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If I did not watch a single minute of college basketball this season and someone asked me to guess who would be playing in the national championship, my response would have been Gonzaga vs. Baylor. We are a few days away from that possibly being a reality.
The undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs may go down as one of the best college basketball teams to ever lace them up. Not only have they not lost a game this season, all but one of their 30 victories this season have been by double-digit points. In the national semifinal game, they are two-touchdown favorites. In any other season, the Baylor Bears would be the easy favorites to cut down the nets. Baylor has also been excellent this season. They only have one loss on the season, which came after dealing with Covid-19 issues.
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Baylor and Gonzaga were supposed to play earlier this season, but the game was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. On Monday night, before One Shining Moment is played, the two best teams in college basketball will play for all the marbles.
It may seem like I'm writing off the UCLA Bruins and Houston Cougars. Sorry, but I am. This is all about Gonzaga and Baylor. Earlier this week, I had a chance to speak with one of the traders from our partners at PointsBet. Check out what I learned:
The only team that has a chance to put a dent in the pockets of oddsmakers this weekend are the Houston Cougars. As the tournament has moved forward, Houston has attracted backing in the futures market. When the tournament started, Houston was +2500 at PointsBet to win the whole thing. At the time, only 2% of the betting market was backing them. However, they have picked up believers over the past few weeks. The Cougars are +600 to cut down the nets going into the weekend.
As far as the games go this weekend, both favorites are very popular. What's most interesting is that there seems to be a line freeze in the Houston vs. Baylor game. The number in that game has been sitting on 5 all week. I could see money coming in on Houston if they move to +5.5. Sharp action on game day will determine if the line will move or not. If it does not, money line parlays with the two favorites will cost you -175 on PointsBet. Their trader also told me, "combining both one seeds against the spread has also been a popular parlay." that parlay pays out at +270. Remember, Houston is the only team that can hurt the books.
In the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament market, Jalen Suggs and Drew Timme are the players taking the vast majority of the action. Timme is +250 at PointsBet, Suggs is +1000. I would put my money on Davion Mitchell at +500. I know Jared Butler (+400) could win the award if Baylor wins the title, but Mitchell has been the best player in the tournament for my money. Placing a bet on a Baylor player to win M.O.P gives you great hedge equity for the presumptive title game on Monday night.
Final Four Saturday will be fun, but on Monday night, the Gonzaga Bulldogs will be 6 point favorites vs. the Baylor Bears in the National Championship game.
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