Final Four picks are here, including one upset: Best Bets for April 1

San Diego State forward Keshad Johnson (0) celebrates after their win against Furman in a second-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Saturday, April 1:


The play: Men’s Final Four, San Diego State -2½ over Florida Atlantic

The odds/bet: -110

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 6:09 p.m. (CBS)

Our take: Cinderella stories tend to fizzle out in the national semifinals. For one thing, it’s difficult for a team to maintain an ultra-high level of play for three straight weekends, and for another, the hype and hoopla of the Final Four add another layer of pressure.

To be fair, Florida Atlantic is not a typical Cinderella. We picked FAU in this space last week against both Tennessee and Kansas State, and both were winners. The Owls are top 20 in KenPom’s efficiency rankings and aren’t out of place at all among the teams remaining.

But San Diego State is simply a bad matchup. The Aztecs play much like Tennessee did, except unlike the Volunteers, they don’t have a major injury in their backcourt and have guards who can get tough buckets and hit free throws late. If FAU isn’t hitting outside shots at a much higher rate than normal, it’s going to be tough for them to keep SDSU from grinding out a win in the 5-10 point range here.


The play: Men’s Final Four, Miami money line over UConn

The odds: +205

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 8:49 p.m. (CBS)

Our take: This has been a wild tournament with a surprise at every turn, so why stop now?

No April Fools here. We like the Hurricanes.

In all seriousness, if you’re thinking of betting UConn, the 5-point spread doesn’t seem to be too much. The Huskies have won all four tournament games by blowout, and when they get rolling offensively, opponents are in deep trouble.

On the other hand, UConn is an interior-focused team, with Adama Sanogo at times dominant in the post and length throughout the lineup. Their weaknesses, relative though they may be, are the types of things that cost teams in close games — turnovers on offense, fouling on defense.

Miami is the opposite, a guard-oriented team that has gotten hot in the tournament and knows how to get buckets in tough possessions late.

UConn is 1-5 in games decided by six points or fewer. If this is a close game, the favored Huskies could be in real trouble.


Friday’s best bets

Women’s Final Four: South Carolina-Iowa OVER 149.5 (WON)

Women’s Final Four: LSU-Virginia Tech UNDER 133.5 (LOST)

Friday’s record: 1-1

Total for the week: 4-5, 1 pending

Total for March: 33-29, 1 pending

Total for 2023: 65-69, 1 pending

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).


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