Final Four Best Bets – How To Bet on the Final Four in Arizona

The Final Four is set, and it’s an unusual group headed to Arizona for the conclusion of March Madness.

Two No. 1 seeds, Purdue and UConn, made it, but two interlopers, No. 11 North Carolina State and No. 4 Alabama, also are along for the ride.

As of Wednesday, these were the odds most frequently found to win the NCAA Tournament championship on Monday night.

  • UConn Huskies -195
  • Purdue Boilermakers +205
  • North Carolina State Wolfpack +1600
  • Alabama Crimson Tide +1600

The two games on Saturday, Purdue vs NC State and UConn vs Alabama, offer betting opportunities across the board, and finding a few trends can help your wagering choices.

Zach Edey blocks Dalton Knecht shot
Image: Twitter/Purdue Men’s Basketball

Purdue vs North Carolina State

This No. 1-seeded Purdue Boilermakers are 33-4 straight up (SU) this season and 21-15-1 against the spread (ATS). The Boilermakers are a perfect 4-0 SU and ATS during March Madness after defeating No. 2 seed Tennessee 72-66 as a 3.5-point favorite to punch their ticket to the Final Four.

If Purdue seems driven to avoid defeat, it’s understandable. The Boilermakers were a “one and done” last year, losing as a No. 1 seed to 16th-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson in a stunning upset.

While expectations run high for Purdue, North Carolina State has been playing with house money for weeks.

The Wolfpack had to win five consecutive games during their conference tournament just to earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Before that conference tourney began, the Wolfpack were 1,000-1 to win the national title.

NC State is 26-14 SU and 20-19-1 ATS, but 9-0 SU and 7-2 ATS over the past nine games, including the region final victory, 76-64, as a 7.5-point underdog against Duke.

The best online sportsbooks have installed Purdue as a heavy favorite (9.5 points) with a total of 146.5 points.

Purdue-NC State spread

There has been little line movement from the 9.5 points, and the answer to the question of who covers is simple: The team whose center position is able to dominate the opponent.

Reigning national player of the year Zach Edey, Purdue’s 7-foot-4 space-eater, was way too much for Tennessee. He scored 40 points and grabbed 16 rebounds; he will have to carry the load again when matched up with crowd favorite DJ Burns of NC State on Saturday.

Burns won’t be asked to do it alone, however, and the Wolfpack must avoid foul trouble while trying to keep Edey’s impact to a sustainable level.

Not easy.

NC State’s best chance is to keep the pace up — DJ Horne will need to heat up quickly — and try to wear down Edey and the Boilermakers transition defense. Elite shooting from beyond the 3-point arc would keep NC State in a prime position to cover the spread.

In a matchup so reliant on outside shooting, Purdue’s game plan is clear: challenge NC State’s long-range shooting and keep Edey out of foul trouble.

DJ Burns
Image: Twitter/Bleacher Report

Purdue vs NC State total

The teams combined to hit the over in 45 of their 77 games to this point, and the blueprint for NC State calls for a faster pace than Purdue would like. The Boilermakers, however, can contend with that strategy because their shooters can flat-out bury 3-pointers.

Complementing Edey’s inside presence are Braden Smith (43.9% on 3-pointers), Mason Gillis (47.5%), Lance Jones (35.5%) and Fletcher Loyer (44.1%).

If the pace is hot, look for the shooting to be on point – and for the total to eclipse 146 points.

Over 146.5 points in the game (-110) is available at BetOnline.

UConn vs Alabama

The defending champion UConn Huskies opened as 11-point favorites over the surprising Alabama Crimson Tide, with an over/under of 161.5 points.

Early money drove down the number to 10.5 but that was quickly bet back up to 11 and in several places to 11.5.

UConn men's basketball
Image: Twitter/UConn Men’s Basketball

UConn vs Alabama spread

Connecticut has yet to be really challenged, and it’s hard to fault those who believe we’re in for another Huskies blowout.

The writing is on the wall, too, because UConn has not been lucky – while Alabama has hit a much higher than usual percentage of its shots during the tournament.

UConn is hitting just 28% from 3-point range, compared with a season-long rate of 36%. It hasn’t hurt them at all, though. The Huskies beat Northwestern by 27 points despite make three of their 22 attempts from long range.

They didn’t need the 3-point shot in the 25-point blowout of Illinois, but hit only 3 of their 17 attempts. We’re due for a better outside-shooting show on Saturday.

UConn is blessed with unlimited versatility; if one attack isn’t working, the Huskies move to another option. They can score in the paint or from outside the arc.

Alabama, too, is due for a 3-point shooting regression to the mean. The Tide have hit 42% from long range in the NCAA Tournament after converting just north of 35% during the regular season.

Alabama's Mark Sears
Image: Twitter/Cronkite News

UConn vs Alabama total

Alabama loves to run – and run up the score.

UConn is a plodding offense aimed at efficiency, where the Huskies are ranked No. 1.

The Alabama offensive efficiency ranking of No. 3 is offset by its poor (No. 104) defensive ranking.

The more talented Huskies defense will challenge the Crimson Tide to hit contested 3-point attempts, likely resulting in plenty of misfires and a lower overall total.

UConn’s opponents have reached 70 points only one time over the past 22 contests.

Alabama will have to be basically unconscious from 3-point range to push this total toward 162 points.

Under 160.5 points in the game (-115) is available at BetOnline.

Conclusion

If we’re deciding to bet on these spreads and totals, we’re leaning toward these four wagers – in order of preference.

  1. UConn Huskies -11.5 over the Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. NC State +9.5 points against the Purdue Boilermakers
  3. UConn-Alabama total UNDER 161.5 points.
  4. Purdue-NC State total OVER 145.5 points.

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Jay Dieffenbach
Sports Betting Expert

Jay is a Sports Betting Writer at Techopedia.com, and has been working in US sports for more than 20 years. He's worked for Daily Racing Form, the Arizona Republic, The Athletic and FanDuel among other sports and gambling positions.