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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

UConn opens as a 3.5-point title game favorite over Butler

Ryan Greene
The Dagger

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UConn

Butler was favored for the first time in the 2011 NCAA tournament on Saturday night against VCU, and there won't be a second.

Less than an hour after Monday's national championship game was set between Butler and UConn, Las Vegas sports books opened up the Huskies as a 3.5-point favorite in the title tilt.

The over/under for the game is set for now at 129 points.

While Butler was the underdog in Vegas in its first four tourney games, the Bulldogs only held that tag five times in the regular season. They were favored by 2.5 over VCU for much of the week, with the line ballooning to anywhere from three to 3.5 points just before Saturday's tip-off. They had bettors nervous before pushing their lead out late with a few clutch shots, cruising to an eight-point win in the final minutes.

If you're wanting to get extra bullish on Butler and reject taking the points, they've opened up at +150 to win straight-up (bet $1 to win $1.50).

Against the spread, Butler is 20-13-2 on the season, but does have seven consecutive covers. As for the point total, they've gone over 19 times and under 16.

If you're looking to ride Butler's cover streak, first consider the fact that UConn is on a bit of a tear of its own against the number. On Saturday, the Huskies won outright as an underdog for the fifth straight time, out-lasting Kentucky. Not only have they won 10 straight coming into Monday, but they've covered the spread in nine of those games. The lone non-cover was a two-point victory over Arizona last weekend in the Elite Eight, where they were favored by 3.5.

Over the season as a whole, UConn has been a bit stronger against the spread than Butler, going 22-12.

One interesting note regarding UConn and the total is that this will mark just the fourth time this season in which it's been below 130 for them. Two of the previous three went over.

UConn is one of Vegas' trendier plays of late whenever the Huskies play, mostly because of the Kemba Walker factor. It's the same reason BYU was such a popular play all season, with Jimmer Fredette as a similar built-in wild card. Meanwhile, bettors are having a tougher and tougher time going against Butler, as the Bulldogs continue to buck the odds.

So, who do you got?

Ryan Greene also covers UNLV and the Mountain West Conference for the Las Vegas Sun. Read his Rebels coverage and follow him on Twitter.

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