The Final Four gets underway Saturday evening, as the five-seed Auburn Tigers take on the one-seed Virginia Cavaliers. Can Tony Bennett reach the National Championship Game for the first time, or will Bruce Pearl and company play the spoiler? According to FanDuel Sportsbook, Bennett’s Cavaliers are 6-point favorites.
Although UVA has struggled more at times than any other remaining team, they are still the betting favorites to win it all. Maybe that’s because the Cavaliers were able to win a game many expected them to lose. A high-scoring affair is not the type of contest UVA wants to get involved with, but they were able to survive a scare against Purdue, advancing by a score of 80-75. While it was Carsen Edwards who stole the show, UVA’s Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome combined for 49 points, which was enough to put them over the top. The Purdue game could have been a blessing in disguise when considering the challenge Auburn presents. The Tigers have averaged over 85 PPG throughout the tournament. UVA, meanwhile, is putting up just over 66 PPG, and that’s including their 80-point surge over the weekend. No team is hotter than Auburn, as they took down Tennessee for the SEC crown, and disposed of a four, two and one-seed in March Madness. Can Jared Harper and the Tigers take down their second one-seed come Saturday night? Remarkably, Auburn has the chance to become the first five-seed ever to win the NCAA Tournament.
In a game pitting the best defensive squad in the country against one of the highest-scoring tournament teams, something has to give. The over/under expected point total for this game is set at 131 points, just under the 132.5 points given to the Texas Tech-Michigan State matchup. Oddsmakers project two low-scoring affairs. That would make a lot of sense considering UVA and Texas Tech ranked inside the top-three in scoring defense this season. But, as fans witnessed last weekend, a hot team can do some damage against the Cavaliers. The Boilermakers put up 75 points in their Elite Eight loss to the Cavs. Plus, UVA is not known for running away with games. They have a reputation for stifling opposing offenses, and hanging on for wins. So, if Auburn starts knocking down threes, do not expect UVA to pull ahead. They may pull even and end up with another overtime session, which would cause over bettors some heartache. The advice is to stay away from taking the under on the final points. Instead, go with the under on 60.5 first half points (-110), as both teams should take a long time to heat up in this contest.