College Basketball Tournament: National Semifinal Odds, Trends

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Just three games are left in the NCAA tournament, as four teams will duke it out Saturday to advance to the national championship.

The Final Four will start off with a clash between No. 1 Baylor and No. 2 Houston at 5:14 p.m. ET/2:14 p.m. PT on CBS. Then a West Coast showdown between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 11 UCLA will take place at 8:34 p.m. ET/5:34 p.m. PT on CBS.

“I think these two games should be the most bet so far this tournament for sure,” said Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill US. “So much of the money will be coming in tomorrow, but it feels like business as usual so far compared to previous Final Four games. The times for these games are dead perfect for betting, some of the previous times were really late starts.”

While the opening spread hasn’t budged from Baylor -5 yet, the two teams’ moneyline prices have been altered slightly. Baylor has gone from -210 to -220, while Houston has shifted from +180 to +190. The total now sits at 135 after first being listed at 135.5 and reaching as low as 134.5.

“I thought the line would a little higher and it may close higher because of money,” Bogdanovich said. “Looks like we’re about 4-to-1 on straight bets and parlays in favor of Baylor. The public really likes teams with offensive firepower, and Houston doesn’t really score a lot, they excel on the defensive end. They also aren’t in a power conference and they’ve only faced double-digit seeds, so that combo probably factors in to all the Baylor money.”

Not only has Baylor generated 77% of the total number of tickets and 81% of the total dollars wagered among all spread bets vs. Houston, but the Bears have also received 66% of the total number of tickets and 83% of the total dollars wagered for all moneyline bets.

That is highlighted by one Mississippi bettor who laid $20,426.90 on Baylor -5 (-110) for a total potential payout of $38,996.80 and another $20,000 on Baylor ML -215 for a total potential payout of $29,302.30.

The majority of William Hill bettors are also aligned on the total, as the over has drawn 66% of the total number of tickets and 57% of the total dollars wagered.

In the second contest, Gonzaga (-1100 ML) is a 14-point favorite over UCLA (+700 ML). That is the fourth time in five 2021 NCAA tournament games that the Bulldogs are double-digit chalk against their opponent. The total has fallen by half a point, dropping from 146 to 145.5.

“I don’t think we’ll end up needing anyone that much in that game,” Bogdanovich said. “The only places where Gonzaga has dominated the betting are teasers and moneyline parlays. Obviously [UCLA coach Mick] Cronin will try and slow this to a crawl. Gonzaga is going to try and speed this thing up. We’ll see what wins out.”

Regarding which team will cover the spread, many William Hill bettors are backing the favorite. Gonzaga has collected 67% of the total number of tickets and 71% of the total dollars wagered in that department. Moneyline wagering has been much more divided, though. UCLA has the edge in total number of tickets at 51%, whereas Gonzaga has the advantage with 67% of the total dollars wagered.

For the total, the over is reeling in 62% of the total number of tickets and 60% of the total dollars wagered.

One New Jersey bettor thinks another massive Bruins upset is in the cards, putting down $10,000 on UCLA ML +700 for a total potential payout of $80,000. Meanwhile, an Iowa bettor put $43,831.20 on the following moneyline parlay of Gonzaga ML -1100 and UConn ML -1400 for a total potential payout of $51,231.27. No. 1 UConn faces No. 3 Arizona in the Women’s Final Four tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT on ESPN.

Check out William Hill’s latest odds and trends for Saturday’s Final Four matchups below.

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