Florida and Kentucky are favored to meet in the college basketball national championship game. As the Final Four approaches, though, the public is betting on the underdogs.
At the start of the week, the top-ranked Gators were named seven-point favorites over No.7 UConn. Since then, the point spread has dropped to 6.5 points at most Las Vegas casinos. Some sportsbooks have the betting line at an even six points.
Florida is the clear favorite, even though they’ve already lost to UConn this season. On Dec. 2, the Gators left Connecticut with a 65-64 loss. The Huskies were ranked No.12 at the time of the contest. That was the last time Florida was defeated this year.
If the Gators advance to the national title game, they’ll be likely favored over either opponent. However, other than their loss to UConn, their only other defeat has come at the hands of Wisconsin. The Badgers beat the Gators by five points on Nov. 12.
Even as the No.8 seed, Kentucky was named the early favorite over No.2 Wisconsin. While they are still expected to win, the point spread has gone from 2.5 points to just 1.5 points. It’s the second time in the NCAA Tournament that the odds have favored Kentucky.
Considering the Wildcats’ path to the Final Four, there’s a good chance their matchup with the Badgers will come down to the wire. Kentucky has played well during March Madness, but all of their contests have been close. They had their easiest time in the round of 64, when they beat Kansas State by seven points. Against Louisville, Kentucky escaped with a five-point victory. The games with Wichita State and Michigan came down to the last few seconds. The Shockers’ Fred VanVleet missed a three-pointer at the buzzer, and Aaron Harrison’s three-pointer against the Wolverines sent the Wildcats to the Final Four.
Not only is the Kentucky-Wisconsin matchup expected to be the closer of the two, but it should also be higher scoring. The over/under has been set 139.5. The Wildcats sport one of the best offenses in the NCAA, averaging 76.4 points per game. The Badgers have scored at least 75 points in four of their last six games.
Allowing 57.6 points per game and forcing opponents to shoot less than 40 percent from the field, Florida might have the best defense of any team that was selected to the NCAA Tournament. As a result, the over/under for their matchup with UConn is listed at 126.5. The Huskies have been strong defensively, as well, ranking 38th in scoring defense. When they two teams got together in December, they totaled 129 points.
UConn beat Kentucky in the 2011 Final Four, before going on to win the national championship. Florida and Wisconsin both reached the 2000 Final Four, but didn’t play each other. The Gators lost to Michigan State in the title game.