The NCAA men’s basketball Final Four is one of the most exciting and intriguing sporting weekends of the entire year. People all over the country fill out brackets when the field is announced, and fans are tuned in to see their teams and their picks march to the Final Four.
There are plenty of betting options surrounding the Final Four, and there are plenty of ways to make money in advance of that weekend. Once the final four teams have been determined, fans can make money picking the team that will win the final two games and cut down the nets to the tune of “One Shining Moment.”
The term “Final Four” has been recognized by the NCAA since 1975, when it was used in print by a newspaper article. The NCAA Tournament has recognized the final four teams since 1939, when the Oregon Ducks beat the Ohio State Buckeyes.
North Carolina leads all division one basketball teams with 20 Final Four appearances. UCLA and Kentucky are right on their heels with 18 and 17 appearances, respectively. The UCLA Bruins have the most title game appearances with 13, and they also lead the way with 11 Nationals Championships.
Historically, number one seeds have the best odds of reaching the Final Four, with 54 top seeds getting to that point. The lowest seed to ever reach the Final Four is an 11 seed, which was most recently done by Loyola-Chicago.
How To Bet on the Final Four
There are several ways to bet on the Final Four games, and one way can actually be done well before the NCAA Tournament starts. Bettors can place a “Futures” bet on which team they think will cut down the nets in April. Sportsbooks constantly update the odds to win the National Championship.
One of the simplest ways to bet on the Final Four deals with the two semi finals and National Championship game itself. A bettor can simply bet the moneyline on which team they think will win the game. Let’s use Duke and UCLA for the next few examples.
A moneyline might look like this:
- Duke -125
- UCLA +135
Duke would be the favorite in this game, but you could win much more money if you bet on UCLA and they win the game. If you aren’t sure about which team to bet on, you can also look at the point spread for a particular game. Let’s say that Duke is a 4.0 point favorite over UCLA in a semi-final game. If you think that Duke will win by at least four points, then you place a bet on the Blue Devils. If you think that UCLA will keep the game within a four-point spread, then you will place a bet on the Bruins.
Prop Betting: Since the Final Four is such a big event, there are several “props” that a bettor can bet on surrounding the games. This is a big deal with the Super Bowl each year, but it has made its way into college basketball. Here are an example of some possible prop bets:
- Bet: The first field goal of the game will be a 2 point field goal. Yes -100 No +400
- Bet: Player A will be the first player to reach ten points. Yes -400 No +115
- Bet: There will be a shot clock violation in the first half. Yes -125 No +135
Obviously, these are very random bets, but there is potential to win some big money if you hit on some of these props.
Looking For a Sportsbook to bet on the NCAA Final Four
There are several things to consider when looking for the right online sportsbook. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
Live Betting: Live betting hasn’t been around for that long, but it is a fun new feature. It allows you to bet in real-time and gives you the chance to hedge some of your bets if you don’t like the way things are going. Finding a sportsbook that has live betting for prop bets is an even better bonus.
Deposit Bonus: Choose a sportsbook that offers a great deposit bonus, especially if you are a first time bettor. If you are going to get into betting on a more consistent basis, find a site that offers a reload bonus.
Cheaper Lines: If you check our reviews page, you can find the sportsbooks that offers cheaper lines than the rest of the bunch online. For example, you can get some lines at -105 as opposed to -110, which will save you much more money in the long run. This might not make a difference for a one-time bet, but a consistent better can use the money to make even more bets.
Betting Strategy Tips
The NCAA Tournament is one of the most unpredictable tournaments in all of sports. Upsets are common, and the best teams don’t always reach the Final Four. Personally, I would stay away from futures bets for college basketball because they are just too risky. A team that is often times considered a “favorite” is susceptible to an upset in the second or third round.
The best way to make money is to look at the point spread. Pay close attention to the way that the lines move in advance of the games, and place a bet right before the game. Take a close look at each team and do plenty of research before placing a bet. One final piece of advice: Bet with your mind and not your heart. Just because your favorite team is playing for the National Championship doesn’t mean that you should place a bet on them to win!