March Madness Final Four Value Bets

March Madness Final Four Value Bets

March Madness is nearly here folks, and with it the thrill and excitement of the tournament. Few sporting events have the ability to enthrall the entire nation. The College Basketball Final Four is the encapsulation of the Madness, with the semi-final games often providing the most drama.

With the NCAA Men's Basketball Committee announcing its provisional top sixteen seeds for the NCAA Tournament, its time to find value on the Final Four futures board. As it stands, the committee has Purdue, UConn, Arizona, and Houston ranked as the top seeds in each region. However, there’s little value in betting the favorites, so you won’t find their like below. We’re searching for the teams’ just on the precipice of greatness, that are either a little less-heralded, or perhaps just off of most fans' and analysts' radars. Remember, we've had at least one squad make the Final Four from outside the top-four seeds in each of the past ten years. Just last season, Dan Hurley's fourth-seed Huskies broke the streak of seven straight first-or-second seeded teams' winning the National Championship. Clearly, there's plenty of value to be had outside of the top squads. Here are my best value bets to make the Final Four.

East Region: Iowa State +425

Iowa State’s stifling defense will be the driving force behind a Cyclones Final Four appearance. T.J. Otzelberger’s men are made for a deep tournament run. Only this time, they’re offense is also primed and ready.

They score over 117 points per 100 possessions, hit on 37% of three-point attempts, and convert nearly 48% of their total shots from the field (35th in the country). Plus, veteran guards Keshon Gilbert and Tamin Lapsey give the Cyclones the shot-makers necessary to win close games.

While Iowa State’s unreal defense battens down the hatches and forces turnovers like crazy. The Cyclones are third in defensive efficiency, and thrive on turning their menacing defense into easy offense. They’re also third in steals per game (10.7), and force opponents into devastating mistakes night after night. Iowa State plays an urgent brand of defense that has propelled them to ranking first in potential points off of breakaway steals.

Otzelberger’s Cyclones will be the type of team everybody hates to play in the tournament. Capable of grinding out gritty-hard nosed victories over even the most offensively gifted squads. Iowa State is a excellent value bet to make the Final Four at +425 odds.

Midwest region: Tennessee +300

Tennessee bounced back from Saturday’s blowout loss at Texas A&M by crushing Arkansas 92-63 on Wednesday and getting back to the two-way effectiveness that has made the Volunteers a Final Four favorite.

They followed that up by crushing an overmatched Vanderbilt squad, shooting over 45% from three, and forcing 19 turnovers.

The clairvoyant transfer of Dalton Knecht has given Rick Barnes’ perennially adept defense some extra juice at the offensive end of the floor. The Northern Colorado transfer averages 20 points a night, on nearly 40% shooting from three. His unbelievable scoring touch has made him a College Basketball Player of the Year contender. Behind his scoring and the rejuvenated play of Zakai Zeigler and junior forward Jonas Aidoo, the Volunteers rank 12th in Haslametrics offensive efficiency ratings, scoring 119 points per every 100 possessions.

However, it’s Barnes’ hallmark defense that makes Tennessee a Final Four value bet. The Volunteers sit at fourth in the nation in defensive efficiency, allowing an average of just 91 points per 100 possessions. Additionally, they’re excellent at turning their menacing defense into easy offense, sitting 12th in points off of breakaway steals.

Plus, the Vols’ are battle-tested with wins over Kentucky and Alabama, and close contests against Purdue and North Carolina. Tennessee is ready for a run at the 2024 Final Four.

South Region: Marquette +500

Shaka Smart’s men look like an ideal value bet to make the Final Four.

Sure, the shine has come off the Golden Eagles after a blowout loss to Connecticut. However, they won’t have to worry about facing the Huskies in the South region.

Before their unceremonious loss to UConn, Marquette had won eight straight Big East contests. They rank a balanced 19th in both offensive and defensive efficiency, and possess a roster full of deadeye shooters. They’ve converted on over 37% of three-pointers, while taking over 25 shots from beyond the arc per game. Additionally, they’re 11th in total field goal percentage at 49.6, and are excellent at finding buckets in the mid-range shooting an even 49%.

Point guard Tyler Kolek is a force, scoring 15.7 points and racking up 7.2 assists per game. He’s been a titan over his last five games averaging 22 points, 7.6 assists, and 5 rebounds.

The Golden Eagles have beaten Kansas, Illinois, Creighton and Texas while putting together the 14th rated strength of schedule in the country. Surely,  Smart can recreate a little of the magic of his storybook VCU team and lead a far-more talented Marquette squad back to the Final Four. Marquette is the quintessential Final Four value bet at +500 odds.

West Region: Auburn +380

Auburn has had an interesting two weeks, smacking both SEC rivals Alabama and South Carolina, before falling in a surprising home loss to the John Calipari's Kentucky Wildcats.

The Tigers shut down opposing offenses, with their fifth-ranked defense also sitting in the top-25 in each of the major defensive shooting categories. Behind the elite defensive skills of star Johni Broome, and center Dylan Caldwell, Auburn holds opponents to just 47% shooting at the rim, the best mark in the nation. Bruce Pearl's squad switches everything outside, allowing Broome to stay in the paint and cleanup. They're long, lithe, and athletic throughout the roster and have the ability to catch chase shooters off the three-point line and recover. They force a high-number of late clock jump shots, and clean up on the defensive glass.

Offensively, they score over 118 points per 100 possessions, with Broome dominating inside. The junior star is averaging 16.5 points on nearly 55% shooting to go along with 8.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.

With the strength of their suffocating defense, and their pound-it-inside style of offense Auburn is tailor made to grind out victories in late March. Bet on the Tigers at +380 to make the Final Four, before late season victories boost their candidacy further.

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