Kentucky Laying 2.5 against UConn in National Championship Tilt

March Madness concludes tonight when the national champion of college basketball will be crowned in Arlington. Texas. The Kentucky Wildcats take on the Connecticut Huskies in what should be a very closely contested game from start to finish.

Kentucky is a No. 8 seed, while Connecticut is a No. 7 seed. Bovada and have Kentucky as short chalk, but UConn has thrived as the dog in this NCAA Tournament.

According to data taken from topbet and betonline, UConn becomes the first No. 7 seed to reach the final, while it is the fourth time a No. 8 seed has reached the final.

In another first, Kentucky will look to become the first college team with five starters who are all freshmen to win a national championship. That would surpass the Fab Five from Michigan who were losers to Duke 71-51 in the championship game of 1992.

The Huskies have a great deal more experience in their backcourt with Ryan Boatright a junior and senior and top player Shabazz Napier.

Bovada currently has Kentucky at -2.5 with the over/under point total sitting on 134.5. The number has gone as high at 3 and as low as 2, but seems to have settled on 2.5.

Connecticut versus Kentucky all time is 3-1 straight up and 2-2 against the spread. Connecticut defeated Kentucky in the Final Four in 2011. In that game, UConn was a dog by 2 points but won 56-55.

Three of the top players on the Huskies played in that game as freshmen, although the stars of the game were Jeremy Lamb and Kemba Walker.

Connecticut has won three NCAA national championships, while Kentucky has won eight. Only UCLA has won more national titles (11) than the Wildcats.

Kentucky’s most recent national championship was in 2012 when they started two sophomores and three freshmen.

In its past 8 games, Kentucky has covered the spread in 7. In each of the past four games Kentucky has played, the OVER has cashed with an average combined score of 147.8.

UConn has covered the spread in each of its five games in this NCAA tournament. The Huskies have won the past four outright as underdogs.

Kentucky has won its past four games in this tournament by a combined 11 points. They defeated a tough Wisconsin team 74-73 in their Final Four. The results were a push as Kentucky had been favored by 1 point.

It was the second straight game Aaron Harrison knocked down a three pointer in the final seconds. It was just the fifth three-pointer the Wildcats had attempted in the entire game.

UConn has the more talented individual player in the backcourt with All-American Napier. However, twin brothers Andrew and Aaron Harrison will have a decided height advantage and can get into the lane and take advantage of that size.

This game in the minds of many bookmakers is a tossup. While some believe Kentucky should be favored by 3 to 4 points, others see great value in the Huskies as the underdog.

Kentucky had just 4 turnovers versus Wisconsin and has learned to become disciplined with what is working for them at the time.

There is definite relationship with the total points regardless the team you like. Kentucky bettors will like the OVER, as the Wildcats will push the pace. A win by UConn likely will mean an UNDER as 24 of the previous 37 games Connecticut has posted a total it was UNDER.

Pick: Kentucky 74-67

Arizona’s Odds Longer after Ashley Goes Down with Injury

The NCAA men’s basketball season is entering its final month of the regular season with conference tournaments to follow and then the Big Dance, March Madness to cap it off.

For eight consecutive weeks, the Arizona Wildcats sat atop the AP poll, but last week two losses hurt the Wildcats chances for a national title. The Wildcats finally lost a regular season game and now sit at 21-1 SU and 13-8 ATS. Arizona was defeated on the road by a last second shot by California 60-58.

However, the second loss last week, and the bigger of the two for Arizona was watching Brandon Ashley, their forward suffer a broken foot knocking him out for the rest of the season.

The big question on the minds of Arizona coaches, players and fans is if the Wildcats can still compete for the national title without Ashley. Odds makers are not so sure.

Ashley was averaging over 11 points and nearly 6 rebounds per game. Only seven weeks remain prior to the start of the postseason. There is no possible way he could get back to playing shape even with a rushed rehab.

Ashley, standing 6-foot-8 and weighing 230 lbs, was a versatile and crucial piece of Arizona’s success. He is so versatile he could fill in for the team’s injured center in one game, and hit 3-point shots in another.

Because of that versatility and importance to the team, odds makers at Bovada, topbet, betonline and have all knock down Arizona’s chances for a national title to 8 to 1.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson a freshman forward will step into Arizona’s starting lineup to take Ashley’s spot. While the freshman is talented and athletic, it is still up in the air as to whether he can adjust and make a significant impact at this point in the season.

Arizona plays against Oregon on Thursday. The Ducks are 15-6 SU and 8-10-2 ATS. On Sunday, Arizona is home to Oregon State which is 13-8 SU and 8-9-1 ATS. Those two games will give coaches and players the chance to see how they can overcome Ashley’s absence.

As of now, odds makers still expect Arizona to be a No. 1 seed. However, that decision will have to wait until selection committee members get to see the Wildcats against tough competition during their conference tournament.

Updated Odds to Win NCAA Tournament

Florida Gators 6-1

Michigan State Spartan 7-1

Syracuse Orange 7-1

Kansas Jayhawks 8-1

Arizona Wildcats 8-1