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Venue Helps The UNDER In Final Four

When you take a look at the totals for this weekend’s Final Four games in Houston, you can see they’ve dropped like a couple of Buddy Hield layups since they opened – more than four points for each – and there appears to be a good reason for it. 

The UNDER has been a massive moneymaker for bettors the previous two times the NCAA used NRG Stadium to host the NCAA tournament, going 5-0-1 in the six games held there. Those games were played in the 2011 Final Four and 2015 South regionals and the shooting numbers reveal a telling story. 

Teams shot just 27.7 percent from 3-point range and just 41.1 percent from inside the arc in those six games to combine for an average of just 118 points per game. That’s low enough to make a WNBA team blush and the five games that fell UNDER the number fell short of the total by between 8.5 and 38 points for an average of 19 points per game below the total. 

That’s a lot. 

The reason for the poor shooting could be a pretty logical one. NRG stadium holds 71,000 and is a wide open space with no walls behind each net and bleachers that don’t reach as high as the backboards. The only thing the players see when they look through the glass backboard is a strange, empty black hole which can provide unusual depth perception issues. 

"It's just absolutely wide open. It feels like the court is floating in the great abyss," said one assistant coach in this story from Yahoo!.

Ken Pomeroy did an analysis of every college game played at NRG stadium since 2002 and found the 15 teams shot just 32.2 percent from 3-point land, which was a four percent dip from their average. 

Put them together and the numbers are too powerful to ignore for this venue. The Yahoo! story says that gives North Carolina a huge advantage but I’m not as sure. I think there’s a lot more here for OVER/UNDER bettors to set their sites on. 

I believe long range shots are going to be tougher to come by in Houston and I believe the early money has it right in taking the UNDER. These totals are still relatively high when you look at the other games held here, even after the moves, though we are in a different shot clock era now. 

This table shows the six NCAA tournament games held here and they are worth looking at before you place your wagers this weekend. 

NCAA Tourney Games At NRG Stadium
DateHome AwayScoreClosing LineClosing O/U
March 29, 2015DukeGonzaga66-52 (Duke)-2145
March 27, 2015DukeUtah63-57 (Duke)-4.5133
March 27, 2015GonzagaUCLA74-62 (Zaga)-8.5144.5
April 4, 2011UConnButler53-41 (UConn)-3132
April 2, 2011UConnKentucky56-55 (UConn)+2.5138.5
April 2, 2011ButlerVCU70-62 (Butler)-8.5144.5