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Marc Lawrence

3* UConn +3

Monday Brandon Lang

75 Dime Connecticut

Old Post 04-08-14 02:26 AM
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Kentucky vs. UConn Preview

Kentucky -2.5 vs. UConn (Covers 54%)
ATS Play Type: Light
O/U Play Type: Light

The Vitals:

SU Pick and Win%: Kentucky wins 62%
ATS Pick and Win%: Kentucky -2.5 covers 54%
ATS Wager for $50 player: $15
OU Pick and Win%: UNDER 134.5 covers 52.4%
OU Wager for $50 player: $1

The Breakdown: It’s not a very likely national championship matchup – each of these teams was just 2.1% likely to make it this far before the tournament started, making this title game 1-in-2,268 likely – but this game between two now battle-tested teams looks fairly straight-forward. It is oft-discussed in the sports culture that “styles make fights” and there is no better way to analyze such a phenomenon than through a simulation that takes into account the strengths and weaknesses of every player that could be on the court in competition. In Monday night’s game, one team has one very clear matchup advantage that should lead to victory.

Kentucky has succeeded this season, particularly during the impressive tournament run, by getting easy second-chance points on offensive rebounds. The Wildcats rank first in the nation in offensive rebounding, securing 42.3% of all of their missed shots. UConn has succeeded this season, particularly during its impressive tournament run, by dominating at the free throw line. Connecticut ranks fourth in the country in free throw percentage at 77.4% and has made just under 85% of its free throws in NCAA Tournament games. Kentucky has a much clearer path to continuing its area of dominance, which should ultimately lead to the difference in the game. UConn is a terrible defensive rebounding team (the Huskies are also a terrible offensive rebounding team), ranking 247th in the country by rebounding just 67.1% of opponents’ misses. Meanwhile, Kentucky is actually significantly better than UConn at getting to the line, ranking 12th nationally in free throw rate. Whereas Kentucky’s dominance on the boards may actually be amplified in this matchup, UConn does not figure to be able to the same at the free throw line.

By the numbers, Kentucky and UConn also “run” at a slow tempo with neither team topping 65 possessions a game on the season. UConn, led by strong Most Outstanding Player candidate Shabazz Napier, is more perimeter-oriented, making 39% of its threes on the season and getting almost 35% of its points from three. Despite Aaron Harrison’s late-game heroics as of late, Kentucky, is best in the paint. The Wildcats only hit 33% from three and get just 27% of their points from outside. Though Kentucky ranks above average in every relevant facet of the game, the Wildcats are only well above average/elite in offensive rebounding and free throw rate offensively. UConn is elite at the line and with on-ball, effective field goal defense. The Huskies have more glaring weaknesses on the glass and much higher turnover rate than one would expect given how often Napier and Ryan Boatright are handling the ball.

Neither pick is strong in this game, especially with just a $1 play (for a normal $50 player) recommended on the UNDER 134.5, but there is some value in this contest, namely from a team in Kentucky that should dominate on the inside.

Old Post 04-08-14 02:27 AM
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KENTUCKY (29 - 10) vs. CONNECTICUT (31 - 8) - 4/7/2014, 9:10 PM

Top Trends for this game.
CONNECTICUT is 9-2 ATS (+6.8 Units) in road games when playing against a team with a winning record after 15 or more games this season.
KENTUCKY is 8-2 ATS (+5.8 Units) in all neutral court games this season.
KENTUCKY is 8-2 ATS (+5.8 Units) when playing on a neutral court this season.
KENTUCKY is 7-0 ATS (+7.0 Units) in all tournament games this season.
KENTUCKY is 8-1 ATS (+6.9 Units) in a NCAA tournament games over the last 3 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.

No trends available
Connecticut is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 15 of Connecticut's last 19 games

StatFox Super Situations

Play Under – Neutral court teams against the total after beating the spread by 30 or more points total in their last five games against opponent after going over the total by 54 or more points total in their last ten games 72-37 since 1997. ( 66.1% | 31.3 units ) 12-10 this year. ( 54.5% | 1.0 units )

Play On – Neutral Court underdogs vs. the money line (CONNECTICUT) after a combined score of 125 points or less, with all five starters returning from last season 80-100 since 1997. ( 44.4% | 44.6 units ) 5-3 this year. ( 62.5% | 6.2 units )

Play Under – Neutral court teams against the total after 2 straight wins by 6 points or less, with four starters returning from last season 56-25 over the last 5 seasons. ( 69.1% | 28.5 units ) 10-10 this year. ( 50.0% | -1.0 units )

Kentucky vs Connecticut

Kentucky: 7-0 ATS in all tournament games this season
Kentucky: 8-1 ATS in a NCAA tournament games over the last 3 seasons
Kentucky: 13-2 ATS after 2 straight wins by 6 points or less
Kentucky: 59-39 ATS when the line is +3 to -3

Connecticut: 0-6 ATS after 5 or more consecutive wins
Connecticut: 10-20 ATS after 2 or more consecutive wins
Connecticut: 1-9 ATS after allowing 60 points or less 2 straight games

Old Post 04-08-14 02:28 AM
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National Championship Betting Preview: Connecticut vs. Kentucky

Connecticut Huskies vs. Kentucky Wildcats (-3, 135)

Connecticut has a strong chance at its second National Championship in four years, it just has to find a way to chase Aaron Harrison off the 3-point line late in the game. Harrison and No. 8 seed Kentucky aim for the school’s second championship in three years when they face off against the Huskies in the final on Monday in North Texas. Harrison’s clutch shooting lifted the Wildcats to victory in the Regional Final and the Final Four triumph over Wisconsin.

Connecticut has a guard with just as much experience in the clutch in Shabazz Napier, who dominated the second half of the Regional Final win over Michigan State and continues to come through at the line late in games. The seventh-seeded Huskies controlled the top overall seed in their 63-53 Final Four victory over Florida on Saturday and had no trouble neutralizing Michigan State and Florida’s advantage on the interior in either of the last two games. Connecticut moved the Spartans’ Adreian Payne away from the basket in the Regional Final with its smaller lineup and will attempt to do the same when Kentucky throws another challenge at the frontcourt in star freshman Julius Randle.

LINE HISTORY: Kentucky opened as 3-point faves, were bet down to -2.5, but are back to -3.

INJURY REPORT: Connecticut: G Pat Lenehan - questionable (undisclosed). Kentucky: F Willie Cauley-Stein - questionable (ankle).

WHAT SHARPS SAY: "Kentucky received a scare on Saturday night when forward Alex Poythress injured his leg during the post-game celebration. Poythress was seen with ice on his knee and limping off the court, however he said he was "fine and ready to play" in the post-game press conference. His status is important because Kentucky is currently without center Willie Cauley-Stein," says Covers Expert Steve Merril.

WHAT BOOKS SAY: "Got sharp bet on UConn +3 less than 15 minutes after we opened so we moved Kentucky to -2.5, where line still remains. We also got sharp bet on over 133 and the total now stands at 135.5," says Mike Perry of

WHY BET CONNECTICUT (31-8, 22-15 ATS): The Huskies were not even eligible for the postseason in coach Kevin Ollie’s first chance last year but seem to remember exactly how to win in the NCAA Tournament with a defense that continues to confound on the perimeter with Ryan Boatright’s on-ball pressure at the top of the key. Napier and Boatright form a much smaller backcourt than the Harrison twins on the other side but attack the paint relentlessly and aren’t afraid to pull the trigger from beyond the arc. The big difference for the team in the Tournament has been the play of DeAndre Daniels, who went for 20 points and 10 rebounds against Florida and has averaged 17.6 points in five games. “He played well for us,” Napier told reporters of Daniels. “It is good to have him there because his shots help all of us out, and we know that he is going to come in and take care of it.”

WHY BET KENTUCKY (29-10, 19-15-3 ATS): The last time a team that started five freshmen made the National Championship game, Michigan’s Fab Five took a halftime lead against Duke before falling by 20 points. The Wildcats are maturing with each passing game and did not panic when falling behind against Wisconsin on Saturday. Harrison made only one 3-point attempt in the Final Four contest but knocked it down with 5.7 seconds left, just like the go-ahead 3-pointer he sank with 2.3 seconds remaining against Michigan and the go-ahead 3-pointer he hit versus Louisville with 39 seconds to play in the Sweet 16. “You can’t be scared to miss and you want to be that guy that wants to take the big shot,” Harrison told reporters. “It’s just the feeling that I want to be the one to take the shot, and I’m not afraid to miss the shot.”


* Underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.
* Kentucky is 5-0-1 ATS in its last six NCAA Tournament games.
* Connecticut is 5-0 ATS in its last five games overall.
* Under is 9-2 Connecticut's last 11 games following a straight up win.

COVERS CONSENSUS: Fifty-eight percent of the wagers are on Connecticut +3.

Old Post 04-08-14 02:29 AM
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UConn vs. Kentucky
By Brian Edwards

Two schools remain standing from the 68-team field for the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Kentucky, the No. 8 seed from the Midwest Region, has won four consecutive nail-biters in come-from-behind fashion. Connecticut took out the Tournament's No. 1 overall seed on Saturday to advance to Monday's finals against UK.

As of Sunday night, most betting shops had Kentucky (29-10 straight up, 19-15-3 against the spread) listed as a 2.5-point favorite with a total of 134.5. UK is -150 on the money line, while gamblers can take UConn to win outright for a +130 return (risk $100 to win $130).

Some books have posted adjusted lines. For instance, bettors can take Connecticut (31-8 SU, 22-15 ATS) at -3.5 for a +200 payout. On the flip side, Kentucky can be had at -7.5 for a +200 return (risk $100 to win $200).

For those bullish on the 'under,' you can maximize your profit by taking 'under' 128.5 for a +160 payout. The 'over' is available at 139.5 for a +145 return.

The 'over/under' for UConn's total points is 69, while UConn's is 66.5.

Kevin Ollie has his team playing for the national title in just his second season as a head coach. UConn overcame a 16-4 deficit 12 minutes into its national-semifinal showdown versus Florida, but it ran off 11 straight points and eventually took a 25-22 advantage into halftime.

Behind 20 points and 10 rebounds from DeAndre Daniels, UConn pulled away to beat the Gators by a 63-53 count as a seven-point underdog. The Huskies hooked up money-line supporters with a payout in the +280 range. They ended UF's 30-game winning streak and improved to 7-1 in national-semifinal games.

Shabazz Napier added 12 points, six assists, four steals and three rebounds, while Ryan Boatright contributed 13 points, six boards and three assists.

The Gators sliced the deficit to 53-47 on a Patric Young dunk with just over four minutes remaining, but UConn responded with a 6-0 run to put the game on ice.

Kentucky's last four wins over Wichita St., Louisville, Michigan and Wisconsin might be the four best games of the Tournament. On Saturday in Arlington, UK captured a 74-73 win as a one-point 'chalk' thanks to Aaron Harrison's game-winning 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds remaining.

This was a back-and-forth slugfest from the opening jump. An early 10-0 Wisconsin run was the key to it leading 40-36 at intermission. After Sam Dekker buried a 3-pointer to open the second half, James Young scored six points to spark a 15-0 run that gave UK a 51-43 advantage at the under-16 television timeout.

The Badgers responded with a 15-4 surge to take a 58-55 lead. Neither team could get any separation the rest of the way. The 147 combined points jumped 'over' the 138-point total.

Young scored a game-high 17 points for the winners. Julius Randle finished with 16 points and five rebounds, while Dakari Johnson was also in double figures with 10 points and seven boards. Alex Poythress made all four of his shots from the field, finishing with eight points and seven boards.

Poythress injured his knee during the post-game celebration, but he is expected to be fine. However, Willie Cauley Stein, who averages 6.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and has a team-best 106 blocked shots, has been ruled 'out' vs. UConn. Cauley-Stein has missed back-to-back games after spraining his ankle in the first half of a Sweet 16 win over U of L.

UK has won seven of its last eight games with the only loss coming by one point against Florida. The 'Cats are 7-0-1 ATS in their last eight outings. They are 8-4-2 in 14 previous games as single-digit favorites.

UConn has been an underdog 11 times this year, compiling a 7-4 spread record with six outright victories.

The 'over' has hit in four consecutive games for UK, but the 'under' still maintains a 19-16-1 overall record.

The 'under' has been a major money maker in UConn games all year long, going 23-13 overall.

CBS will have television coverage Monday night for the 9:10 p.m. Eastern tip.

Old Post 04-08-14 02:29 AM
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NCAA Championship Betting Guide Pick
By: Michael Robinson

The No. 8 seed Kentucky Wildcats and No. 7 seed Connecticut Huskies play a bracket-busting national title game on Monday in Arlington, Texas (9:10 p.m. ET, CBS). Kentucky is a small favorite, but Connecticut has thrived as an underdog in this tournament.

UConn is the first No. 7 seed to make the final game, while Kentucky is the fourth No. 8 seed. The sum of the seeds – 15 – is easily the highest in NCAA history.

Kentucky is trying to become the first team to win the national title with five freshmen starters. That would surpass the exploits of Michigan's Fab Five, who lost 71-51 to Duke in the 1992 championship game.

Connecticut has much more experience, especially in the backcourt with senior Shabazz Napier and junior Ryan Boatright.

Line: Kentucky -2.5 Total: 134.5

Line movement and notes: Kentucky opened between -2.5 and -3, and the spread bounced between those two numbers on Sunday. Totals were bet up from opening numbers of 133 and 133.5 to between 134.5s and 135.5.

History and trends: The Huskies are 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS in the all-time series, all played since 2006. They beat Kentucky in the 2011 Final Four, 56-55 as 2-point dogs. Napier, Niels Giffey and Tyler Olander all played in that contest as freshmen, although Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb were the stars.

The Huskies have won three national titles (1999, 2004 and 2011), all under coach Jim Calhoun. They were a No. 3 seed in the latest one, ironically beating a No. 8 in Butler.

The Wildcats have won eight national titles, trailing only UCLA (11). They most recently won in 2012 with another young team that started three freshmen and two sophomores. All the main cogs from that John Calipari squad are gone.

Kentucky is 7-0-1 ATS in its last eight games.

The OVER is 4-0 in Kentucky's last four games, with the average total points scored 147.8.

Connecticut is 5-0 ATS in this tournament, winning the last four as underdogs.

Kentucky outlook: The Wildcats (29-10 SU, 21-14-2 ATS) have been living life on the edge with their last four tourney wins by a total of 11 points. They beat Wisconsin 74-73 in the Final Four, a push as 1-point favorites, with guard Aaron Harrison hitting a heroic three-pointer for the third game in a row. The team had taken just four three-point attempts all game before Harrison's dagger.

Kentucky was able to get into the lane at will against Wisconsin, with the points in the paint differential a huge 46-24. The backcourt of Aaron and Andrew Harrison (both 6-foot-6) will again have a big size advantage against Napier and Boatright, but it will be much tougher penetrating against the UConn guards.

Calipari can look down low to power forward Julius Randle (15.8 PPG this tourney), who has the bulk advantage against DeAndre Daniels. However, starting center Dakari Johnson and reserves Alex Poythress and Marcus Lee, won't be able to overpower the Connecticut bigs like they did against the Badgers. Having Willie Cauley-Stein (ankle) would help, but he'll be out on Monday.

UConn outlook: The Huskies (31-8 SU, 21-14-2 ATS) continued their magical run with a 63-53 Final Four win over No. 1 seed Florida as 7-point dogs. Connecticut fell behind 16-4 halfway through the first half before taking control of the game. It was a testament to Kevin Ollie's great coaching as other teams would have folded.

Napier had just 12 points last game after averaging 23.3 PPG in the first four. The Huskies don't have a lot of scoring depth, so Napier (17.9 PPG), Daniels (13.2 PPG) and Boatright (12.1 PPG) all need to play well offensively. They also need to continue knocking down their three-pointers – they've hit 39-of-97 (40.2 percent) so far in this tourney.

Connecticut's defense is peaking now, holding Michigan State (60-54 win as 5-point dogs) and Florida to under 40 percent shooting the last two games. The team wants another low-scoring game, forcing the young Kentucky players to consistently make their outside shots to earn this championship.

The Linemakers' lean: There's a difference of opinion among our guys in Las Vegas, with Micah Roberts laying the points with Kentucky, but Kenny White seeing some value with the underdog Huskies. Micah points out the maturation of the Wildcats, who turned the ball over just four times against Wisconsin and are disciplined enough to stick to what works best for them. But our power ratings make Kentucky just a 1.5-point favorite and its last four games have all been decided by five points or less, so getting +3 with UConn certainly has some appeal.

There's also a correlation play on the total no matter which side you like. If you're on Kentucky, the OVER is the logical play, as the Wildcats will want to push the pace. A UConn win likely means it stays UNDER, as 24 out 37 Huskies games with a posted total have gone

Old Post 04-08-14 02:31 AM
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