Upcoming Match-ups

Final Four Picks and Best Bets for UNC vs Duke and Kansas vs Villanova

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in College Basketball

Mar 30, 2022 · 1:39 AM PDT

Armando Bacot
North Carolina forward Armando Bacot (5) reacts following a basket against Florida State during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
  • The Final Four takes place this Saturday (April 2) in New Orleans
  • The semifinal games feature Duke vs UNC and Kansas vs Villanova
  • Below, see two best bets for the 2022 Final Four

The Final Four is set for this Saturday, April 2, with Villanova vs Kansas (6:09 pm ET) in the early matchup followed by archrivals Duke vs North Carolina (8:49 pm ET) in the late game.

Duke enters as the favorite in the odds to win the NCAA Tournament, with North Carolina bringing up the rear.

Final Four Picks and Best Bets

Matchup Pick
Duke vs North Carolina UNC +2.0 1H (-115)
Kansas vs Villanova 1H Under 61.5 (-113)

Odds as of March 28, 2022, at Barstool Sportsbook.

Pick #1: UNC Covers First-Half vs Duke

As fun a story as Saint Peter’s was, the Tar Heels have arguably been the most-impressive team as they have marauded their way through the NCAA Tournament bracket. That’s especially true with respect to their first-half performances.

UNC has won the first half straight-up in three of four games. In total, they have outscored their opponents 143-104 in the first 20 minutes. The average first-half score of their four tournament games to date is 35.75-26.

In other words, they are winning the first half by nearly 10 points per game.

They lost the first half to UCLA in the Sweet 16 (31-28) but, in general, Hubert Davis has had his team ready to go from the tip.

Duke has also won the first half in three of its four March Madness games, only trailing Texas Tech 33-29 at the break. But when you add in the fact that Duke and UNC are very familiar with each other – they have already played twice this year, with each winning on the other’s court – all the signs point to a tight first half.

The best March Madness betting strategy here is to take the two points with UNC on the first-half spread.

The early NCAAB public betting trends for the Final Four show most of the  money going on Duke in this matchup. So it’s possible that you will be able to get an even better 1H line on UNC if you wait. But I am still taking the two.

Pick: UNC 1H +2.0 (-113)

Pick #2: Villanova vs Kansas Stays Under 61.5 in First Half

The second bet I like for the Final Four is another first-half play. The first halves in the 2022 NCAA Tournament have been astoundingly low. As the tournament transitions to a raised court at the Caesars Superdome, expect that to continue.

The 2022 Villanova Wildcats play at an extremely methodical pace (345th in the country). Jay Wright will have watched the Kansas vs Miami tape and will be keenly aware of how the Hurricanes let the game get away from them in the second half; it happened when Kansas started to run.

In the first half, the pace was slower and Miami was getting the better of the Jayhawks, taking a six-point lead into the break.

Wright will do everything he can to have his team emulate Miami’s defensively-tenacious first-half performance.

Losing starting guard Justin Moore hurts, a lot. But that’s all the more reason for Villanova to clamp down on defense and reduce the number of possessions in this game. Fewer possessions means more variability, which is exactly what you want when you’re the underdog.

So far in the tournament, only one Villanova first half has gone over 60 (vs Ohio State). Two have stayed at 50 or fewer (vs Houston and vs Michigan).

Kansas’ first-half totals have been higher, but when they came up against a slow-ish team in Providence (278th in tempo), the game featured just 43 first-half points.

Remember, if you are thinking about creating an account at Barstool Sportsbook (or any other sportsbook), you will be able to take advantage of March Madness betting promos when you sign-up.

Pick: Kansas vs Villanova 1H Under 61.5 (-113)


Other Final Four content:

Author Image