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Why Villanova vs. Michigan could offer some key betting intel

It seems like just yesterday when the Villanova Wildcats were cutting down the net after winning the 2018 college basketball national championship. Wednesday, No. 8 ’Nova faces its first big test of the new season, hosting No. 18 Michigan (FS1, 6:30 p.m.) in a rematch of last season’s title tilt.

There’s not enough evidence in the stat books yet to evaluate how far Villanova will fall from last season’s heights. A ton of talent left for the NBA from a team that ran roughshod through the Big Dance brackets for its second title in three years.

Don’t forget that Villanova didn’t just run the table this past March, it won all six NCAA tournament games by double digits. More impressively, it covered all six market point spreads.

Dance-card domination

Opponent Round Result Line
Radford Rd. of 64 W, 87-61 -22
Alabama Rd. of 32 W, 81-58 -11
West Virginia Sweet 16 W, 90-78 -5
Texas Tech Elite 8 W, 71-59 -6
Kansas Semis W, 95-79 -5
Michigan Final W, 79-62 -7

 

Against major conference opposition, Villanova covered by 12, 7, 6, 11, and 10 points. The Wildcats badly humbled the Big 12, dispatching three powers by a combined 40 points. Most important for sports bettors, Villanova humbled the market. The most impactful influencers (oddsmakers and sharps) just wouldn’t accept this team was that good.

That should give all bettors reason for optimism about the possibilities of beating the market over time. It’s not perfect. It can be stubborn when confronted with greatness.

Think about it this way. At the end of a season, when virtually everything that could be known about teams in a major sport was known, Villanova still was about 8¹/₂ points better than expectations on average through an event sports bettors were monitoring intently.

Did the Wildcats come in from off the radar? No! They were a No. 1 seed! Everybody knew they had a fantastic offense that seemingly could get open looks at will for a variety of shooters. It was less well understood that their defense also was elite. Fans and media tend to focus on points scored in blowouts rather than points denied on a per-possession basis. There were no secrets, yet the market still couldn’t price Villanova’s skill sets properly when a championship was on the line.

Even if you don’t bet the game, be sure you watch Michigan-Villanova on Wednesday to get a read on new lineups for each team. November non-conference tests provide the best evidence for what to expect in holiday tournaments and early league play.

If you’re a big fan of the sport, stay on top of the full card to see if you can find this season’s Villanova. If the market can miss that badly when everyone’s watching, there must be multiple money-making opportunities when college basketball is still being overshadowed by college football in media and betting interest.

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