Final Four Odds & Betting Guide: Gonzaga-UCLA, Baylor-Houston
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It was not an easy road to the Final Four for any involved. However, despite the numerous challenges and obstacles throughout an unprecedented college basketball season, the NCAA Tournament has reached its final weekend.
There’s no question it was worth the wait.
Upsets and bracket busters defined the first two rounds, but the cream of the crop mostly prevailed to reach the Final Four in Indianapolis. No. 1 seeds Gonzaga and Baylor, No. 2 Houston and No. 11 UCLA are the last squads standing, with the Bruins the lone surprise contestant as just the second-ever play-in team to make the Final Four.
UCLA still faces extremely long college basketball futures odds to win the national championship, entering its semifinal matchup with Gonzaga Saturday as a +3000 longshot to earn the title.
Gonzaga remains a heavy college basketball betting favorite – the Bulldogs were around +125 to win it all entering the Sweet 16 and are currently -250 to cut down the nets after breezing past Creighton and USC.
NCAA Tournament Championship Odds
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Baylor vs. Houston Odds & Betting Tips
- Point Spread: Baylor (-5) vs. Houston
- Over/Under: 134.5
- Moneyline: Baylor -225, Houston +185
- Tipoff: 5:14 p.m. Saturday, April 3
Baylor Betting Outlook
Baylor was eyeing its own unbeaten regular season when the Bears were forced to put it on pause for three weeks. They finally succumbed shortly after with a loss at Kansas to move to 18-1, but Baylor has looked every bit as good as it did early this season over the first four tournament games.
The +275 odds make sense given the challenge Gonzaga would hypothetically pose in the title game, but first the Bears need to worry about a talented Houston team that plays suffocating defense and slows the game down to a crawl.
Baylor has an outstanding backcourt with guard Jared Butler (16.5 points per game), MaCio Teague (15.9 ppg) and Davion Mitchell, perhaps the best on-ball defender in college basketball. We know the Baylor guards should be able to handle Houston’s pressure, but the Cougars can really mess with opposing offenses and make this a highly intriguing opener.
Houston Betting Outlook
The Cougars are still not that highly regarded with oddsmakers in terms of futures bets or the point spread against Baylor.
However, this is just the second time all season Houston has been an underdog – the Cougars were +3 in a Nov. 29 matchup against Texas Tech and pulled off the outright win, 64-53. Houston has now won 11 straight games and last lost Feb. 18 against Wichita State, 68-63.
It’s also worth noting that while the Cougars have looked strong, they had the easiest path to the Final Four in NCAA Tournament history – on paper, at least. They’re the first team to face four double-digit seeds en route to the semifinals and let a big lead slip away in a 67-61 win over No. 12 Oregon State.
Junior guard Quentin Grimes is also in the mix for Most Outstanding Player futures, checking in at No. 7 on the board with +1200 odds.
Who are our Final Four best bets? Check out our expert NCAA picks, including for NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, at bookesEDGE.
Gonzaga vs. UCLA Odds & Betting Tips
- Point Spread: Gonzaga (-14.5) vs. UCLA
- Over/Under: 145.5
- Moneyline: Gonzaga -1430, UCLA +700
- Tipoff: Approximately 8:34 p.m. Saturday, April 3
Gonzaga Betting Outlook
The Bulldogs have not been tested yet and get what seems like a highly favorable matchup on Saturday. Gonzaga is a -14.5 favorite over UCLA, its biggest line since the Bulldogs were a -15.5 favorite against Oklahoma in the second round. Gonzaga narrowly covered in an 87-71 win and has covered in all four NCAA Tournament wins.
The Bulldogs are also heavily represented at the top of the Most Outstanding Player betting board. Forward Drew Timme is the significant favorite at +150, point guard Jalen Suggs is +400 and forward Corey Kispert is +500.
That core has been even better throughout the postseason, and the -14.5 point spread says enough about expectations for Saturday’s Final Four matchup with the Bruins. A National Championship game against Baylor would be the dream matchup – the Bulldogs and Bears have been the clear-cut top two teams in college basketball all season and were originally scheduled to play a nonconference game that was ultimately cancelled.
We still think -250 is a fair line for national title odds, but Suggs MOP remains an intriguing bet at +400.
UCLA Betting Outlook
The Bruins have come out of nowhere in March for one of the most unlikely Final Four runs in recent memory.
UCLA had to survive an overtime scare against Michigan State in the First Four, trailing the Spartans by 14 at one point in the first half. That was apparently enough to get the Bruins rolling as Mick Cronin’s squad went on to win four more, including knocking off No. 2-seed Alabama in the Sweet 16 and top-seeded Michigan in the Elite Eight.
Oddsmakers and most of the public are expecting a blowout here, with Gonzaga favored by more than two touchdowns. However, fading the Bruins has been an awful bet lately – UCLA was an underdog in four of its first five games and also covered as a -5.5 favorite against Abilene Christian in the second round.
Now we’ll see if the Bruins can cover for a sixth consecutive time and perhaps even pull off another stunning upset.