The 2013 NCAA championship game tips off in a few hours, and it’s looking to be yet another great matchup in a tournament full of thrilling contests and unforeseen surprises.
Both the Louisville Cardinals and Michigan Wolverines are more than capable of winning, but Vegas has given one of these programs a slight edge to claim the national title.
If you are looking to bet on the outcome of the final game of the 2012-13 college basketball season, you’ve come to the right place. We have the latest point spread and total, an updated injury report and plenty of advice on which way to lean in this showdown.
Let’s take a look at all of that and more in our 2013 NCAA championship game preview.
*Lines courtesy of ScoresAndOdds .com.
When: Monday, April 8, at 9:23 p.m. ET
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.
Live Stream: March Madness On Demand
Injury Report (via USA Today): Louisville, G, Kevin Ware: Leg (Out)
Point Spread: Louisville -3.5 over Michigan
This is a great line, but we’re giving the edge to the underdog in the title battle.
Michigan has arguably been the best team throughout the tournament, displaying offensive dominance in each game—including a thriller in the Final Four against Syracuse to get here.
While Louisville certainly gets credit for its efforts, it had an easy path as the No. 1 overall seed in this event, and they were nearly upset by the Cinderella of 2013, the Wichita State Shockers, in the other Final Four match.
The Wolverines starting five is capable of absolutely going off at any time, with Trey Burke leading the way. The sophomore point guard has been awarded multiple player of the year honors and continues to rack up accolades as he leads his squad on this deep run through March Madness.
Add in a complete supporting cast that includes Tim Hardaway Jr., Glenn Robinson III, Nik Stauskas and Mitch McGary, and we have a hard time seeing how UL could overcome this powerhouse by more than four.
Certainly take the points—and those trying to earn a bigger bang for their buck should look into the money line, which is currently set at Michigan +155.
This one is looking like a lock to go over.
Both Michigan and Louisville can score at will, which is evident by the sheer amount of points both programs put up during the regular season and the tournament.
The Wolverines averaged a stout 75.2 points per game during the course of the 2012-13 campaign, which is, fittingly enough, the exact amount that they have achieved during their five-game NCAA tournament stretch.
The Cardinals haven't been too shabby either, putting up 73.6 points per game this season and averaging a whopping 79.0 points during their Big Dance contests.
Louisville’s press defense gets a ton of hype, but it hasn’t held an opponent to less than 63 points since the Round of 32, when the Cardinals stomped on Colorado State, 82-56.
UM possesses an agile point guard and plenty of other ball handlers that will have no problem breaking down the Louisville press and finding a way to score.
Factor in that the Cardinals have arguably the best scorer in this event, guard Russ Smith, going up against a subpar Maize and Blue defense, and you are looking at a recipe for pure offense on Monday night.
This is going to be an epic clash between two traditional power programs looking to add another page to the history books.
Which team will win?
Neither side is going to back down, and both will be looking to run the other out of the gym by putting on an explosive display of scoring.
Don’t expect much elite defense to be played, especially on Michigan’s side, as these foes concentrate on executing the offense in order to pick up the “W.”
It’s a tough game to bet, but we’re parlaying the Michigan money line with the over, and we think it could pay dividends when all is said and done.
Final Score Prediction: Michigan 81 – Louisville 79