MetroBet breaks down Monday’s March Madness finale, the men’s basketball National Championship game.
Texas Tech Red Raiders v. Virginia Cavaliers (-1.5)
Moneyline: Red Raiders EVEN, Cavaliers -120
Betting Total: 117.5 points
Time (Eastern), TV: 9:20 p.m., CBS
No matter what the outcome of Monday’s college basketball National Championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium is, a first-time champion will be crowned. Prior to this year, the Virginia Cavaliers had never advanced to the title game, and hadn’t been to the Final Four since 1984. The Texas Tech Red Raiders made their first ever Final Four appearance this season.
The line of Virginia -1.5 has held since it was initially posted on Saturday night, but the Under has been bet down heavily from the original 119.5 points. That is not surprising considering how these teams like to play. Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers lead the nation in points allowed per game at 55.5, having played most of their games in the demanding ACC. They held a three-happy Auburn squad to just 62 points to advance to the final game.
Meanwhile, Chris Beard’s Red Raiders are third-best in the country in defense, surrendering just 58.8 points per contest. This unit has been arguably the most impressive of the pair during the tournament, holding the dynamic offenses of Buffalo and Gonzaga to 58 and 69 points, respectively. They also suffocated Michigan (44 points) and, most recently, Michigan State (51 points) to earn their first championship berth.
Texas Tech is just a bit better than Virginia is terms of total scoring at 72.7 points per game compared to 71.1. The Cavs have the slightly better field goal percentage (47.4 to 47 percent), but the Red Raiders are tops in the nation in field goal percentage against (36.8 percent).
If Texas Tech is going to emerge victorious, they’ll need another big game from leading scorer Jarrett Culver (18.6 points per game). The sophomore guard has gone for double figures in all five tournament games so far. Guards Davide Moretti (11.4 points per game) and Matt Mooney (11.3 points per game) lead the secondary scoring; Mooney has 17 and 22 points in his last two games, respectively. Virginia was led throughout the year by junior guard Kyle Guy (15.2 points per game), but fellow junior guard Ty Jerome was the team’s leading scorer against Auburn at 21 points.
The Red Raiders have been kind to their backers throughout March Madness, going a perfect 5-0 against the spread. The Cavaliers are just 2-3 against the spread in the tournament and needed a miracle to escape Auburn on Saturday night. This should be a close contest, but Texas Tech looks like the better bet.
The play: Texas Tech spread