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No 2. Houston vs. No 1. Baylor (-5) 5:14 p.m. ET
The first game to kick off the Final Four is the two teams that many had to make it. Baylor is the favorite here as many from the start thought it would be a Baylor vs. Gonzaga finals. The public also feels that Baylor will make the finals as 77% of the bets are on Baylor. I’m not picking a side. Instead, I’m looking at the total, which is set at 134.5 points. The public is rooting for points as 66% of the bets are on the over. Since doing these fade or follow articles, I’ve noticed a couple of trends, and one of the biggest ones is that the public loves the overs on games. Rooting for missed shots and great defense can be tedious, so I understand. I don’t care, though. I enjoy winning my bets more than watching high-flying offenses. These are two great defenses matching up on Saturday. Baylor has the 28th best Adjusted Efficiency with 92.2, and Houston has the 8th best with 88.4. Baylor is the best three-point shooting team in the country with 41.1%. This is an excellent matchup for the under as Houston held teams to 29.2% from deep 11th in the nation. Baylor has the 7th best Effective FG% with 56.5%. Houston is the best team in the nation for Effective FG% as they held teams to 43.3%. Both teams play at a slow pace. The Bear’s Adjusted Tempo finished 186th in the nation, and the Cougar’s finished 328th in the nation. In their last 7 games, Houston has only allowed 57.5ppg, and in their previous six games, Baylor has only allowed 63.8ppg. If both teams allow their averages, the game will finish with 121 points which will be way below the total. This is why I’m fading the public.
The pick: Under 134.5 points
No. 11 UCLA vs. No. 1 Gonzaga (-14) 8:34 p.m.
In the last Final Four game, we have a Cinderella team going against a juggernaut. Will the Bulldogs be the team that can finally end UCLA’s great run? The public thinks so as 63% of the bets are on Gonzaga to cover this vast spread. People believed that USC would be the team to keep it close against Gonzaga, well they got blown out as they lost 66-85. In their last six games, Gonzaga has won by an average of 21.5 points. Gonzaga is a juggernaut on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. On the offensive side of the ball, they have a 126.8 Adjusted Efficiency, good for 1st in the nation, and a 88 Adjusted Efficiency on defense 5th. Gonzaga shoots lights out as their 2P% was the best in the country, 61%. This matchup is great for the Bulldogs as the Bruins are an average at best team at defending from 2. Teams shot 49.5% from 2 while playing UCLA. UCLA will need a miracle to stop this Gonzaga team as the Bulldogs are looking to be the first team since the 1975 Hoosiers to go undefeated in the regular season and win the championship. If something isn’t broken, why fix it? This is how I feel about Gonzaga, as I will be following the public with my pick.
The pick: Gonzaga -14