Wisconsin Badgers vs. Arizona Wildcats Betting Odds Preview, Elite Eight Pick

OddsShark.comFeatured ColumnistMarch 29, 2014

Arizona forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson drives during the first half against San Diego State in an NCAA men's college basketball tournament regional semifinal, Thursday, March 27, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill

The West Region final finds the top two seeds battling for the right to play in Jerry Jones’ playpen next weekend. The Wisconsin Badgers bring an 8-2 against-the-spread tournament run into their battle with the Arizona Wildcats, who have lost in their last three trips to the Elite Eight.

The Badgers have lost five straight games to No. 1 seeds, but they covered the spread in the three most recent losses in this situation.


Elite Eight Spread and total points scored betting line

The Wildcats opened as 1.5-point favorites, but the line was bet up to three points by early Saturday at most books monitored by Odds Shark. The total was 130. (Compare lines and consensus on the Odds Shark matchup report)


Odds Shark computer pick

68.8-64.5 Wildcats


Why pick Wisconsin to cover the spread

The No. 2 Badgers’ offense can be effective when it gets rolling. Since the ‘Cats will be focused on getting their offense going, there won’t be much resistance for a Badgers team that shot 52 percent from the field on Thursday.

This is a phase of the tournament where Arizona has stumbled, so Wisconsin can try to extend that misery.


Why pick Arizona to cover the spread

No. 1 Arizona, which has covered in seven of its last nine tournament games, was impressive in its come-from-behind win Thursday night against San Diego State’s top-tier defense.

The Aztecs frustrated Arizona to the point that its star player Nick Johnson missed his first 10 shots from the field. Wisconsin isn’t as aggressive or suffocating as the Aztecs, which would allow Arizona to score freely from the opening tip.

The over-under value is lower than expected here, and an OVER may be worth investigating.


Smart betting pick

The OVER has cashed in seven of the last eight times the top two seeds have met, and this looks to be the smartest bet in this regional final. In 30 games pitting the top two seeds against each other, the trend is pretty lame at 16-14 favoring the No. 1 schools.

The short line leaves one to wonder if the underdog is capable of winning outright, while knowing the top-seeded Wildcats can pull away late for a win and cover.

Either way, one of these teams is getting it done because of its strong offensive effort. A shootout is more likely than anything else. Play this one high.


Power rankings

Wisconsin Badgers: No. 34

Arizona Wildcats: No. 6 (per Odds Shark power ranks)


Elite Eight betting trends

  • Arizona is 7-2 ATS past nine tournament games
  • Arizona lost three straight Elite Eight games
  • Wisconsin 8-2 ATS past 10 tournament games
  • Wisconsin lost five straight games to No. 1 seeds (but 3-0 ATS past three) – last victory vs No. 1 was 2000 vs Zona
  • OVER is 7-1 past eight meetings of 1 and 2 seeds
  • 1 seeds 16-14 SU vs 2 seeds since 1997


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