How to bet the Final Four 

March, 30, 2012

Hey, did you know Ohio State and Kansas are playing in the Final Four? Did you know the championship game is actually being played on Monday, not Saturday? I ask because, between the guys on dialysis who went at it, the narrative about Pitino being a changed man that is being pushed, the questions about whether Kentucky could beat Charlotte or the Wizards (one bookmaker listed Washington as a 30-point favorite), it's easy to forget that the Buckeyes and Jayhawks are also in the national semifinals.

It's no different in the betting community. Both games are rematches from earlier in the season, providing bettors and linemakers with a foundation to make their numbers. But still, nearly all the attention is being paid to the Ville-Kentucky game. Bookmakers had a harder time making that line and are moving it more. There is more action on that game. Bettors have more opinions about that game. When I did my podcast with Alan Boston we spent nearly 20 minutes hashing out Cardinals-Wildcats scenarios, debating where the line should be and why he rated it the way he did. We spent about seven minutes discussing the other game and the last three minutes talking about "American Idol." (For the record, he power-rated the game as Kentucky minus-6, so he is betting his max bet on Louisville plus the points. He also loves Phil Phillips on "AI.")

I called Teddy Covers late Thursday night, and he felt the same way, as I'll explain below. And here's one more, from Sal at, that echoed the thoughts of Boston and Covers: "I bet Louisville plus-9 when the line came out and will be giving out Louisville plus-8.5 or better. I made the number seven and I think Pitino will use his time off more wisely than Cal will. As for the other game, I have no opinion."

Even on the bookmaking side, Todd Fuhrman of Caesars, who is also quoted below, told me the Louisville-Kentucky game was infinitely more interesting.

Here are the breakdowns from the wiseguy and bookmaker perspectives: