Not too many expected a Final Four matchup pitting the No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats against the second-seeded Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday night.
But the Wildcats arrive on a bevy of winning-spread runs, including a 10-0 run in tournament action and 7-2 in Final Four games since 1996.
Wisconsin, meanwhile, is in on a 10-1 against-the-spread win streak against non-conference foes and has been profitable in the tournament with a 9-2 against-the-spread mark.
Final Four spread and total points scored betting line
The Wildcats opened as one-point favorites, but they were bet up to -2 by Wednesday. The total was 139.5. (Compare lines and consensus on the Odds Shark matchup report.)
Odds Shark computer pick
Why pick Kentucky to cover the spread
Success breeds success, and it generally starts at the top. Coach John Calipari has done all the right things every step of the way, and that includes victories over No. 1 seed and then-undefeated Wichita State, defending national champion Louisville and Michigan in the Midwest Region final.
Kentucky has covered five straight non-conference games and is on a 7-0 spread run on neutral courts. And don’t forget that 10-game winning streak at tournament time.
Why pick Wisconsin to cover the spread
Frank Kaminsky. The Tank led the Badgers to their win over No. 1 Arizona in the West Region final, and he will certainly pose a matchup problem for the Wildcats.
Kaminsky leads a team that is different than some of Bo Ryan’s past entries in that it plays to win rather than not to lose.
The Badgers’ execution at both ends has been precise, which is why they roll in on a 4-0 ATS win streak. They have also won six of eight recent games as an underdog.
Smart betting pick
Kentucky’s rebounding and free throws can be the X-factor in this game. The Wildcats have 552 offensive boards and boast an offensive rebounding clip of 42.5 percent.
And those numbers rank No. 1 in the nation. Furthermore, Kentucky has attempted more shots from the charity stripe than any team in the nation, having put up 1,101 attempts. And because of that, 26.3 percent of the Wildcats' points come from the free-throw line, a percentage that ranks No. 1 among Final Four squads.
Kentucky has covered eight of nine against the Big Ten and will add another cover to its record with a trip to the title game.
The computer says this game will go OVER the total, and a strange stat has seen all four games between No. 2 and No. 8 seeds since 2004 play OVER.
Kentucky Wildcats: No. 86
Wisconsin Badgers: No. 34 (per Odds Shark power ranks)
Final Four betting trends
- Wisconsin is 9-2 ATS in its past 11 tournament games.
- Wisconsin is 6-2 straight up and ATS in its past eight games as underdogs.
- Kentucky is 10-0 SU and 8-1-1 ATS in its past 10 tournament games.
- After beating MU last week, Kentucky is 5-1 ATS versus No. 2 seeds since 1996.
- Kentucky is 7-2 SU in Final Four games since 1996.