Kentucky vs. Connecticut: NCAA Betting Preview

Apr 7, 2014

Connecticut remains underrated and under-appreciated by the betting public as the Huskies are 9-2 ATS versus teams with a winning record, 20-8 ATS as neutral court underdogs, 14-7 ATS after covering the point spread and 9-1 ATS after being installed as an underdog in their previous game.  However, there is plenty of technical support for Kentucky as well, including the fact that the Wildcats are 7-0 ATS in all tournament games and 8-2 ATS in neutral court games this season.

Let’s also note that NCAA tournament favorites of less than five points are 12-1 ATS in the Championship game, while SEC teams are a perfect 3-0 ATS in the Title game.  Kentucky investors can also hand their hats on the fact that the Huskies are 1-12 ATS following four or more consecutive wins, including 0-6 ATS off five or more straight victories.

Fundamental Analysis:

Connecticut is 3.5 points per game better than average offensively (72.1 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 68.6 points per game), while the Wildcats are 6.1 points per game better than average defensively (66.8 points per game to teams that would combine to average 72.9 points per game).  Overall, Kentucky possesses a 2.6 points per game advantage defensively over the Huskies’ attack, but it should be noted that Connecticut is averaging 74.0 points per game in the NCAA tournament (46.2% FG; 40.2% 3-PT).

Connecticut’s success has been predicated upon an outstanding defense that is limiting opponents to a mere 65.8 points per game in the NCAA tournament (42.4% FG; 33.6% 3-PT). Overall, Connecticut is 9.1 points per game better than average defensively this season (63.5 points per game to teams that would combine to average 72.6 points per game), which gives the Huskies a 1.5 points per game advantage over Kentucky’s attack.

Kentucky’s Tournament run has been fueled by several last-second winning shots, and the Wildcats’ last four wins have come by a combined eleven points.  Meanwhile, the Huskies have shown incredible resilience in the Tournament as they fell behind by double-digits to both Michigan State and Florida before prevailing in both games.  Connecticut also possesses more experience, especially in the backcourt with senior Shabazz Napier and junior Ryan Boatright.

This game could easily come down to the wire, and we would prefer to take the points with a team shooting 77.4% from the foul line this season, including 80.4% on the road and 86.7% in the NCAA tournament.  Based upon the betting preview above, We like Connecticut plus the points in tonight’s NCAA tournament Championship game.