It’s hard to believe that we made it through this challenging season, but here we are at the Final Four! There are two games left before a Champion is crowned, which means that we have two more games to increase our bankroll at Fandex.
Here are the teams we’re backing!
Fandex Price: 18.40
Predicted Win Total: 2.47
The Baylor Bears and Houston Cougars came into the NCAA Tournament in similar positions. Baylor was a #1 seed, and Houston was a #2 seed; Baylor had a 2.84 predicted win total, and Houston had a 2.47 predicted win total; Baylor’s Fandex price has risen to 18.30, and Houston’s to 18.40. The similarities between these teams extend to their metrics, particularly on the offensive side.
KenPom has the Bears ranked as the third most efficient offense, averaging 123.0 points per 100 possessions when adjusted for opponent. The Cougars are close behind, checking in at seventh with 118.6 points per 100 possessions when adjusted for opponent. Both teams rank in the top-30 in three-pointers per game, although the Bears have the best three-point shooting percentage in the country compared to the 98th-rank.
From an advanced perspective, defense is where the Cougars hold the biggest advantage. Houston ranks eighth in terms of defensive efficiency compared to Baylor’s 28th ranking. One of their biggest assets is their ability to defend the three. The Cougars held opponents to 29.2% from three-point range this year, which is the 11th best percentage in the nation.
Houston’s effectiveness at guarding against the three will be something they need to rely upon to limit the Bears’ offense. Baylor has been outscored in only one half this tournament, and that was the first half against the Villanova Wildcats. In that half, the Bears were limited to 2-for-12 shooting from three-point range and put up only 23 points.
If the three-ball lets the Bears down, they’ll be equally challenged going inside, as the Cougars haven’t allowed more than 26 points in the paint so far this tournament. Houston’s defense is great, and Baylor is about to get their stiffest competition this tournament.
Although Baylor is favored in the betting market, we’re taking a stance against them in the Final Four and recommending backing the Houston Cougars at Fandex. The Cougars defense will be more effective at limiting the Bears and can go shot-for-shot with Baylor offensively. This game will come down to the wire, but Houston is the side to be on.
Fandex Price: 18.58
Predicted Win Total: 3.22
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are two wins away from an undefeated season. All that stands between them is a date with the UCLA Bruins and the winner of the aforementioned, Cougars and Bears battle. Based on our analysis, there’s no reason to believe that the Bulldogs don’t make the trip to the Final.
Gonzaga’s strength is their offense, and they’ve shown that all tournament. The fewest points they’ve put up in a tournament game is 83, and their worst shooting percentage was 49.1%. That is going to make life difficult for the UCLA Bruins and their 149th-rated defense.
One of the Zags’ best weapons is the pace with which they play. The Bulldogs average 76.2 possessions per game and have the best field goal percentage in the country. The Bruins manage 68.2 possessions per game, ranking 292nd in the NCAA, and have the 79th-ranked field goal percentage. Not only do the Bruins have fewer possessions, but they are also less effective at converting them to points.
Gonzaga’s perceived dominance is also reflected in the betting market. FanDuel Sportsbook has Gonzaga installed as -1150 moneyline favorites and -14 on the spread. That is in addition to the Bulldogs being chalk to win the NCAA Tournament at -190.
UCLA doesn’t possess the defensive abilities to limit the Bulldogs, nor do they possess the offensive abilities to outscore them. Irrespective of lens, the Bulldogs hold the advantage and are the team to back on the Fandex sports exchange.