The No. 1 Louisville Cardinals have won 15 straight games and are now just one win away from claiming the NCAA Tournament title.
Louisville enters Monday's game as a 4-point favorite against the spread and a -180 favorite on the money line against the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines, who are going off at +160 on the money line.
But Michigan, which limped into the tournament, is 5-0 ATS since it got here and looks to pull the upset. However, history says that lower seeds seldom beat higher seeds in the title game.
"Since 2001, the final has pitted a higher seed against a lower seed nine times and the lower seed has won just twice," according to Jack Randall, a basketball analyst at OddsShark.com.
"And the favorites also usually cover the spread," he added, pointing to a 9-3 ATS run in the past dozen finals.
Louisville is making its first appearance in the National Championship Game since 1986. After steamrolling through most of their opponents over the last few months, with 12 double-digits wins in their previous 14 games, the Cardinals struggled with No. 9 Wichita State and trailed by as much as 12 points at one point in the game.
However, Louisville eventually scraped out a 72-68 win, improving to 15-0 SU with an 11-4 ATS record over its last 15 games.
Michigan also wasn’t at its best on Saturday, struggling offensively and managing just 61 points against No. 4 Syracuse's stingy zone defense. But the Wolverines edged out a 61-56 win to improve to a perfect 5-0 SU and ATS in the tournament.
Michigan had entered the tournament on a 6-6 SU and 2-10 ATS skid, but those troubles are clearly a thing of the past now. Michigan was the youngest team in the field of 68 this season and will try to win the school’s first title since the “Fab Five” did so back in 1989.
Neither of these teams are a stranger to offense, which could lead to the OVER being a very popular bet. The total has gone OVER in each of Louisville’s last nine games, and while Michigan struggled against Syracuse on defense it was averaging nearly 80 points per game in tournament play leading into that game.
Both teams should be comfortable playing an up-tempo style as indicated by the total, which is currently set at 138 points.
Both Louisville and Michigan weren’t at their best in their Final Four matchups on Saturday, but both are so talented that they were able to overcome their struggles and advance to the championship.
Louisville is the stronger and more experienced team, but Michigan is more than capable of running with them.
This should be an outstanding NCAA Championship Game.