Freedman’s Favorite Final Four Player Props for Virginia-Auburn & MSU-Texas Tech
Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Michigan State Spartans guard Cassius Winston
- Matthew Freedman continues his series featuring favorite prop bets for each day of 2019.
- He runs through Saturday's Final Four slate to highlight props he likes in Virginia-Auburn & MSU-Texas Tech.
Each day, I publish 1-2 pieces highlighting props I like. See my master list of 2019 prop bets for more information.
In this piece, I’m looking at NCAA Tournament player props for Saturday’s Final Four games. NOTE: I might update this piece as more lines are released.
For March Madness, I am 91-51-8 (+27.95) on player props. Shooter’s shoot, and I have an NCAA Tournament prop-betting strategy.
My Final Four player projections are available for subscribers, so be sure to check them out.
You also should look at our live betting odds page for up-to-the-minute lines.
#1 Virginia vs. #5 Auburn
- Spread: Virginia -5.5
- Over/Under: 130.5
- Location: Minneapolis, MN
- Time: 6:09 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
Virginia G Kyle Guy: Over 4.5 Rebounds (-114)
Guy has had an uneven postseason as a scorer, but his playing time has been unrivaled. In the regular season, he averaged a solid 34.2 minutes per game, but in his six postseason starts he’s bumped that number up to an impressive 39.0.
And with the extra playing time, he’s increased his rebounding total from 4.5 per game in the regular season to 5.2 in the postseason.
We’re expecting the Cavaliers to have a rebounding performance in line with what they’ve done this season (35.1 projected vs. 34.9 per game), so there’s little reason to think that Guy won’t get sufficient opportunities to hit the over.
I’d bet over 4.5 to -135.
Virginia G De’Andre Hunter: Over 14.5 Points (-110), Over 4.5 Rebounds (-130)
Although the Cavaliers have an offense in which no one guy dominates, Hunter might be Virginia’s most important player. A balanced contributor, Hunter is second on the team with 14.9 points and 5.0 rebounds.
His playing time in the postseason has jumped up to 36.0 minutes per game from the 31.2 he averaged in the regular season. He played just 30 minutes in Round 2 because he had five fouls, but in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 he saw 39 and 37 minutes.
With the enhanced playing time, I have him projected for 16.2 points and 5.7 rebounds.
I’d bet over 14.5 points to -135 and over 4.5 rebounds to -150.
Virginia G Ty Jerome: Over 4.0 Rebounds (+100), Over 5.5 Assists (-114)
What Jerome really has going for him is playing time. In the regular season, he had a respectable 32.7 minutes per game. But in his six postseason games, he’s averaged 38.8 minutes.
With that much time on the court, he has a good chance to drop more than five dimes and grab more than five boards.
Jerome has played at least 35 minutes in each postseason game, and in his 18 games this year with 35-plus minutes, he’s averaged 4.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists.
I have him projected for 4.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists.
I’d bet over 4.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists to -130.
Virginia F Mamadi Diakite: Over 9.5 Points (-110)
The man in the middle of the Cavaliers offense, Diakite is just fourth on the team with 7.5 points on 20.5 minutes per game.
But in the NCAA Tournament he’s averaged 33.0 minutes with a minimum of 27 minutes in each game. With his enhanced playing time, he’s put up 13.0 points per game.
In his eight games this year with 27-plus minutes, Diakite has averaged 11.3 points. I have him projected for 11.8.
I’d bet over 9.5 to -135.
Additional Virginia Player Props (Added Apr. 6, 10:45 a.m. ET)
- G Kyle Guy over 2.5 made 3-pointers (-125): Projection – 3.4
- G De’Andre Hunter over 2.5 free throws (-115): Projection – 3.5
- F Mamadi Diakite over 16.0 points, rebounds & assists (-125): Projection – 19.5
Auburn G Bryce Brown: Under 18.0 Points (-130), Under 2.5 Rebounds (-149)
For the season, Brown has 16.0 points and 2.1 rebounds on 32.0 minutes per game, and in the postseason he’s averaged 34.0 minutes, so it’s reasonable to think that we should expect more points and rebounds.
But that perspective totally ignores the matchup. Virginia has held opponents to a nation-low 55.4 points per game. Virginia is also one of the better rebounding schools in the country with its 54.1% total rebound rate.
Although the Tigers have averaged 80.2 points and 34.3 rebounds per game this year, they are implied for just 62.5 points, and we’re projecting them for only 28.7 rebounds.
With fewer points and rebounds to go around for the entire team, we should expect to see Brown’s numbers decline.
I’m projecting him for 13.9 points and 1.9 rebounds.
I’d bet under 18.0 points and 2.5 rebounds to -165.
Auburn G Jared Harper: Under 18.0 Points (-130), Under 2.5 Rebounds (-114), Under 5.5 Assists (-114)
Harper has 15.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game this year, so his props at a glance don’t look egregious, but I think they’re way too high.
For one, Harper hasn’t seen the huge increase in recent playing time that lots of other players have enjoyed. In the regular season, he averaged 33.5 minutes per game. In the NCAA Tournament, that number has actually dropped to 32.5.
Additionally, we’re expecting far fewer points (and thus assists) as well as rebounds for the Tigers (compared to their seasonal averages), so Harper would need to have a fantastic performance for his numbers not to decline vs. the Cavaliers.
I have Harper projected for 12.0 points, 2.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists.
I’d bet under 18.0 points to -175, under 2.5 rebounds to -130 and under 5.5 assists to -150.
Additional Auburn Player Props (Added Apr. 6, 10:45 a.m. ET)
- G Bryce Brown under 22.0 points, rebounds & assists (-125): Projection – 17.4
- G Bryce Brown under 2.5 free throws (-115): Projection – 1.9
- G Bryce Brown under 4.0 made 3-pointers (-135): Projection – 3.0
- G Jared Harper under 25.5 points, rebounds & assists (-125): Projection – 18.7
- G Jared Harper under 5.0 free throws (-115): Projection – 2.9
- F Danjel Purifoy under 7.0 points (-115): Projection – 5.2
- F Danjel Purifoy under 12.0 points, rebounds & assists (-115): Projection – 9.3
#2 Michigan State vs. #3 Texas Tech
- Spread: Michigan State -2.5
- Over/Under: 133.5
- Location: Minneapolis, MN
- Time: 8:49 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
Michigan State G Cassius Winston: Over 2.0 Made 3-Pointers (+110)
Winston leads the Spartans with 5.3 3-pointers attempted and 2.2 3-pointers made per game, and in the postseason his playing time has increased. In the regular season, he averaged 33.2 minutes per game. In the NCAA Tournament, that number has jumped to 37.5.
Winston has actually played at least 39 minutes in three of the four tournament games.
Michigan State is implied for 68.0 points, which trails its seasonal averaged of 78.2 points per game. So we should expect to see depressed scoring overall for the Spartans.
But with his enhanced playing time, Winston still provides value at plus money, given that I’m projecting him for 2.1 made 3s.
I’d bet over 2.0 to +100.
Michigan State F Nick Ward: Under 4.5 Rebounds (+100)
Ward is the gift that keeps on giving. The Ward under has been one of my favorite bets of the entire NCAA Tournament.
As other players on the team have seen their roles grow in the postseason, Ward’s role has shrunk. For the season, Ward is averaging 6.1 rebounds per game, so the over might look tempting, but Ward could struggle to grab five boards.
Although he started for most the year, Ward moved to the bench at the beginning of the postseason, and his splits are drastic.
- Starter (25 games): 23.3 minutes, 6.8 rebounds
- Reserve (8 games): 14.0 minutes, 3.8 rebounds
In not one postseason game has Ward played more than 20 minutes. With his decreased playing time, I have Ward projected for just 3.6 rebounds.
I would bet under 4.5 down to -165.
Michigan State F Aaron Henry: Over 6.5 Points (-110)
Henry is just seventh on the team with 5.9 points per game: I’m honestly surprised a prop for him is even on the market.
But since Henry’s mid-January insertion into the starting lineup, he’s been a steady contributor. His splits are notable.
- Starter (21 games): 27.4 minutes, 7.5 points
- Reserve (17 games): 15.2 minutes, 3.9 points
And in the NCAA Tournament, Henry has seen even more action, averaging 34.8 minutes per game. With his extra playing time, Henry has bumped his scoring average up to 10.3 points. I have him projected for 8.1.
I would bet over 6.5 down to -165.
Additional Michigan State Player Props (Added Apr. 6, 11:00 a.m. ET)
- G Cassius Winston over 3.0 free throws (-130): Projection – 4.0
- F Nick Ward under 13.0 points, rebounds & assists (-115): Projection – 11.0
- F Xavier Tillman under 13.0 points (-125): Projection – 10.3
- F Xavier Tillman under 21.5 points & rebounds (-125): Projection – 18.5
- G Matt McQuaid under 11.5 points (-135): Projection – 9.3
- G Matt McQuaid under 2.5 made 3-pointers (-115): Projection – 1.9
- F Kenny Goins over 6.0 points (-145): Projection – 8.2
- F Kenny Goins over 16.5 points, rebounds & assists (-115): Projection – 20.5
Texas Tech G Jarrett Culver: Under 20.5 Points (-110)
I’m not in love with this line, but of all the Red Raider player props, this is the one I like the most.
Culver leads the Red Raiders with 18.9 points per game, and he’s averaged 35.2 minutes over his past 10 starts.
But Michigan State ranks No. 34 in the nation in opponent scoring, holding opposing teams to just 64.5 points per game. Because of the matchup, Texas Tech is implied for just 65.5 points, compared to the 73.0 points per game it has averaged this year.
With fewer points to go around for the entire Texas Tech offense, I’m projecting Culver for 18.5 points.
I’d bet under 20.5 down to -120.
Additional Texas Tech Player Props (Added Apr. 6, 11:00 a.m. ET)
- G Jarrett Culver under 27.5 points & rebounds (-115): Projection – 24.5
- G Jarrett Culver under 4.5 free throws (-115): Projection – 3.7
- F Tariq Owens under 2.5 free throws (-115): Projection – 1.9
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