overtime and then were lucky that the referees missed a double-dribble at the end of their win versus No. 5 Auburn.
PointsBet is, in fact, refunding people who bet Auburn on the moneyline:
⚠️Karma Kommittee Ruling⚠️— PointsBet Sportsbook (@PointsBetUSA) April 7, 2019
The emergency Saturday night gathering has reached a verdict:
ALL MONEYLINE BETS ON AUBURN WILL BE REFUNDED IN FULL!
The missed double-dribble on Virginia's Ty Jerome was enough, so we had to do right by Tigers backers! pic.twitter.com/5YHWJh5Q5t
One bet that is worth keeping in mind for the Championship Game is Texas Tech at the half. Under current head coach Chris Beard, the Red Raiders have now covered nine straight second half spreads. Overall, they are 33-8-1 ATS against non-conference opponents on second-half spreads and 24-4 on the road or at a neutral site.
Low Over-Under Already Dropping
The total for the Texas Tech-Virginia contest opened at 119 but it has been dropping. Both PointsBet and FanDuel had bumped the number to 118 as of Sunday morning as action pushed the number down.
With two of the best defensive teams in the country playing in the championship game, the total for the Virginia-Texas Tech is this low but keep in mind that if this number holds (or stays below 123.5), that will be the lowest over-under for a championship game in the shot clock era.
Since 2005, the under is 7-2 when the total is set at 130 points or fewer in either Final Four or Championship games.
Moneyline Also Tight
With the point spread being so low, the moneyline almost mirrors it. Virginia is on the board at -120 while Texas Tech as at -108 with 888Sport. Although it seems like the point spread is a nonfactor in a game like this, keep in mind that Virginia has obviously won five straight to get to the Championship Game but they’ve failed to cover the spread in three of those five games.
They are just 2-5 ATS in the NCAA Tournament over the last three seasons and 7-13 ATS in their last 20 during March Madness.
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