NCAA Tournament Final Betting Preview: Butler vs. Duke

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It all comes down to this on Monday night! After taking two significantly vastly roads to reach the NCAA Tournament final, the Butler Bulldogs and Duke Blue Devils will face off in a college basketball betting affair for the right to be crowned champions of the NCAA basketball world.

What's At Stake: The Blue Devils are trying to become National Champions for the first time since 2001 when they toppled Arizona in the title game. Butler has already set all sorts of school and team records, becoming the first Horizon League school to advance past the Sweet 16 in this tournament, let alone all the way to the final. Should the Bulldogs win it, they'd become the first mid-major since 1990 (UNLV) to actually win the whole enchilada.

College Basketball Odds: Duke -7 at BetUS Sportsbook

Butler Notes: Aside from becoming the first Horizon League team to do this, that, and the other, Butler has also made a bit of history by becoming the first team in NCAA Tournament history to win five games in the dance and hold all five foes under 60 points. Its 55.4 points per game allowed is clearly the best in the tournament, and it's even more impressive than its 59.4 points per game conceded for the duration of the year. The Bulldogs are going to need to find some more consistent scoring though, as on Saturday night, aside from F Gordon Hayward and G Shelvin Mack, the rest of the team shot just 4/26 from the field. Both Mack and F Matt Howard are in question for Monday night's game after the two both suffered injuries in the national semifinal against Michigan State.

Duke Notes: NCAA basketball betting fans have tried to find a reason to dog the Dookies all year long. First, it was that their non-conference schedule was relatively weak. Then it was that the ACC was down. Then it was that they were gift-wrapped an undeserving #1 seed and that they had the easiest road to the Final Four. After slamming West Virginia by three touchdowns, no one is questioning Duke any longer. The Blue Devils proved that they could play a hardnosed game against one of the top teams in the entire country, and they rolled to 5-0 ATS with ease into the National Final.

Players to Watch

F Gordon Hayward, Butler Bulldogs: This is really the only chance that Butler may have of springing the upset. If that's the case, Hayward will almost certainly win Final Four MVP, as he scored 19 points to go with his nine boards against Sparty on Saturday, shooting 6/14 from the floor on a night that the rest of his team really let him down. He has been the main scoring and rebounding option for the Horizon League champs all season, long, putting up 15.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per night.

G Jon Scheyer, Duke Blue Devils: Two nights ago, we highlighted F Kyle Singler for Coach K, but the truth of the matter is that any one of these big three (along with G Nolan Smith) could be the man to watch for the Dookies. Scheyer seems to be the team's captain of the three, and he came up with 23 points against the Mountaineers and frequently shot right through the trees in his face. Scheyer led the team in scoring this season at 18.3 points per game, but he is also the top distributor on the club at 4.3 assists per game.

Trends of Note

-Butler is 6-0 ATS in its L/6 games as an underdog of 7.0-12.5 points
-Butler is 20-6 ATS in its L/26 games as an underdog
-Butler is 44-21-1 ATS in its L/66 non-conference games
-Duke is 5-0 ATS in its L/5 NCAA Tournament games
-Duke is 7-3-1 ATS in its L/11 games following an SU win of at least 20 points

Final Analysis: With as well as the Dookies are playing, it's hard to pick against them. However, in order to beat Butler by more than a touchdown, you're probably going to have to score at least 65-70 points. It's certainly possible, but it's not particularly likely. We'll accept that the Blue Devils are going to be cutting down the nets, but it won't come following a perfect ATS March Madness, as the Bulldogs will find a way to stick in front of the number.

Selection: Butler +7

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Cappersinfo.com Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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