NCAA Tournament 2013: Breaking Down Initial Odds for Championship Game
The Final Four has been whittled down to two, and the sports world's most dramatic tournament has produced its final contenders: Louisville and Michigan.
In one corner, we have a perennial favorite in the Cardinals, who are repeat Final Four participants and boast two national titles to their name.
At the other end of the floor, we have the Trey Burke-led Michigan Wolverines, who have advanced beyond the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1994.
In what should be a wildly entertaining championship game, fans will be treated to a clash between two big-ticket programs, each looking to earn its first national title since the 1980s.
Heading into Monday night's title tilt, here's a look at the early odds for what should be an instant classic.
According to Sportsbook, Louisville is the favorite by -3.5, which should be an enticing line for those cheering for and leaning toward the Wolverines.
At this stage, both teams have very realistic shots at winning, as both teams have found their respective rhythms as the tournament has progressed.
On the one hand, gambling aficionados have Rick Pitino's Cardinals, who are rightfully the favorites heading into Monday.
They've got an elite offensive talent in Russ Smith and a title-winning coach on the sidelines, so if everything goes according to plan, Kevin Ware's teammates will be cutting down the nets at the Georgia Dome.
Like Sportsbook, Vegas Insider has Louisville pegged to win by -3.5, as the AP No. 2 has virtually steamrolled the competition on its way to Atlanta.
But before everyone crowns Pitino, the Cardinals will have to get by a very talented Michigan team that boasts three legitimate NBA prospects, which is never an easy task.
Now that Trey Burke has hit his groove, the Wolverines have a realistic shot at upsetting the Cardinals, but they'll need big evenings out of Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr. to get there.
Overall, with Michigan projected as an over three-point underdog, the title game does present a late opportunity for those who flopped in bracket pools to make up for losses with a one-game proposition.
On paper, one would assume this should be a win for the Cardinals, but given the Wolverines' explosive offense and athleticism, Michigan will certainly be hanging around deep into the second half.
As we've seen throughout this tournament, talent (not systems) has won out, so expect Michigan to stake its claim as college basketball's best program on Monday night.
Michigan 71, Louisville 67
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