For the first time since 1966, two teams that didn’t play in the NCAA tournament the year before will meet for the national championship. The No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats will take on the No. 7 Connecticut Huskies.
The Wildcats storm in on an 8-0 against-the-spread win streak and have won 11 straight tournament games overall. Meanwhile, UConn has covered its last five games and rides a profitable 10-2 ATS streak into this matchup.
The computer predicted the score perfectly in Kentucky’s win over Wisconsin (74-73, but for the wrong team), and now the computer has Kentucky losing by a point again.
Spread and total points scored betting line
The Wildcats opened as 2.5-point favorites, and that line was holding steady by early Monday. The total was holding steady at 134.5. (Compare lines and consensus on the Odds Shark matchup report.)
Odds Shark computer pick
Why pick Kentucky to cover the spread
The preseason No. 1 team in the nation continues to make the pollsters look brilliant with its run to the title game. Kentucky has traveled the much more impressive path with wins over top-seeded and then-undefeated Wichita State, defending national champion Louisville, Michigan and then Wisconsin in come-from-behind fashion in the Final Four.
They have won 11 straight March Madness games and have won eight of 10 Final Four games since 1996. They have shown a knack for late-game heroics and should have the athleticism to contain UConn’s excellent guards.
Why pick Connecticut to cover the spread
The Huskies return to the title game for the second time in four years, and experience is always a good reason to back a team in the title game.
Three seniors who stayed with the program after coach Jim Calhoun's retirement and after being ineligible to play in the postseason last year will be out for a second ring, including Shabazz Napier, who might be the best player left in this tournament.
The Huskies have won three of four against Kentucky in recent years, and they bite very hard as underdogs, as their 6-1 SU and ATS streak proves.
Smart betting pick
Both teams have put up impressive numbers against the point spread.
The 'Cats have covered six straight nonconference games and are now on an 8-0 run against the betting line on neutral courts. UConn, meanwhile, has covered 14 of its last 17 Big Dance contests and is on a 6-0 point-spread win streak against nonconference teams.
But while Kentucky has had the more impressive run to the title game, Connecticut has looked a bit more dominant in its wins.
The Wildcats have always played catch-up, in part because of their inexperience and turnovers. And as long as Napier is on the floor, you will always have value.
Underdog UConn is the play for the national championship, just like the computer predicts.
Kentucky Wildcats: No. 86
Connecticut Huskies: No. 190 (per Odds Shark power rankings)
National Championship Game betting trends
- Kentucky 11-0 SU, 8-1-2 ATS past 11 tournament games
- Kentucky is 8-2 SU in Final Four games since 1996
- UConn is 10-2 ATS past 12 tournament games
- UConn is 7-1 SU, 6-2 ATS in Final Four games since 1999