How Does A Pro Bookmaker Handicap the Final Four Matchups?

How Does A Pro Bookmaker Handicap the Final Four Matchups?
© USA Today

After the bracket-busing upsets and heart-stopping buzzer beaters, the March Madness Final Four games are set.

The matchups this weekend feature some of the most storied programs in NCAA men’s basketball.

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On Saturday, Kansas faces Villanova, followed by a Tobacco Road clash between Duke and North Carolina.

The two winning teams play Monday for the national title.

The games are being played in New Orleans at the Caesars Superdome.

Gambling.com asked professional bookmaker Casey Lewless to break down the weekend games.

Lewless is a veteran Nevada oddsmaker now running the Penn National sportsbooks in Louisiana.

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Here is how Lewless sees Saturday’s games:

Kansas vs. Villanova

It looks like a slam dunk for the Jayhawks, as they have rolled through the tournament.

But if you do a deep dive, you’ll see that Kansas might have had the lightest four opponents any teams has had to beat to get to the Final Four.

Kansas upended Texas Southern, Creighton, Providence and Miami.

So, are the Jayhawks this good, or have they had a cupcake schedule?

For Villanova, the loss of guard Justin Moore to an Achilles tear is gigantic, as the Wildcats were using maybe a six-man rotation as it was.

Collin Gillespie might keep Nova around, but this looks like a Kansas win.

Take Kansas at -4, and probably over 132 on the point total.

Some player prop bets of note: For Kansas, take Ochai Agbaji at over 1.5 three-point field goals made, Christian Braun at over 1.5 assists, and David McCormack at over 9.5 points scored.

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Duke vs. North Carolina

How do you figure this one out?

Duke won 87-67 at North Carolina, and North Carolina won 94-81 at Duke.

Brady Manek has been a difference maker for the Tar Heels. North Carolina let Walker Kessler go to Auburn but added Manek and his outside shooting to keep other teams honest.

Also, the Tar Heels’ Armando Bacot has finally realized his 5-star potential down on the blocks.

There are a lot of first- and second-year players in this one, so you cannot side with experience.

If you're a believer in UNC, I usually like a 75%-25% split, with my money on underdogs.

For example, with a bankroll of $100, I would consider $75 on UNC at +4 and $25 on UNC the moneyline at +165.

The point total of 151 seems to be about right.

Some player props of note: For Duke, with a quiet-so-far AJ Griffin, I'm leaning to over 1.5 three-point field goals made, and point guard Wendell Moore Jr. over 3.5 assists for the game.

For North Carolina, take Brady Manek's point total at under 16.5.

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