March Madness Final Four Betting Virginia vs. Auburn Preview
Top betting sites favor the Virginia Cavaliers by 5.5 points over the Auburn Tigers in their Final Four bracket. UVA held off the Oregon Ducks 53-49 in the Sweet Sixteen round as 8.5-point favorites. In the Elite Eight stage, the Cavs were not as heavily favored by the best online sportsbooks but won more convincingly. Virginia defeated Purdue as 4.5-point chalk. Thus the Cavs reached their first Final Four since the year when Big Brother was watching us. The upset-minded Tigers knocked out the North Carolina Tar Heels 97-80 in the Sweet Sixteen as 5.5-dogs. And then AU did the Kentucky Wildcats one better, 77-71 as 4.5-point chalk in the Elite Eight. This will be the Tigers’ first-ever NCAA tournament Final Four appearance.
Virginia’s defense is among the top three in the country. As it turns out, though, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl learned defense from Tony Bennett’s father. Queens grocer John Benedetto? Oh, they meant UVA head coach Tony Bennett. Not big band singer Tony Bennett. Let’s just hope the former didn’t leave his heart in San Francisco.
Virginia Cavaliers vs. Auburn Tigers
- Date: Saturday April 6, 2019
- Time: 6:09 PM (EDT)
- Venue: Bank Stadium Minneapolis, MN
- Line from MyBookie.ag:
|Auburn||+5½ (-110)||131 (-110)||+215|
The Cavaliers score 71.3 points per game. And they score those points at the ease with which their defense affords them. Which is a lot. UVA has the best scoring defense in the country, allowing 55.4 points per game. About 35% of Virginia’s offensive production comes via three-point shooting. They shoot 39.4% from beyond the arc. UVA grabs 34.9 rebounds per game. According to top betting sites, the Cavs are 13-1 SU and 9-5 ATS in their last 14 games. Their sole loss in that period came to Florida State in their ACC tournament semifinal. UVA also is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games. 40-19-1 ATS in their last 60 games after a win. And 2-6 ATS in their last eight NCAA Tournament games.
The Tigers’ offense is slightly better than the Cavs’, though their defense is nowhere near as good. AU averages 79.6 points per game but allows 69.3 points per contest. Auburn produces 43.4% of their offensive output from the three-point line. From which they shoot 38.3%. The Tigers grab 33.4 boards per game. Auburn is 12-0 SU and 8-4 ATS in their last 12 games. 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games after a win. 4-1 ATS in their last five games on a neutral court. And 4-1 ATS when playing a school with a winning record.
According to Oakland assistant coach Tony Jones via the Detroit Free Press, the Final Four was Pearl’s white whale. “[Pearl]’s had some adversity,” Jones said, “but he’s persevered from that adversity and he was fortunate enough to get another opportunity at Auburn, and he’s taken advantage of it. What stands out is their ability to compete – their ability to have a chip on their shoulder. And to be quite frank, Bryce Brown and Jared Harper are very talented basketball players. They are hard to cover one on one and they’re proficient from the 3.”
Pick: Auburn already beat Kentucky without top rebounder Chuma Okeke, so his absence should sway users of the top betting sites. Purdue scored 75 points on Virginia’s vaunted defense. And they did so from quite the distance. The Tigers are even better from the three-point than the Boilermakers. All things considered, AU could remain within the point spread on the strength of their long-distance accuracy.