The Florida Gators, the NCAA tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, will put their 30-game win streak on the line in Saturday’s first national semifinal game against the last team to hand them a defeat.
The Connecticut Huskies upset the Gators on Dec. 2 and are now riding a 9-2 against-the-spread streak in tournament action over the years.
Can UConn continue its underdog run, which has seen it win five of six outright when getting points?
Or does the trend that favors higher-seeded teams in the Final Four continue? In 14 games since 2005 (excluding games in which both teams had the same seed), the higher-ranked teams are 13-1. They were almost as dominant at the betting window, riding an 11-2-1 ATS streak, according to the Odds Shark March Madness database.
Spread and total points scored betting line
The Gators opened as six-point favorites, and the line moved a half-point in their favor midweek at most shops monitored by Odds Shark. The total was 126.5. (Compare lines and consensus on the Odds Shark matchup report.)
Odds Shark computer pick
Why pick Connecticut to cover the spread
Is it safe to call Connecticut the most consistent team of our era when it comes to March Madness? After completing three consecutive upsets to win the East Region, the Huskies danced their way into their third Final Four in six years.
There is no sign of Duke, Louisville or Michigan State, but the Huskies are back in the national semifinals largely due to Shabazz Napier, who has averaged 23.3 points per game in the Big Dance.
In 14 games since 2005 (excluding games in which both teams had the same seed), the higher-ranked teams are 13-1. At the betting window, they were almost as dominant, riding an 11-2-1 ATS streak.
Why pick Florida to cover the spread
Florida's loss to UConn was more than four months ago, and it is no longer significant.
It’s been quite evident just how dominant this team is. It has won all four of its games in the Big Dance by double digits, even contests in which it held off late charges by UCLA and Dayton.
Amid their 30-0 run, the Gators have covered seven of their last 10 outings and are 5-1 ATS in Final Four games since 2000.
Smart betting pick
This is one of those games in which it looks easy to take the top seed, as you can't imagine any team derailing its efforts. But knowing what the Huskies are capable of, and seeing how Napier can take over a game, the underdog is the smart betting pick here.
Napier has arguably been the most outstanding player of the entire tournament.
When you consider that Florida has played 10 games this season in which the margin of victory was within six points, you can see how bettors might flock to the underdog in this situation.
Connecticut Huskies: No. 190
Florida Gators: No. 7 (per Odds Shark power rankings)
Final Four betting trends
- Gators look to avenge Dec. 2 loss to Huskies.
- UConn is 5-1 SU and ATS past six games as underdogs.
- UConn is 9-2 ATS past 11 tournament games.
- Florida is 5-1 ATS in Final Four games since 2000.
- UConn is 6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS in Final Four games since 1999.